President Joe Biden signed an executive order Sunday directing the federal government to promote voting access.
The order was signed today to commemorate the 56th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery marches for civil rights.
“Every eligible voter should be able to vote and have that vote counted,” the president said in a virtual address to the Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast on Sunday just before signing the order. “If you have the best ideas, you have nothing to hide. Let the people vote.”
The order directs federal agencies to expand access to voter registration and election information. That includes directing heads of all federal agencies to submit a “strategic plan” to the White House within 200 days on how their departments can promote voter registration and participation.
The executive action comes as Biden backs Democrat-led voting rights legislation, H.R. 1, that cleared the House this week on a party-line vote. It would usher in sweeping election changes such as increasing early voting, reducing photo-identification requirements, allowing same-day registration and requiring independent redistricting of congressional districts.
- Direct federal agencies to assist states with voter registration efforts under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.
- Order the General Services Administration to improve and modernize the federal voter registration website Vote.gov.
- Order recommendations on leave for federal employees allowing them to vote or volunteer as nonpartisan poll workers
- Direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology to evaluate and publish recommendations on steps needed to ensure the online federal voter registration form is accessible to people with disabilities.
- Direct Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to establish procedures to annually offer each member of the armed forces the opportunity to register to vote in federal elections, update voter registration or request an absentee ballot.
- Direct the attorney general to establish procedures to provide educational materials on voter registration and voting for all eligible individuals in federal prisons or on probation by federal court.
- Establish a Native American voting rights steering group that will work with tribal organizations to identify best practices to protect voting rights of Native Americans