Since the aftermath of the 2020 election, Americans remain more concerned than ever about the integrity of their elections and the security of their ballot. Recent polling from ABC/Ipsos shows that an astonishing 41 percent of Americans, cutting across party lines, are not confident in the integrity of the country’s elections.
The prospect of widespread voter fraud has long been a percolating policy issue. When many states altered their voting procedures just months before the 2020 general election, ostensibly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, election security manifested as an immediate and tangible concern for many voters. Mass ballot harvesting and widespread vote-by-mail procedures resulted in myriad stories of misplaced, displaced, or fraudulent ballots.
Despite these concerning realities, the Democrat-controlled U.S. House and Senate advanced legislation to nationalize state election laws as the very first priority of a new Congress. And when a handful of state legislatures dared to pass legislation to strengthen their election processes and mitigate the potential for fraud, far-left organizations and elected officials denigrated and falsely maligned these efforts as “Jim Crow 2.0.”
Now, many of the very entities attacking election integrity efforts are currently engaged in an opaque initiative to use federal resources and agencies to mobilize specific voter groups for the benefit of one political party–all on the taxpayer dime.
Background: The Biden Administration’s Electoral Power Grab
On March 7, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order 14019 predicated on the frequent–and flawed–left-wing trope that minorities face “significant obstacles” when it comes to their right to vote. The EO states that minority voters are “disproportionately burdened by voter identification laws and limited opportunities to vote-by-mail.”
Specifically, this executive order outlined a government-wide effort to register and mobilize select groups of voters. It should be noted that the directives within EO 14019 mirror many of the recommendations outlined by the far-left advocacy group Demos, which released a report in December 2020 calling on the Biden administration to use the federal government to “advance democracy” by targeting federal resources to increase civic participation among “black and brown Americans.”
Nevertheless, the Biden administration unveiled EO 14019 with instructions to every federal agency to develop a plan for both voter registration and participation with specific emphasis on turning out minority voters. Among the multiple directives outlined:
- Instructing every agency, in tandem with their statutory duties, to provide information on voter registration, vote-by-mail ballots, and how to vote.
- Instructing agencies to provide methods that “seamlessly transition” their respective websites to state online voter registration systems or Vote.gov.
- Soliciting and facilitating approved third-party organizations and state officials to register voters on agency premises.
- Instructing agencies to formally notify states that the agency will agree to serve as a voter registration entity under the National Voter Registration Act if requested to do so by the state.
- Coordinating through the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to provide time off for federal employees to vote and serve as poll watchers.
- Instructing the Attorney General to establish procedures to provide convicted felons with voter registration information, outline vote-by-mail information, and facilitate the ability of felons to satisfy state requirements that allow them to vote.
- Establishing an interagency Native American Steering Group within the federal government to increase Native American voter registration and turnout.
Under this executive order, agencies were given a September 2021 deadline to provide their voter mobilization plans to the administration. Additionally, Susan Rice, head of the Domestic Policy Council, was tasked with overseeing this taxpayer-financed, government-wide initiative.
On September 28, 2021, the White House released a memo outlining some publicly-acknowledged steps that over a dozen federal agencies are planning to take to “facilitate participation in the electoral process.” Among these steps:
- The Department of Agriculture will utilize Rural Development agencies to provide voter registration forms to those who use their services.
- The Department of Education will issue “tool kits” to increase “civic engagement” at elementary schools, high schools, and colleges.
- The Department of Health and Human Services will use the Indian Health Service to register voters.
- The Department of Homeland Security will bring state government officials and “nonpartisan” organizations to naturalization ceremonies to register voters on the spot.
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development will work through Public Housing Authorities to facilitate voter registration as well as engage in efforts to register homeless Americans.
- The Department of Justice will provide voter registration information to those in federal custody, facilitate voting for those eligible to do so while in custody, and mobilize felons with information about their ability to vote according to state law once released from prison.
- The Department of Labor will issue regulatory guidance designating over 2,400 federal job centers as voter registration agencies.
The Ongoing Assault on America’s Elections
This government-wide initiative comes amid a sustained two-pronged attack by federal lawmakers and far-left entities denigrating election integrity efforts.
The first prong consists of legislation introduced by congressional Democrats, dubiously titled the ‘For the People’ Act, which would nationalize elections and nullify state election laws. This bill was the very first priority (H.R. 1) put forth by the Democrat-majority in the 117th Congress.
Among the bill’s countless attacks on the constitutional order and election integrity are stripping states of their ability to regulate their own voter registration and voting process rules, requiring states to implement early voting, automatically registering all individuals (including non-citizens) to vote, mandating same-day voter registration, eliminating state voter ID laws, and expanding vote-by-mail as a permanent feature of elections.
H.R. 1 failed on the floor of the U.S. Senate, falling far short of the 60-vote threshold required to pass in a 50-50 party-line vote on June 22, 2021. Months later, the Biden administration attempted to revive the election takeover effort in a campaign aimed at eliminating the legislative filibuster to pave the way for one-party rule in Washington.
