Kamala Harris launches bid to boost voting rights across U.S.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks while hosting an event marking the anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program at the Executive Office building in Washington, U.S. June 15, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday will promote Biden administration efforts to advance voting rights when she meets fellow Democrats from the Texas state legislature who successfully blocked a bill they said would make it harder for Blacks and Hispanics to vote.

She was due to speak on the topic at the White House at 11:15 am ET (1515 GMT).

President Joe Biden appointed Harris this month to lead the charge against Republican state lawmakers across the country seeking to enact voting restrictions. reut.rs/3cHKiWs

White House and civil rights groups say the Republican-led efforts would make it harder for Americans to vote. It follows Republican former President Donald Trump’s false claim that he lost the 2020 election to Biden because of widespread fraud.

So far, 14 other U.S. states have enacted 22 laws this year that make it more difficult for Americans to vote, according to a report by the Brennan Center for Justice.

Democrats in the Texas statehouse walked out on a legislative session last month to deprive Republicans of a quorum needed to pass a voting bill. Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, has vowed to bring the legislature back in a yet-to-be-called special session.

Since the walkout, the Democrats have used the national spotlight to urge passage of federal voting rights legislation.

Voting rights is the second high-profile assignment for the vice president. In March, Biden entrusted her with leading U.S. diplomatic efforts with Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to lower migration from the region.

Harris recently visited Mexico and Guatemala reut.rs/3cGRtOL as part of those efforts.

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