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Harris to announce $25 million DNC investment to aid voting access

WASHINGTON — Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday will announce a $25 million investment by the Democratic National Committee to support efforts to protect voting access ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

The announcement comes as Republican-controlled states around the country have passed a wave of restrictive voting rights laws fueled in part by former President Donald Trump’s false claims about the results of the 2020 election.

President Joe Biden has been criticized by some Democrats and civil rights advocates for not taking a more aggressive approach to fighting those new laws after Senate Republicans blocked voting rights legislation last month.

“In states, we have successfully blocked some anti-voter bills from becoming law — and others are being challenged in court,” Harris will say in her speech, according to excerpts shared by the White House.

“In Congress, we are working to pass two bills into law that would protect and strengthen voting rights. And there is another important component of our work, and that is mobilizing to ensure Americans vote in the elections ahead,” she will add.

The $25 million will be used to help register and educate voters and will establish the DNC’s largest voter protection team. Some of those functions, like voter registration, are routine for a political party.

The money will also be used to create the largest tech team in the DNC’s history, which will use data and other tools to reach people who might be affected by restrictive voting laws or who might have been purged from voting rolls.

Harris, who has been tasked by the White House to work on voting rights, is scheduled to make the announcement in the speech Thursday afternoon at Howard University, the historically Black institution in Washington, D.C., where she attended college.

“And again, I want to make clear that this is about all voters. It doesn’t matter to us if you are a Democrat or not,” Harris will say. “We want to help you vote, and we want to help make sure your vote is counted.”

Biden has repeatedly warned that the right to vote is under attack, but has yet to offer any meaningful federal response to the issue. After promising to use the month of June to “fight like heck” to get the For the People Act passed in Congress, Biden dedicated most of his public engagements to promoting his infrastructure bill.

Just hours before Harris’ speech, Texas House Republicans again tried to roll back voting access Wednesday evening in a special legislative session after Democrats blocked a similar effort this spring.

The Department of Justice announced in June that it was suing the state of Georgia over its recently enacted voting restrictions, marking the first major federal enforcement action around the spate of Republican-led laws. The lawsuit argues that Georgia enacted the law knowing it would disproportionately affect Black voters.

Biden and Harris are also expected to meet with civil rights leaders Thursday afternoon at the White House. Leaders from the NAACP, the National Urban League and the National Action Network, among others, are expected to attend.

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