Following efforts by Republicans in numerous states, including Texas, Georgia and Florida, to restrict voter rights and make it harder for people of color to cast a ballot in upcoming elections, Vice President Kamala Harris has announced a new $25-million initiative from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) designed to help fight those laws and restore the essential right of everyone in the country to access the polls.
“This campaign is grounded in the firm belief that everyone’s vote matters. That your vote matters,” Harris said in a speech at Howard University, the HBCU where she announced the new program.
Brittany Shepherd of Yahoo News has reported that the initiative follows President Biden’s recent announcement tasking Harris to lead the White House’s effort in protecting voters’ rights throughout the country.
According to Shepherd, “The DNC views its investment in the ‘I Will Vote’ campaign as one of the Democrats’ many levers to combat what they describe as ‘Republican voter suppression,’ as several attempts to pass comprehensive reform have floundered on Capitol Hill.”
Senate Democrats attempted to pass the voter protection bill known as the “For the People Act” in June 2021, but Republicans refused to step across party lines to vote in favor of the bill designed to expand voting access for Americans and to reform ongoing issues with campaign finance among both parties.
At the time, Harris remarked to reporters that “the fight is not over.”
In the speech at her alma mater on Thursday, July 8, Harris stood by that promise, saying: “We are fighting back. In states, we have successfully blocked some anti-voter bills from becoming law — and others are being challenged in court. 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.”
As part of the new plan, Shepherd reported that the DNC hopes to “amass the largest voter protection team ever assembled at the committee, who will advocate for voters at the state level and commit to educating voters on their rights in their particular state.” She also noted that the DNC plans to help create and fund “the largest tech team” ever in the organization’s history to gather data that would help target, motivate and inspire potential voters in upcoming elections to make it to the polls.
“I want to make clear that this is about all voters. It doesn’t matter to us if you are a Democrat or not. We want to help you vote, and we want to help make sure your vote is counted,” VP Harris said. “Our democracy is strongest when everyone participates, and it is weaker when people are left out.”