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Harris rallies for Georgia Democrats Ossoff and Warnock, tells voters to overcome suppression efforts

"Why are so many powerful people trying to make it so difficult for us to vote?" the vice president-elect asked in Columbus.
Image: Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris Campaigns For Democratic GA Senate Candidates
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at a drive-in rally in Columbus, Ga., on Monday.Jessica McGowan / Getty Images

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris rallied voters in Columbus, Georgia, for Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock on Monday, arguing that voters needed to mobilize to rise above voter suppression.

"It is within your hands — within our grasp — to send these two leaders to Washington, D.C., who will fight for your voice," Harris said. "They are born out of this election cycle, when people tried to silence and suppress you, but they were triumphant, they were born out of this election cycle. They have survived these games that people are playing."

President-elect Joe Biden's first term agenda depends in party on Georgia's two Senate runoffs; if Democrats win both, they will take control the U.S. Senate, with Harris casting the tie-breaking vote as vice president.

Georgia has some of the most restrictive voting laws in the country, posing a challenge to Democrats who hope to turn out voters of color and young people, groups that typically are hit hardest by restrictive voting laws.

Voting and civil rights advocates also have protested cuts to early voting sites in particular, saying it was creating long lines and discouraging voters from casting their ballots during the state's three weeks of early voting.

Harris said the challenge of voter suppression was clear in November, too.

"We knew like Stacey Abrams has been telling us and organizing against it, we knew there would be powerful people trying to prevent us from voting," she said.

"We knew the kind of games they would play to make it difficult, to suppress our vote, to make it confusing, to discourage us," Harris told the crowd to a crowd that cheered and honked their horns.

"So we again ask as it relates to January 5th, the same question we asked in November: Why are so many powerful people trying to make it so difficult for us to vote?" she said. "We have to ask the question why, but we know the answer, because they know our power. They know when we vote, things change."

Harris was joined on stage briefly by the two Senate Democratic hopefuls, before departing. She will return to Washington, D.C., to vote on a Covid relief package working its way through Congress on Monday.