Vice President Kamala Harris urged Black lawyers Tuesday to challenge new election laws in mostly Republican-led states that she said are intended to restrict minority voting and shift vote-counting to partisan entities.
“This fight isn’t only about who gets to vote or how, this is also about who gets to count the vote,” Ms. Harris said in a virtual address to the National Bar Association, the nation’s oldest group for Black lawyers and judges. “Some of these state legislatures are also trying to shift authorities from trusted local election officials to partisan political actors. So we must fight back against all of these efforts.”
Two top Republicans in the Arizona Senate issued new subpoenas late Monday for materials from the 2020 presidential election as they look to continue their unprecedented review of former President Donald Trump’s loss in Maricopa County. The audit is spearheaded by Cyber Ninjas, a firm inexperienced in election reviews and led by a Trump supporter.
The new subpoenas include one sent for the first time to Dominion Voting Systems Inc., which manufactured Maricopa County’s voting machines.
Three states have enacted laws that invite “the opportunity for increased voter intimidation and harassment at the polls,” according to the left-leaning Brennan Center for Justice. Georgia and Montana have expanded poll watcher access in voting or ballot-counting locations. Iowa has made it a criminal offense for an election official to obstruct a poll watcher’s activities.
The vice president criticized new voting laws enacted in 18 states this year, saying they are aimed at curtailing options for voting such as mail-in ballots and drop boxes.
“State legislatures are trying to limit these options, reducing the number of days in early voting, reducing the number of drop boxes that are available, making it more difficult for people to stand in line to receive food and water,” Ms. Harris said. “Not everyone can stand in line for hours to vote on Election Day. Nor should they have to. Americans need options to be able to cast their ballot, which is their right.”
The fact-checking group PolitiFact found that Ms. Harris has exaggerated her claim about providing food and water to voters. Georgia’s new law says that no one shall give “any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink” within 25 feet of voters standing in line. Violations are punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The state law also says that poll workers can make available “self-service water” to voters waiting in line.
The vice president urged the bar association to push for Senate passage of two partisan Democratic voting bills, including one that would nationalize election standards and bar states from requiring voter ID. She also encouraged civil-rights organizations to work alongside the Justice Department to challenge the new state laws and “hopefully change anti-voter laws.”
“We must fight on many fronts,” Ms. Harris told the group. “Lawyers, including many of you, are starting to plan now to mount massive voter protection programs for next year’s election.”
Ms. Harris replied, “Thank you for those beautiful words.”
• This story is based in part on wire service reports.
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