President Biden has announced that his administration will issue an executive order on voting that will put federal agencies to work to expand voter registration and election information for all Americans and expand voting access for those Americans under the supervisory authority of the federal government, including federal employees, active-duty military personnel, and overseas voters, Native Americans living on tribal lands, and people in federal custody. The order also requires particular attention to voters with disabilities and other groups that have faced obstacles when trying to cast ballots. The president also called on the Senate to pass the For the People Act (H.R. 1/S. 1), which includes voting reforms, and on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, had this reaction:
“Today President Biden powerfully advanced democracy reform in America. He combined the power of the bully pulpit with the authority of executive action. After an administration that peddled the Big Lie about our elections, President Biden put his administration firmly on the side of the voters. His executive order is a creative and strong step to make sure the federal government makes voting easier for all. As we mark Bloody Sunday, he linked the fight for racial justice to today’s fight for change. The president’s powerful words demanding action on what he called ‘landmark legislation’ sends the For the People Act into the Senate with urgency and momentum. And his support for the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act underscores the importance of that measure.”
Wendy Weiser, vice president of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, had this reaction:
“President Biden today threw the weight of the federal government behind the urgent goal of ensuring that every American can access their right to vote. He made a passionate call for the passage of the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — bills that are necessary to counter the attacks on our democracy and the push to restrict access to voting.
“The executive order he is signing today enlists federal agencies to help ensure that every American is registered to vote and has information about voting. Crucially, the order requires additional steps to ensure that voters with disabilities, military and overseas voters, Native American voters living on reservations, and voters in or leaving federal custody— all of whom face particular barriers to voting — have full and equal access to the franchise. Today’s actions mark a strong commitment by this Administration to expand access to voting and restore our democracy.”