Kamala Harris says DNC voter-registration program needed to stop GOP from taking 'our power'

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Vice President Kamala Harris announced Thursday that the Democratic National Committee is more than doubling its spending, to $45 million, on voter registration and education to combat new Republican-backed state election laws.

Speaking at Howard University in the District of Columbia with DNC Chair Jaime Harrison, Ms. Harris said 17 states have enacted laws this year “that will make it harder for Americans to vote” by curtailing early voting and vote-by-mail.

She said the DNC is countering those efforts by adding $25 million to its previous pool of $20 million to “protect” voting.

“With this $25 million, the Democrats are investing in the tools and technology to register voters, to educate voters, to turnout voters, to protect voting,” Ms. Harris said. “We will not let anyone take away our power.”

The $25 million will pay for targeted voter registration and technology to increase voting accessibility and counter “Republicans’ unprecedented voter suppression efforts,” the DNC said.

The Republican National Committee called it “a desperate effort to push [Democrats’] federal takeover of elections.”

“Democrats continue to lie to the American people,” said RNC communications director Danielle Álvarez.

“Democrats refuse to join Republicans in supporting common-sense policies like voter ID, because their sole agenda is more power and partisan control.”

The RNC on Thursday released new polling, conducted by former Trump White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, that said more than 80% of all voters believe verifying voter ID is an important security measure. And 87% of respondents were against so-called ballot harvesting, in which a third party collects multiple ballots from voters.

Ms. Harris told a heavily Democratic audience at her alma mater that mobilizing voters is an important companion to the party’s stalled legislation to enact a new nationwide voting law. The House-passed measure would bar states from requiring voter ID, for example.

The vice president said voters should think about democracy “as a call-and-response,” a tradition popular in many Black churches.

“In 2020, you called for a national vaccination plan,” she said. “You voted, and now nearly 160 million Americans are vaccinated. You called for jobs. You voted, and now more than 3 million jobs have been created. You called for badly needed relief, and $1,400 checks have been sent out. Regardless of who you are, where you live, what party you belong to, your vote matters.”

President Biden and Ms. Harris also were meeting Thursday with civil-rights leaders at the White House to discuss voting initiatives and Democrats’ push in Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

Mr. Harrison said the DNC’s effort is needed because “the Republican Party has made unprecedented efforts to keep people from voting.”

“Republicans know that their policies are unpopular — and that the only way for them to hold on to power is to attack the constitutional right to vote, held by the people they swore to serve,” he said. “Today we are delivering innovative and historic resources to protect this fundamental part of our democracy.”

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