Vice President Kamala Harris met Monday with a bipartisan group of 30 governors to urge them to protect voting rights for all Americans. But not every governor was there to listen. Voting advocacy organizations have raised concerns about election laws passed by some GOP-led states, which has resulted in a conflict between Democrats and Republicans over voter suppression, particularly when it comes to people of color.
The Hill reports that neither of the governors from Georgia or Texas were present at the meeting. The leaders were in Washington, D.C., for the National Governors Association meeting. Republicans Brian Kemp and Gregg Abbott lead states which passed election laws last year that critics say make it harder for voters of color in particular to access the ballot by placing limits on absentee and mail-in voting.
Vice-President Harris told the governors assembled, according to The Hill, "I believe that regardless of who we voted for in the last election, we all, as leaders of our nation, understand the importance of ensuring that all people who are eligible to vote have an ability and a meaningful ability to vote and access to the ballot," she continued. "So I would ask that in this coming year, we work together to ensure that all Americans who are eligible to vote actually have meaningful access to the ballot."
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Harris has made voting rights an important part of her agenda and has stood with advocates in various states of not only maintaining those rights but also supports the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.
The two most recent efforts from the White House to get the bills the 60 votes needed to pass in the Senate earlier this month were unsuccessful. President Biden says his administration will continue to strengthen federal voting laws.
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After the 2020 elections, legislatures led by Republicans introduced hundreds of voting bills claiming to prevent voter fraud. Despite elections which were found to be free of fraud, former president Donald Trump repeatedly claimed that the election was “stolen” from him. While a record number of ballots were submitted and more voters used mail-in ballots, there remains no evidence of any fraud that would have changed the outcome of the election.