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Harris to meet with Texas state lawmakers who blocked election reform bill

The Hill logo The Hill 6 days ago Brett Samuels
Kamala Harris looking at the camera: Harris to meet with Texas state lawmakers who blocked election reform bill © Getty Images Harris to meet with Texas state lawmakers who blocked election reform bill

Vice President Harris will meet next week with Texas state Democrats who helped block passage of an elections law bill that would have made it more difficult for certain groups to vote in the state.

Harris will host representatives from the Texas Senate and House of Representatives on June 16 at the White House, her office said Thursday. Further details of the meeting were not immediately available, but Harris was tasked earlier this month with leading the Biden administration's efforts to protect voting rights.

Texas Democrats late last month walked off the state House floor during a late night session to prevent the passage of a massive overhaul of state elections procedures that would add new impediments to voting in future elections and limit the availability of certain types of voting predominantly used by low income and handicapped people.

The legislation would place new limits on early voting and curbside voting; prohibits round-the-clock voting centers and voting facilities in outdoor structures like parking garages; and eliminates straight-ticket voting, something Texas voters have used for decades. It limits the use of drop boxes by requiring absentee voters to hand their ballots directly to an elections official. The bill would also place new restrictions on access to absentee ballots.


Video: Texas Democrats block vote on election bill (The Washington Post)

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has pledged to add the elections bill to the agenda of a special session to address redistricting.

The Texas law is the latest in a series of bills presented by GOP-led legislatures to make it more difficult to vote by mail or using drop boxes, which experts say predominantly affects low-income or minority voters. The wave of new laws were proposed after the 2020 election, which saw record turnout but which former President Trump has repeatedly and falsely described as fraudulent.

Harris's meeting with the Texas delegation is her first public event to be announced since President Biden tapped her to be the White House's leading official on voting rights. Harris has said she will work with state officials, voting rights groups and lawmakers on Capitol Hill to protect voting rights.

The administration has voiced support for the For The People Act, a sweeping elections reform bill that passed the House earlier this year, but its prospects appear dead in the Senate after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) voiced his opposition last weekend.

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