Leaders of major civil rights groups visited the White House on Thursday to urge the administration to work with Congress and pass a voting law.
National Action Network Chairman Reverend Al Sharpton said the Group of Eight had strategized with President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on a plan to counter GOP efforts to tighten restrictions on vote.
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“If we don’t put the heat on the streets, it isn’t going to happen,” Sharpton told reporters after the meeting. “We informed them that it would not come from the White House down but from our houses up.”
Civil rights groups have said Congress must pass the “For the People Act” and the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act” to counter what they believe is a targeted attack on minority voters.
National Urban League leader Marc Morial accused Republicans of a concerted effort to “suppress” the vote for “blacks, brunettes, young people, people with disabilities and many other Americans who live with a great deal. disadvantage in this country. “
Republicans deny they are trying to suppress black voting and say restrictions on certain voting practices and the imposition of identification requirements prevent fraud.
The White House meeting comes a week after the Supreme Court ruled to uphold the new Arizona voting rules.
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The High Court concluded in a 6-3 decision that Arizona’s election laws did not suppress minority voters but reflected “quintessential examples of the usual voting burdens.”
But Democrats have argued that the GOP-led nationwide voting rights legislation is an attempt to weaken Democratic votes as the 2022 midterm approaches.
“We will not be able to get out of this threat to black citizenship, voting and political participation,” Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, told reporters.
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“We have to get the president to use his voice, use his influence, use his power and use what he clearly understands about this moment,” she said.
The White House called the meeting “constructive” but did not comment further on how the president intends to work with Congress to pass major electoral legislation.
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