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Kamala Harris announces ‘first-of-its-kind’ $25M DNC initiative to ‘protect voters’

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Vice President Kamala Harris announced Thursday that the Democratic National Committee is dedicating $25 million for a new initiative “investing in the tools and technology to register voters, to educate voters, to turn out voters, to protect voters.”

Speaking at the Louis Stokes Library of Howard University in Washington, Harris engaged in some heavy-duty fearmongering that prompted Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to say “the vice president is lying like the president has been about Georgia’s law.”

“I’m pleased to announce that the Democrats are making a $25 million investment to expand the I Will Vote campaign,” she said. “This campaign is grounded in the firm belief that everyone’s vote matters. That your vote matters. And we saw this in 2020. More Americans turned out to vote than ever before. In the middle of a pandemic.”

The Democrat said “17 state legislatures have enacted 28 new laws “that will make it harder for Americans to vote,” claiming that “these laws will cut early voting… these laws will make it difficult for folks who wait in line.”

“Don’t let anybody take your power from you, especially the power of your voice. We will not let anyone take away our power,” Harris continued. “And that’s why we’re all here together today. We’re not going to let that happen.”

In sharing footage of her speech, Harris called the initiative “a first-of-its-kind, party-wide effort to fight to protect the fundamental right to vote.”

Making bold claims, such as stating that the Biden administration “will lift half of America’s children out of poverty because you voted,” the vice president spoke about laws being passed in a number of states to shore up voter integrity, claiming the laws  are “designed, I believe, to make it harder for you to vote so that you don’t vote.”

The 2020 election saw tens of millions of unsolicited ballots being mailed to voters in Democrat-run states — Reuters put the number at 44.2 million. This being justified by the pandemic. There’s little dispute this had a major impact on the election outcome, and some states have passed legislation to tighten up the process in future elections.

An effort the Associated Press characterized as a “GOP crackdown on voting rights,” while reporting on President Biden meeting with civil rights leaders in the West Wing, including so-called Rev. Al Sharpton.

As the article noted, Biden is being pressured to “lead out front and be very vocal on this issue,” as U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., said.

The AP summed their concerns thusly: “Democrats have grown nervous that the new laws could suppress turnout for next year’s midterm elections when the party is trying to hold on to very narrow margins in both chambers of Congress.”

In a statement, the DNC shared details on the technical component being financed by the initiative “to contact voters affected by efforts at suppression.”

“The Biden-Harris team will fund the largest tech team in the history of the DNC,” the statement said. “The team will use data and other tools to identify and contact voters affected by efforts at suppression and voter roll purges, to ensure that all eligible voters have the information they need to cast a ballot. These investments will make sure that staff across the country have easy to use and actionable reporting on voters who have been moved to inactive lists or removed from voter rolls.”

DNC Chair Jaime Harrison went further in attacking Republicans over the contrived voter suppression narrative, making outlandish claims.

“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. “That’s why the Republican Party has made outrageous efforts to keep people from voting. But all across the country — from Democratic state legislators in Texas to the DNC’s recent case before the Supreme Court — Democrats have shown we are fighters and we will not give up our right to vote.”

“I’ve said time and again that the ‘D’ in Democrat stands for deliver, and today we are delivering innovative and historic resources to protect this fundamental part of our democracy,” Harrison added.

The remark comes as a record number of voters participated in the 2020 election, casting around 158 million ballots, according to a preliminary Pew Research Center analysis. That’s nearly two-thirds of estimated eligible voters. Black voter turnout fell short of the historic levels seen when Barack Obama ran for office, but wasn’t too far behind at 63%, exceeding Latino and Asian American voter turnout, according to the Brookings Institute.

Tom Tillison

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