Juana Summers

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Across the country, the laws governing how Americans elect their public officials have become the focus of bitter partisan battles.

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Updated October 20, 2021 at 5:11 PM ET

Senate Democrats' most forceful and perhaps last push for major voting rights legislation this year was blocked by a Republican filibuster on Wednesday afternoon.

The procedural vote to move forward with the Freedom to Vote Act failed despite Democrats' effort to craft a compromise bill led in part by Sen. Joe Manchin. The West Virginia Democrat had hoped to get enough GOP votes to overcome a filibuster, but in the end no Republicans voted to advance the legislation.

Still a few years shy of turning 40, Sarah Audelo says she has aged out of her job.

She's spent the last few years in charge of one of the country's largest youth organizing networks, and now Audelo is stepping down to make room for new, younger leadership.

"It's like totally bittersweet to step away, but absolutely the right time," Audelo said of her departure, which had been in the works for a while. "I'm 37. This is a youth organization. It is time to make a way for folks who are actually on TikTok take the helm of the Alliance."

Young people in the U.S. made history in the 2020 elections, voting at a record high rate. And now the technology company behind a popular social media app is hoping to help some of those young voters become political candidates in their own right.

Snap, the company behind the Snapchat app, is launching an initiative intended to help connect users with information, tools and connections if they want to launch their own campaigns.

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Updated September 22, 2021 at 5:55 PM ET

Months of bipartisan negotiations over policing reform legislation have ended with no agreement, according to the lawmakers who led the process.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat, told reporters that he had a conversation on Wednesday with Republican negotiator Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, indicating that the talks were over.

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Thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C., and other cities across the country on Saturday to protest a recent slew of legislation that critics say suppresses voter rights, particularly for voters of color and young voters, in many Republican-led states.

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More than 50 years after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and reminded America of the "fierce urgency of now," activists are hoping to re-create the power of that day.

Thousands of activists are expected to converge Saturday in Washington and other cities across the country on the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington as part of the national fight over access to the ballot box.

House lawmakers approved new legislation aimed at protecting the right to vote on Tuesday, amid a wave of restrictive new elections laws from Republican-controlled state legislatures.

The bill is named for the Georgia congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis, who died last year.

Updated August 2, 2021 at 9:46 AM ET

Amid a fierce fight over voting rights, Black leaders are watching to see how President Biden wields the power they say Black voters gave him. Some worry that a familiar pattern may be playing out again.

When President Biden gave a much-anticipated voting rights speech in Philadelphia this week, he called the fight against restrictive voting laws "the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War" and decried what he called a "21st century Jim Crow assault" on voting rights.

But a lot of people who turned out voters to elect Biden think he's failing them in the battle for voting rights so far.

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Today President Biden delivered his most forceful rebuke of the wave of voting restriction proposed by Republicans across the country, arguing that those efforts are the biggest threat to American democracy since the Civil War.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman clutched a handful of flyers as he walked around the Gun Hill subway station, introducing himself to anyone who would stop and chat along the street in the Bronx.

"Did you know that I was your congressperson before I introduced myself?" Bowman asked a woman, raising his voice to a shout as the train clattered overhead.

She didn't.

"Come on now," Bowman said, adopting an affect of incredulity. "How is that possible? I was out here campaigning all in 2019 to 2020. And in 2020 I won the election — against Eliot Engel."

Updated June 8, 2021 at 2:47 PM ET

Sen. Joe Manchin praised a Tuesday morning meeting with civil rights leaders, calling it "constructive" and "informative," but maintained his opposition to a sweeping set of election overhaul measures known as the For the People Act.

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Vice President Harris on Wednesday urged Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to turn their pain, after a year marked by a surge of racially motivated attacks, into power.

She also praised the passage of legislation to address the increase in hate crimes and violence against Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.

The day that a white mob came to Greenwood Avenue in Tulsa, Okla., Viola Fletcher was just 7 years old.

During emotional testimony on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Fletcher, who is now 107, recalled her memories of the two-day massacre that left hundreds of Black people dead.

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President Biden's first address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday and the official Republican response that followed offered two contrasting perspectives on race in America.

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President Biden once again put racial equity among his top priorities when he spoke last night to Congress and the country.

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President Biden marked the important moment for the country speaking from the White House.

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Updated April 20, 2021 at 2:24 PM ET

When Joe Biden offered his condolences to the loved ones of George Floyd in a video address that played at Floyd's funeral service last year, he posed a question.

"Why, in this nation, do too many Black Americans wake up knowing they could lose their life in the course of living their life?" Biden asked.

Biden, then his party's presumptive presidential nominee, urged the country in that speech to use Floyd's death as a call for action to address systemic racism.

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President Biden has pledged to help end the epidemic of Black men being killed by police. But he's also presented himself as an ally of the law enforcement community. NPR's Juana Summers takes a look at the line the president is walking.

Updated April 15, 2021 at 1:43 AM ET

A House committee has voted to move forward with a bill that would establish a commission to develop proposals to help repair the lasting effects of slavery. The vote came nearly three decades after the bill was was first introduced.

Fresh debate over the issue of reparations for the descendants of enslaved people comes amid a national reckoning over race and justice.

President Biden's sweeping $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan also aims to deploy more than $5 billion to support community-based violence prevention programs.

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