Kamala Harris to lead White House efforts to protect voting rights

Harris oversees a variety of duties in the Biden White House while consistently expressing voter-access urgency.

Vice President Kamala Harris has been tapped to spearhead the White House’s efforts to protect voting rights.

President Joe Biden made the announcement in Oklahoma on Tuesday during an event commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Vice President Kamala Harris (right) attends a Medal of Honor ceremony for Army Colonel Ralph Puckett last month in the East Room of the White House. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

In his speech, Biden condemned the “horrific” events of 1921. “Some injustices are so heinous, so horrific, so grievous, they cannot be buried, no matter how hard people try,” he said.

“Only with truth can come healing,” Biden told those assembled, “and justice, and repair. Only with truth, facing it.”

The president also made a point of addressing Republican-backed legislation in more than 40 states to restrict voter access, efforts that he called an “unprecedented assault on our democracy.”

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“I’m asking Vice President Harris to help these efforts, to lead them, among her many other responsibilities. With her leadership and your support, we’re going to overcome again — I promise you. It’s going to take a hell of a lot of work,” he said.

Harris has been tasked with a variety of duties in the Biden administration, including diplomatic efforts in the Northern Triangle, addressing migration at the U.S.-Mexico border, efforts to expand broadband internet access and growing small business.

However, the vice president has consistently expressed the urgency around voter access.

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In an official statement on the appointment, Harris wrote: “Every American has a right to have their voice heard at the ballot box, and no American should be kept from voting early, voting by mail or voting at all. Our democracy is strongest when everyone participates, and it is weaker when people are left out.”

“In the last election, more people voted than ever before,” she noted. “Since then, more than 380 bills have been introduced across the country that would make it harder for Americans to vote.”

“These bills seek to restrict the options that make voting more convenient and accessible, including early voting and vote by mail. Our Administration will not stand by when confronted with any effort that keeps Americans from voting,” Harris said.

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She added that the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, if passed, “would provide all Americans with fair and accessible voting options” and “prevent discriminatory changes to voting laws and procedures.”

Harris will work alongside members of Congress to help advance the bills.

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