The Biden Presidency Stalls on Voting Access Order

An executive order was signed by President Biden in March 2021, mandating all administrative agencies to establish measures to increase voter registration and engagement in national elections.

It is now being obstructed by the Biden administration. 

Several Republican legislators and staff members stated the president’s failure to answer queries about the order makes them think Biden uses federal authority to target specific demographics for taxpayer-funded registration initiatives. 

No Response

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), a ranking member of the Committee on House Administration, said the Biden administration’s lack of answers “is disheartening but not surprising.”

“In the end, we encourage every eligible American to vote. Now that they’ve been accused of doing so, these federal agencies are rushing to answer for their actions.” 

Biden instructed all executive agencies to disclose registration proposals by September 2021. After eight months, the White House only released a concise summary of the plans presented by 14 agencies. 

In late March, Davis, as well as the ranking members of eight other standing committees, demanded all federal agency plans from OMB Director Shalanda Young and White House Domestic Affairs Council Director Susan Rice.

Young and Rice did not respond by the April 29 deadline. 

Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) led an alliance of 36 House Republicans desiring copies of the federal agency’s plans to encourage voter registration and engagement in January. 

Budd’s memo to Young went unanswered. External groups looking for information on the president’s voter access attempt have also been rebuffed. 

President’s Influence

The Florida-based Base for Government Accountability sued the federal government in April, seeking documents pertaining to Biden’s executive order. 

The group’s representatives, Tarren Bragdon and Stewart Whitson, wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that no executive agency had responded to their July FOIA request. 

“Mobilizing voters is an innately political statement for a party president,” Bragdon and Whitson stated.

“The president’s party’s supporters may be pressured to support the party or its policies.” 

Bragdon and Whitson said a president always has the right to try and influence potential voters. However, he has no right to use federal authority to sway them. No comment from the White House. 

Republican staffers told the Washington Examiner that lawmakers were concerned about SNAP and SBA voter registration plans. 

The Department of Agriculture ordered all SNAP State Agencies to train staff to assist constituents with voter registration on March 23. 

A Republican staffer said while SNAP offices already provide access to voter registration applications, actively processing those registrations is a step too far. 

“Is the government’s welfare program to increase voter turnout? That’s absurd,” the staffer said. Legislators are worried that SNAP lacks the authority to use federal dollars for voter registration. 

“It may be legal, but we’re not getting answers,” the staffer said. “The consensus is that this is a gray area until we receive a response to our letter.”

The staffers said legislators are worried that the Small Business Administration is overstepping its mandate by designating its district offices as voter agencies in January.