Incoming CBC chairwoman says voting rights will be a top priority

Incoming Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.) said in an interview that aired Tuesday on Hill.TV's "Rising" that voting rights will be the caucus' top priority in the new Congress next year. 

"Voting rights is numero uno, number one on the agenda," Bass told Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons on Monday. 

"That's going to come in a variety of different forms. So for example, the Democrats as a whole, have a piece of legislation that they want to introduce in January that's called HR 1. A part of HR 1 covers voting, and essentially expanding the electorate," she continued. "So making it easier for people to get registered." 

"Then there is a piece that needs to be handled to address the Supreme Court challenge to Congress, which is establishing the record for why the Voting Rights Act is needed," she said. 

The congresswoman's comments come as controversy swirls around the House race in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District after multiple voters came forward with sworn statements saying their absentee ballots were hand-collected by canvassers, which is not allowed in North Carolina. 

"All you have to do is look back, not at November, but you can actually look back at today because the election in North Carolina is still not settled, and so ironically the Republicans who are always screaming and hollering about voter fraud if you look at the two places where voter fraud was very clear in Georgia and in North Carolina, that was Republican voter fraud," she said. 

Mark Harris, the Republican candidate in the race, leads Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes, but the results have not been certified because of fraud claims surrounding absentee ballots.

Harris said last week that he was “absolutely unaware of any wrongdoing” in the election and said he’ll continue to cooperate with an ongoing state probe.

"I think it's going to be very important to actually document what happened in the midterm election, and that's going to be a part of establishing the record that we will need to do to eventually do the legislation to restore the voting rights act," she said. 

— Julia Manchester