Vice President Joe Biden marked Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday by saying the nation was in the middle of a “hailstorm” on voting rights, arguing that minorities and low-income people were facing growing barriers to the ballot box.
Introduced by Rev. Al Sharpton, Biden at the National Action Network’s annual holiday breakfast said the Obama administration was engaged in a new battle for ensuring all people had the right to vote.
“I never thought we’d be fighting the fight again on voting rights,” Biden told the group, recalling his personal “awakening” on civil rights issues as a child.
“Our opponents know the single most dangerous thing to give us is the right to vote,” Biden added.
The vice president pointed to the recent Supreme Court decision stripping the centerpiece of the Voting Rights Act.
“No longer needed?” he said dismissively, condemning the court’s decision.
Attorney General Eric Holder has also sued the state of Texas to keep its voter ID law from taking effect. And Biden railed against similar initiatives in North Carolina and other states.
Supporters of voter ID laws say they are intent on limiting fraud at the polls. And southern states, in particular, said the Voting Rights Act was an outdated statute that punished them for sins of previous generations.
Regardless, Biden said the Obama administration would lead the fight on voting rights.
Biden told the crowd it was time for the nation on voting issues to determine, “Where do we go from here?”