Biden Signs Order, Saying to 'Let the People Vote'

Voting rights decree comes on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2021 1:30 PM CST
Biden Signs Order, Saying to 'Let the People Vote'
President Biden leaves the State Dining Room of the White House on Saturday after speaking about the pandemic relief bill.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

On the 56th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march, President Biden signed an executive order intended to guarantee voting rights. "Every eligible voter should be able to vote and have that vote counted," Biden said Sunday in a remote address to the Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast, per CNN. The annual event marks the anniversary of the Selma, Ala., march, during which police beat demonstrators demanding the right to vote as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge. "I also urge Congress to fully restore the Voting Rights Act, named in John Lewis' honor," Biden said; the late Georgia congressman was among those beaten on that day. Parts of the act were tossed out by the Supreme Court in 2013. Just last week, the House approved a broad voting rights measure that faces Republican opposition when it comes up in the Senate.

Biden's move is part of a Democratic response to GOP efforts to limit voter access and control the process, as Republicans repeat claims that the November presidential election was stolen from them. "If you have the best ideas, you have nothing to hide," Biden said Sunday, per the Washington Post. "Let the people vote." But the executive order doesn't directly counter the GOP moves, and it's not on the scale of the House legislation, per the New York Times. It directs agencies to draw up ways to promote voter registration and participation and help states with voter registration. The website is to be given a makeover to ensure its helpfulness. The executive order does attempt to broaden voting access in the military, as well as for eligible voters who are incarcerated. Still, the idea, an administration official said, is mostly to demonstrate that Biden is doing something about voting rights. (Read more voting rights stories.)

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