is expected to sign an executive order Sunday directing federal agencies to take steps to promote access to voting, administration officials said, as a voting-rights bill he has endorsed faces Republican opposition in the Senate.
The executive order will call for the modernization and improvement of a government website that provides voting information; seek recommendations on federal employees taking the day off to vote or to volunteer as nonpartisan poll workers; ask for an evaluation of barriers to voting for those with disabilities; and create a Native American voting-rights steering group, the officials said.
Mr. Biden will sign the order on the 56th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” the day police attacked peaceful civil-rights protesters in 1965 as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. The president is also expected to virtually address this year’s Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast, an event held annually in Selma, on Sunday.
Sunday’s presidential directive comes as Republicans in several states are pushing restrictions and requirements on early voting or mail-in voting. Administration officials told reporters that the order was a way to use the president’s moral authority to send a message to those states, but they acknowledged that Mr. Biden lacks authority to push back meaningfully on any state laws through executive action alone.
The executive order will also seek to increase voting access for active-duty military personnel and provide voter-registration materials to all eligible individuals in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. It also pushes federal agencies to become designated as voter-registration agencies, if requested by a state.
Mr. Biden is expected to sign the order days after the Democratic-controlled House passed the most far-reaching voting-rights law since the 1965 Voting Rights Act, without the support of any Republicans.
The bill, known as H.R. 1, would have the effect of voiding state voter-identification requirements and making permanent the widespread mail-in voting that was common in last year’s elections, requiring states to offer online and same-day voter registration as well as 15 days of early voting nationwide.
The measure, however, is expected to stall in the evenly divided Senate, where Democrats don’t have the 60 votes needed to pass the legislation.
Opposition to the measure became a rallying cry for Republican voters at the recent annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Fla. “This monster must be stopped,” former President
said about the measure in his first public remarks since leaving office. “It cannot be allowed to pass.”
Write to Tarini Parti at Tarini.Parti@wsj.com
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Source: WSJ – US News