American President Biden signed an executive order focused on promoting voting rights amid a push by GOP-led state legislatures to roll back voting access in the wake of former U.S. President Trump’s 2020 loss and his baseless struggle to cast uncertainty on the integrity of American elections.
Joe Biden’s order coincides with the 56th anniversary of the march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, during which the police force beat and tear-gassed hundreds of peaceful civil-rights protestors, including former Rep. John Lewis, who served as a Democratic Congressman from Georgia.
The executive order directs government agencies to develop a strategic plan for promoting voter registration and participation, including possibly applying to be a government-designated voter registration agency and providing approvals on leave for federal employees to vote or to serve as poll workers.
The order also directs the Personnel Management Office to develop policies that provide leave for government employees looking to vote as poll-workers. Moreover, it asks the Defense Secretary to set up a protocol that allows every active-duty Armed Forces member to register to vote each year.
Mr. Biden stated in a videotaped speech to the Martin and Coretta Scott King Unity Breakfast that on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, he is signing an executive order to make it relaxed for eligible voters to register to vote and improve voting access.
Moreover, every eligible voter should be able to vote and have that vote tallied. Mr. Biden said if you have the best ideas, then you have nothing to hide. Let the people vote.
Last week, in prepared remarks on Sunday, the U.S. President indicated support for the voting rights bill passed in the House, a sweeping piece of legislation that would, among other things, automate voter registration and roll back government-level voter-ID requirements.
Dubbed the For the People Act of 2021 and marking the first piece of legislation announced by the House in the current session, the bill is possible to fail in the U.S. Senate given a lack of support among GOPs and Democrats razor-thin, one-vote lead.
On Sunday, speaking to MSNBC, House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn said he thinks Democrats can work to reinstate the Voting Rights Act in honor of Lewis by August 6, that is precisely fifty-six years after President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law; the U.S. Supreme Court blocked one of the act’s key provisions in 2013.
The disputes over voting rights have come to a head in the months since the November 3 presidential election after an unprecedented surge in mail-in ballots that former U.S. President Trump frequently and falsely claimed led to 2020-election fraud.
On Sunday, during the current legislative session, Joe Biden said that elected officials in 43 US states have already introduced above 250 bills to make it harder for Americans to vote. For example, last week, Georgia passed a bill in the House of Representatives to restrict absentee ballots and early voting on March 7, regardless of knowing such provisions are disproportionately used by mostly Democrat minority voters.
In a Tuesday hearing, the United States Supreme Court signaled that during the election, it would vote in support of two election measures enacted in Arizona, one that allowed officers to discard ballots cast at the wrong area and another placing constraints on the third parties that can assist in delivering ballots to polling places. Republican Lawyer Michael Carvin while answering a question from Justice Amy Coney Barrett, said he was concerned the provisions would put Republicans at a ‘competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats.’