President Biden signed an executive order on Sunday designed to increase voter access, which according to the White House modernizes the vote.gov website, provides voting access and education to prisoners in federal prisons and examines barriers to vote for those with disabilities. It also improves ballot tracking for overseas voters, including members of the military.
Biden signed the executive order on the anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” when civil rights protesters in Alabama were beaten by state troopers during their march from Selma to Montgomery. The violence spurred the passing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
“The legacy of Selma is that while nothing can stop free people from exercising their most sacred power as citizens, there are those who will do anything they can to take that power away,” said Biden on Twitter. “As we reflect on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, we must stay focused on the work ahead.”
The legacy of Selma is that while nothing can stop free people from exercising their most sacred power as citizens, there are those who will do anything they can to take that power away. As we reflect on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, we must stay focused on the work ahead. pic.twitter.com/DDn1LFfqmi
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 7, 2021
During the speech, Biden also called on senators to pass H.R.1, the House Democrats’ sweeping voting rights package, which Republicans say undermines freedom of speech and numerous other freedoms.
“This is a landmark piece of legislation that is urgently needed,” Biden said. “I hope the Senate does its work so I can sign it into law.”
Also known as the “For the People Act of 2021,” H.R.1 passed the House on Wednesday by a vote of 220-210. Republicans opposed the bill.
“When I say that the president urges Congress to take action that would prevent states from attempts at voter suppression, that applies to all states, and it applies to making sure that the federal government and private litigants have the tools necessary to prevent restrictive voting action,” said a senior administration official, per Fox News.
According to the official, Biden’s executive order will only “stem that tide” of “state voter suppressive action.”
“I hear you and share the concern about the impact on voters and the subtraction of voters that can take place through state voter suppressive action, and it makes me sick to think about it. And I am so grateful to the president for taking every action that he can. Now, these are only to stem that tide,” the official said.
Last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attacked the piece of legislation as being “exactly the wrong response” to “distressing lack of faith in our elections.” Republicans argue that Democrats are attempting to use the power they currently have to ensure that they will not have to give it up by passing the landmark bill.
As detailed by Rebel News, the 800-page election reform bill includes numerous provisions and changes to create a national automatic voter registration that would require voters to opt out rather than opt in, among other sweeping changes.