Klobuchar, Stacey Abrams to team up on voting rights event

Klobuchar, Stacey Abrams to team up on voting rights event
© Greg Nash

Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Officials want action on cyberattacks Senate panel advances antitrust bill that eyes Google, Facebook This week: Democrats face mounting headaches MORE (D-Minn.) is slated to team up with Stacey Abrams for a voting rights event in Georgia this weekend.

Klobuchar and Abrams are scheduled to host a roundtable Sunday with Georgia voters to talk about "obstacles they have faced when voting and discuss the urgent need to protect voting rights," according to an announcement obtained by The Hill ahead of its release.

The roundtable will be held at a polling location that saw five-hour-long lines during early voting for the November 2020 election but was closed during the Senate run-off election. Wait times for early voting in Georgia last year sparked national headlines amid reports of technical issues.

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The Sunday event with Abrams — who served as the minority leader in Georgia's House of Representatives before launching Fair Fight Action, a voting rights group — comes a day before Klobuchar is expected to hold a Rules Committee hearing in Georgia. 

Sen. Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - House Democrats plagued by Biden agenda troubles Herschel Walker will speak at Trump rally in Georgia Democrats push to shield election workers from violent threats   MORE (D-Ga.) is one of several people slated to testify Monday, at the committee's first field hearing in 20 years. Witnesses are expected to talk about "recently enacted legislation to restrict voting in the state and the need for basic federal standards to protect the freedom to vote," according to a release from Klobuchar's office.

Georgia has emerged as a battleground over voting rights in the wake of the 2020 election, which former President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE and some of his allies have falsely claimed was "stolen."
 
The GOP-controlled state legislature came under fire earlier this year as lawmakers debated, and ultimately passed, a law that sets new rules for voter ID and mail-in voting procedures.

Democrats have pointed to Georgia's law as an effort by Republicans to limit access to the ballot. Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandDemocrats demand more action from feds on unruly airline passengers Lawmakers say police reform talks are over Supreme Court low on political standing MORE announced last month that the Justice Department is suing Georgia, arguing that the state law violated voter protections.

But Republicans have defended the Georgia law, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse passes standalone bill to provide B for Israel's Iron Dome Pelosi vows to avert government shutdown McConnell calls Trump a 'fading brand' in Woodward-Costa book MORE (R-Ky.) accusing Democrats of "fake outrage."

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"This spring the state of Georgia passed a mainstream election law that expanded early voting and made drop boxes permanent for the first time. The left responded with a total meltdown," he said from the Senate floor this week.

The event with Abrams and the Georgia hearing come as Democrats are trying to ramp up their focus on voting rights — even though they face a roadblock to passing any legislation in the Senate due to the 60-vote legislative filibuster.

In addition to Klobuchar's field hearing, a Senate Judiciary subcommittee held a hearing this week on the Voting Rights Act. A group of Texas Democrats, who left the state in order to prevent passage of a new voting law, also met with several Democratic senators, including Klobuchar, this week.