Biden Voter Registration Order Meets Strong Opposition from Red States

A power struggle is unfolding between the White House and certain state attorneys general over voter registration, fueled by President Joe Biden’s March 2021 Executive Order 14019. Red states are accusing the federal government of attempting to seize control of voter registration processes from the states, triggering outcry and accusations of federal overreach from conservative leaders.

The executive order asserts the Federal Government's responsibility to expand access to and education about voter registration and election information. However, this move directly contradicts Article 1 Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, which stipulates that the times, places, and manner of holding elections are to be determined by state legislatures. Historically, overseeing voting procedures has been the domain of individual states.

Under the Executive Order, federal agency heads are tasked with developing plans for voter registration, ensuring access for certain incarcerated individuals in federal custody, and implementing a ballot tracking system for absentee voters under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). This attempt by the federal government to intervene in states' voter registration processes has been met with fierce opposition from conservative leaders.

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner vehemently opposes the federal government's intrusion into voter registration, arguing that states should maintain their duty to register voters in a nonpartisan manner. He has pledged to challenge the White House's bid for authority over voter registration all the way to the Supreme Court.

Moreover, a coalition of 15 secretaries of state has called on President Biden to revoke the directive, citing a lack of constitutional authority and congressional approval. They argue that involving federal agencies in voter registration would lead to duplicate registrations and complicate the work of county clerks and election officials. The coalition also contends that the executive order would undermine the responsibilities of state legislatures under the Election Clause.

Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson has criticized the White House for the lack of transparency and collaboration regarding the executive order's implications. He emphasizes the importance of election laws being handled by the states as mandated by the Constitution. Conservative leaders are showing no signs of backing down in their opposition to what they perceive as federal interference in state voting matters.

The timing of the White House's unveiling of federal voter registration plans has raised suspicions among conservative leaders, who view it as a blatant attempt to sway the outcome of the upcoming November General Election. They express concerns about the lack of transparency and coordination surrounding these plans, particularly during a presidential election cycle. The involvement of federal agencies in facilitating voter registration activities has only intensified tensions between the White House and red states.

The resistance to President Biden’s voter registration order mirrors the broader conservative sentiment against what they view as federal encroachment on state rights. With the Supreme Court potentially becoming the battleground, the conflict between the White House and red states over voter registration remains unresolved.

Written by Staff Reports

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