(Headline USA) A new executive order from President Joe Biden directs federal agencies to take a series of steps to deteriorate election integrity, a move that comes as congressional Democrats press for sweeping voting changes.
His plan was announced during a recorded address on the 56th commemoration of “Bloody Sunday,” the 1965 incident in which some 600 civil rights activists were beaten by state troopers as they tried to march for voting rights in Selma, Alabama.
“Every eligible voter should be able to vote and have it counted,” Biden said in his remarks to Sunday’s Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast before signing the order. “If you have the best ideas, you have nothing to hide. Let the people vote.”
There are no restrictions on voting access for adults living legally in the United States, unless they have committed serious crimes.
Biden’s order directs federal agencies to expand access to voter registration and election information, calls on the heads of agencies to come up with plans to give federal employees time off to vote or volunteer as nonpartisan poll workers, and pushes an overhaul of the government’s Vote.gov website.
Democrats are attempting to solidify support for House Resolution 1, which touches on virtually every aspect of the electoral process. It was approved Wednesday on a near party-line vote, 220-210.
The election fraud bill includes provisions to put bureaucrats, rather than elected officials, in charge of gerrymandering congressional districts, mandate nationwide mail-in voting, and reform the reporting system for campaign donations.
Democrats say the bill will help stifle voter suppression attempts, while Republicans have cast the bill as an invitation to election fraud and unwanted federal interference in states’ authority to conduct their own elections.
The bill’s fate is far from certain in the closely divided Senate. Conservative groups have undertaken a $5 million campaign to try persuade moderate Senate Democrats to oppose rule changes needed to pass the measure.
With his executive order, Biden is looking to turn the spotlight on the issue and is using Bloody Sunday as an outrageous and hyperbolic foil.
Biden is hoping the Jan. 6 sacking of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Donald Trump mob will prove to be a clarion call for Congress to make permament methods for widespread voter fraud.
“In 2020 — with our very democracy on the line — even in the midst of a pandemic – more Americans voted than ever before,” Biden said. “Yet instead of celebrating this powerful demonstration of voting — we saw an unprecedented insurrection on our Capitol and a brutal attack on our democracy on January 6th. A never-before-seen effort to ignore, undermine and undo the will of the people.”
Biden’s also paid tribute to the late civil rights giants Rev. C.T. Vivian, Rev. Joseph Lowery and Rep. John Lewis. All played critical roles in the 1965 organizing efforts in Selma and all died in within the past year.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press.