Why Biden, Harris chose Atlanta to refocus America’s attention on voting rights

joe biden and andre dickens
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris speak with Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens after stepping off Air Force One, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris made a push in Atlanta on Tuesday for the U.S. Senate to relax the chamber’s filibuster rules, so Democrats can soon pass voting rights legislation.

The pair spoke on the grounds of Atlanta’s historically Black colleges — Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College. The Freedom to Vote and the John Lewis Voting Advancement Acts face uphill battles and Republican opposition in the Senate.

The latter is named after the late Georgia congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis. Both bills would allow for more federal oversight over state voting practices. Republicans say the bills violate states’ rights.

Just before Biden and Harris spoke, Gov. Brian Kemp said at the Georgia State Capitol that the Biden administration is forcing an “unconstitutional federal takeover of elections,” and accused them of peddling “falsehoods” about Georgia’s election law.

WABE politics reporter Sam Gringlas went live after Biden and Harris’ speeches at the Atlanta University Center with WABE’s “All Things Considered” host Jim Burress.

Lily Oppenheimer contributed to this report.