At an event in Atlanta on January 11, 2022, President Biden delivered a scathing attack on supporters of the legislative filibuster. The president accused senators defending the filibuster as supporting “Jim Crow 2.0” for refusing to allow the administration to unilaterally seize control over the nation’s elections. This action further underscores the attempt by the far-left to delegitimize those in favor of protecting elections from fraud as racists.
The second prong is the coordinated assault by the media and far-left entities on state legislatures–specifically Georgia and Texas–that have passed legislation aimed at shoring up their election security mechanisms and reducing the potential for voter fraud.
Among the most prominent entities launching attacks on state election integrity legislation is a radical group known as Third Way. This organization, which brands itself as a “center-left” think-tank, refers to the entire Republican Party as “seditionists” who are “controlled by anti-democratic forces” and “plotting a coup” to “steal the presidency.”
The organization refers to state election integrity bills as “state legislatures taking over the power to run elections.” It should be noted that states have always been in charge of running elections. The efforts by Third Way, Demos, and many elected Democrat lawmakers to strip states of control and empower Washington D.C. to run elections are the actual radical proposal that would centralize power and control over the people. To argue otherwise is to gaslight the American people.
Among Third Way’s remedies to prevent this alleged plot is running a shadow presidential campaign alongside the Biden re-election campaign that advocates a federal takeover of state election laws, mobilizes grassroots efforts to defeat “seditionist GOPers,” and deploys an “army” of lawyers to thwart election integrity bills.
Other outside organizations, such as the Center for Tech and Civic Life, distributed over $300 million in grant money from Facebook (Meta) CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, to various election agencies during the 2020 election. This effort was ostensibly aimed at helping agencies ensure they could conduct a “fair” and “accessible” election. That group is now requesting billions more in funding for various government entities overseeing elections ahead of the 2022 elections.
Whereas the Zuckerberg-Chan initiative dominated the last presidential cycle, the Biden EO is an early indicator that the next front in the battle and free and fair elections is likely to be centered on the vast array of government agencies using taxpayer dollars to mobilize the vote in partnership with left-wing organizations.
Response: Defending Our Elections
In lieu of the coordinated efforts to weaponize the federal government to usurp state control over elections and use tax dollars to turn federal agencies into a political action machine in favor of one political party, there are several steps that policymakers and elected officials need to take.
The first step is to file Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the Department of Justice, Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other federal agencies seeking the full release of the voter mobilization plans–as well as any internal memos, e-mails, and messages–relevant to the plans.
This should be followed by a public campaign to pressure the Biden administration to abide by federal law and release the full agency plans to the public.
The second step will require policymakers and concerned officials to identify key individuals in the White House, agencies, and third-party organizations like Demos and Third Way in preparation for congressional hearings that are needed to expose the scope of the administration’s efforts.
This will likely require subpoenas and litigation from civic-oriented organizations to enforce FOIA requests that are ignored by the administration.
The third step is legislative action. Specifically, lawmakers should work to zero out funding for the 300 new attorneys hired for the Voting Section within the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice. These attorneys are little more than taxpayer-funded far-left activists hired by the Biden administration to issue legal challenges and threaten state and local election officials–as well as target states that have sought to strengthen their own election protocols.
Additionally, federal policymakers should prepare legislation that prohibits the use of federal agencies for the purpose of voter mobilization. This language should incorporate prohibitions on the application or usage of Critical Race Theory, equity, and other race essentialist concepts within the statutory duties, mission statements, or programmatic functions of any federal agency.
Lastly, state lawmakers and elected officials must move with haste to shore up their election protocols and voting systems to prevent widespread fraud and abuse from undermining the constitutional order undergirding our republic. This means legislation that requires–and strengthens–the use of voter ID, prohibits the permanence of vote by mail protocols, ends same-day voter registration, and prohibits the counting of ballots postmarked after election day.
Governors too should put forth executive orders that make clear that states will continue to oversee their own elections, curb federal overreach, and instruct state election authorities to adhere to state guidelines and procedures.
The effort to strip states of the power to control their own elections, transform the federal government into a voter mobilization entity for far-left causes, and enshrine the permanence of voter fraud is well underway. The response to this threat requires an all-hands-on-deck effort by state and federal lawmakers, policymakers, and concerned citizens to expose, inform, block, and thwart.
The Biden administration’s initiative to use the federal government as an engine for registering and mobilizing specific groups of voters constitutes a full-scale assault on our constitutional republic. While attempting to hide behind claims that such efforts are “non-partisan,” the utilization of taxpayer money to mobilize specific groups of voters along racial lines exposes this as a farce. The Biden administration is engaged in an unethical attempt to further breach the trust of citizens and weaponize the federal government’s largesse to rig elections in its favor. It must be stopped.