WASHINGTON, D.C.—President Biden announced on Tuesday that he is tapping Vice President Kamala Harris to lead the administration’s efforts to protect voting rights and pass sweeping federal elections legislation that would strengthen the Voting Rights Act. In a speech given in Tulsa, Oklahoma on the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa massacre that destroyed Black Wall Street and left 300 people dead, the President said that the Vice President would take on the Democrats’ effort to fight back against the “unprecedented assault on our democracy” that legislative and Congressional Republicans have been waging since Trump’s 2020 election loss. In the immediate future, this means shepherding support amongst members of Congress for the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, two pending pieces of federal legislation that would establish much-needed protections for voting rights in all 50 states.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the Vice President outlined her multi-pronged approach to combating voter suppression efforts: “In the days and weeks ahead, I will engage the American people, and I will work with voting rights organizations, community organizations, and the private sector to help strengthen and uplift efforts on voting rights nationwide,” she said. “And we will also work with members of Congress to help advance these bills.” This is not VP Harris’s first time working to expand voting rights at the federal level. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, then-Senator Harris introduced the VoteSafe act, a $5 billion measure that would mandate every state offer 20 days of early voting and provide no-excuse absentee voting so that all citizens could safely cast a ballot in the 2020 election.