Biden campaign hires national director to focus on voter protection rights

Biden campaign hires national director to focus on voter protection rights
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The presidential campaign of former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Biden clarifies comments comparing African American and Latino communities Kanye West may have missed deadline to get on Wisconsin ballot by minutes: report MORE has hired a national director for voter protection as expanding access to the ballot box emerges as a chief concern for Democrats, particularly amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The campaign announced Tuesday that it has tapped Rachana Desai Martin to join its legal team and serve as senior counsel. Prior to joining Biden’s campaign, Martin served as the chief operating officer of the Democratic National Committee as well as the group’s director of civic engagement and voter protection.

“Voting is at the heart of our democracy, and @TeamJoe is committed to making sure everybody's voices are heard,” tweeted Matt Hill, the Biden campaign’s deputy national press secretary. 

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The hire comes as Democrats scramble to expand access to ballots, with lawmakers on Capitol Hill eyeing legislation to boost mail-in voting.

State governments run by both parties have also explored expanding mail-in voting as a way to allow voters to send in their election picks while observing social distancing guidelines during the pandemic. For instance, Michigan announced it will be sending absentee ballot applications to all of its 7.7 million registered voters.

The effort to expand voting access has gained steam in recent weeks after long lines were seen at polling stations for a number of primary races, raising concerns that voters were forced to choose between risking their health and sitting out of the elections.

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However, Republicans, led by President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test MORE, have come out in force against mail-in voting measures, claiming that voting by mail is particularly susceptible to fraud. There has been no evidence presented to back up these claims.

“There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.

The Democratic Party has been increasingly voicing concerns about voter access since 2018, when a high-profile gubernatorial race in Georgia was marred by allegations of voter suppression. The party has railed against states that have passed voter ID requirements and overseen purges of voter rolls, moves Democrats say are intended to target voters of color. 

Martin’s hiring was first reported by The Associated Press.