Biden Signs Executive Order Aimed at Expanding 'Voter Access'

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Posted: Mar 07, 2021 12:05 PM
Biden Signs Executive Order Aimed at Expanding 'Voter Access'

Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Joe Biden on Sunday signed an executive order aimed at expanding voting rights. It's the Biden administration's latest move to expand voting rights as they push the Senate to pass H.R. 1, the House Democrats' bill to radically transform America's election system, including prohibiting voter ID laws and mandating taxpayers fund political campaigns.

"It is the policy of my Administration to promote and defend the right to vote for all Americans who are legally entitled to participate in elections," the executive order stated. "It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to expand access to, and education about, voter registration and election information, and to combat misinformation, in order to enable all eligible Americans to participate in our democracy."

Agency heads will be required to post "relevant information" – like how to vote-by-mail and vote in an upcoming election – on websites and social media platforms. Those who visit vote.gov will be directed to the appropriate state website that provides greater details on how to vote in that individual state. 

Election officials are encouraged to distribute voter registration and voting-by-mail applications and help voters fill out those applications if need be. The executive order also instructs election officials to "solicit and facilitiat[e] approved, nonpartisan third-party organizations and State officials to provide voter registration services on agency premises."

Federal prisoners who are currently incarcerated with be educated on their voting rights, including whether or not they will be restored once their sentence is completed. Those who are eligible to vote will be registered to do so.

The executive order also establishes an "Interagency Steering Group on Native American Voting Rights" aimed at "protecting voting rights of Native Americans." The committee will include the attorney general, interior secretary, agriculture secretary, labor secretary, health and human services secretary and the VA secretary. Other agencies can be invited as needed. The steering committee's ultimate goal is to increase voter education, registration and turnout in the Native American communities.

Even though Biden wants the Senate to move forward with H.R. 1, a senior White House official told Fox News that the president's executive order can "stem that tide" of "state voter suppressive action.

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"When I say that the president urges Congress to take action that would prevent states from attempts at voter suppression, that applies to all states, and it applies to making sure that the federal government and private litigants have the tools necessary to prevent restrictive voting action," the official said.

Republicans have opposed H.R. 1 because of the lack of voting protections, including requiring an ID to vote, and allowing convicted felons to vote once their sentence is completed. Other areas of concern include expanding early voting and voting by mail, something the GOP sees as a hotbed for voter fraud.