WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden is due to sign an executive order on Sunday instructing the federal government to encourage access to voting to commemorate the 56th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches.
According to an administrative official, Biden will order federal agencies to expand access to voter registration and election information. This includes directing heads of all federal agencies to provide the White House with a “strategic plan” within 200 ways of how their departments can encourage voter registration and participation.
In addition, the US Chief Information Officer will coordinate between federal agencies to “improve or modernize” federal websites and digital services that provide election and voting information under the regulation.
Biden’s executive, which is limited in scope, comes because it’s democratically run Voting rights legislation, HR 1, which the House cleared in a party line vote this week. This would initiate extensive electoral reforms such as These include increasing early voting, reducing photo identification requirements, allowing same-day registration, and requiring independent redistribution of congressional districts.
The bill would also fight efforts from Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country – inspired by former President Donald Trump’s false claims of widespread electoral fraud if he lost his election – are considering new measures that would restrict voter access.
Biden is expected to sign the contract as he virtually speaks to Martin and Coretta King’s breakfast on Sunday afternoon to commemorate “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama. On March 7, 1965, more than 100 peaceful demonstrators on their way to Montgomery, including the late MP John Lewis, were hit by a police wall on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The demonstrators were gassed and beaten with tears. Lewis’ skull was broken.
Ordinarily, Biden, other top Democrats and civil rights activists made pilgrimages to Selma for the anniversary, but there is no face-to-face gathering amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Biden’s Executive Order will also:
► Instruct federal agencies to assist states in voter registration efforts under the National Voter Registration Act 1993.
►Order the General Services Administration to improve and modernize the Vote.gov federal voter registration website.
►Order vacation recommendations for federal employees that allow them to vote as impartial election workers or volunteer
► Direct the National Institute for Standards and Technology to evaluate and publish recommendations on the steps required to ensure that the federal voter online registration form is accessible to people with disabilities.
►Directly Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin establishes procedures to allow every member of the armed forces annually to register to vote in federal elections, update voter registration, or request a postal vote.
► Guide the Attorney General to establish procedures for providing voter registration and voting training materials to all eligible persons in federal prisons or on probation by a federal court.
►Install a Native American Suffrage Steering Group to work with tribal organizations to identify best practices for protecting Native American suffrage
Employee Deborah Barfield Berry contributed to this report. Reach out to Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.