Biden Signs “Executive Order on Promoting Access to Voting”

On Sunday, President Joe Biden signed the “Executive Order on Promoting Access to Voting” 

“Free and fair elections that reflect the will of the American people must be protected and defended. But many Americans, especially people of color, confront significant obstacles to exercising that fundamental right. These obstacles include difficulties with voter registration, lack of election information, and barriers to access at polling places.”

The Order specifies “legally entitled,”

“It is the policy of my Administration to promote and defend the right to vote for all Americans who are legally entitled to participate in elections.”

The order directs Federal Agencies to promote voter registration by linking their websites to Federal voting websites, such as and finding ways to provide voter registration services and vote-by-mail ballot applications,

“…in all public services areas by:
(A)  distributing voter registration and vote-by-mail ballot application forms, and providing access to applicable State online systems.
(B)  assisting applicants in completing voter registration and vote-by-mail ballot application forms”

The order seeks to increase the use of third-party services to provide identity documents that satisfy State voter identification rules, and to register voters using the documents they themselves provide. And if they refuse, they must explain themselves, in writing, to the President.

“…soliciting and facilitating approved, nonpartisan third-party organizations and State officials to provide voter registration services on agency premises; whether, consistent with applicable law, any identity documents issued by the agency to members of the public can be issued in a form that satisfies State voter identification laws. Each agency, if requested by a State to be designated as a voter registration agency pursuant to section 7(a)(3)(B)(ii) of the National Voter Registration Act, shall, to the greatest extent practicable and consistent with applicable law, agree to such designation.  If an agency declines to consent to such designation, the head of the agency shall submit to the President a written explanation for the decision.”

The Order also promotes the somewhat controversial use of Federal employees to serve as non-partisan poll workers and observers.

“… (implement) strategies to better support Federal employees who wish to volunteer to serve as non-partisan poll workers or non‑partisan observers, particularly during early or extended voting periods.”

One positive aspect of the order is the establishment of military ballot tracking.

“…establish procedures to enable a comprehensive end-to-end ballot tracking system for all absentee ballots cast by military and other eligible overseas voters under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.”

And lastly, the Order also provides for “steering groups” to increase voter turnout of the incarcerated and for Native American communities, but does not call for these groups to be non-partisan.