Harris joins DNC to announce expansion of "I Will Vote" campaign

Harris joins DNC to announce expansion of "I Will Vote" campaign
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President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are holding private and public events on Thursday to highlight their administration's push to expand voting rights. The events are occurring as efforts to expand voting rights have sputtered in Congress

Harris announced a $25 million investment into expanding the Democratic National Committee's "I Will Vote Campaign" during remarks at her alma mater, Howard University. 

"This campaign is grounded in the firm belief that everyone's vote matters," Harris said. 

According to the vice president the funds would help with voter registration, help educate voters on some of the state laws being brought up by Republican led state legislations as well as mobilize voters in the upcoming 2022 elections. Harris also said the DNC would assemble the "largest voter protection team we have ever had."

"This is the fight of our lifetime. We all stand on the shoulders of giants. We will always remember our history." Harris said.  "We also understand their legacy and that we are part of that. And in that way, there is a continuum. So, I say in that context, this is the fight of our nation's lifetime."

Harris, however, did not lay out if certain states would be prioritized in distributing funds.  

The president is set to meet with leaders of national civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, the National Action Network, the National Urban League and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights to discuss how the Biden administration and Democrats nationwide are pushing to preserve voting rights for minorities, according to people familiar with the scheduled meeting. 

National Action Network President Reverend Al Sharpton and National Urban League President Marc Morial will attend in person while NAACP President Derrick Johnson is expected to participate virtually, according to aides.

"I look forward to a robust and productive conversation with President Biden," Johnson said in a statement. "Democracy is under attack in states across the nation, and we must act with great urgency to protect the American people's most fundamental and sacred right, the right to vote."

Mr. Biden's meeting with civil rights leaders is part of a campaign promise to meet quarterly with them to discuss civil rights and related matters, a person familiar with the early planning for the meetings told CBS News. Thursday's meeting is designed specifically to "update and let them know we're in the game on voting," said this person, who was granted anonymity to speak frankly about the events.

The White House is "trying to give some relief to the pressure out there about getting a bill" passed, the person added. The events are designed to encourage "yelling about places where there is agreement among Democrats and whispering about the disagreements."

The public and private events come as Democrats are struggling to move forward with legislation designed to establish uniform national standards for elections and reverse recent changes enacted by GOP-controlled state legislatures. While voting rights legislation easily passed the Democratic-controlled House earlier this year, it has stalled in the Senate amid GOP and some Democratic opposition. Other proposals are set to for votes in the House, but not until the fall, at the earliest, while bipartisan talks in the Senate on a potential legislative solution have not progressed so far.

The Biden administration has also filed suit against Georgia and is preparing to mount legal challenges to other states for recently passed GOP-backed legislation to revamp voting laws, including changes to absentee ballots; early voting; and the use of ballot drop boxes. 

News of the events was first reported by CNN

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