Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd joined 14 other Republican secretaries of state in requesting the White House rescind a 2021 executive order labeled “Promoting Access to Voting.”
A letter signed by Byrd and the other state elections officials said the March 7, 2021, executive order, would “duplicate voter registration efforts conducted at the state level and ignore codified procedures and programs in our state constitutions and laws.”
“Involving federal agencies in the registration process will produce duplicate registrations, confuse citizens, and complicate the jobs of our county clerks and election officials,” the Aug. 3 letter said. “If implemented, the executive order would also erode the responsibility and duties of the state legislatures to their situational duty within the Election Clause (of the U.S. Constitution).”
Secretaries of state from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wyoming also signed the letter.
Since the executive order was issued, Republicans have decried it as unconstitutional, contending, in part, the intent is to infiltrate state-run elections through get-out-the-vote schemes.
In criticizing the letter by Byrd and the other secretaries of state, Democratic voting-rights attorney Marc Elias on Wednesday tweeted, “Can you imagine being in charge of elections and complaining that the government is doing too much to help people register to vote?”
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The executive order required federal agencies to “consider ways to expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote and to obtain information about, and participate in, the electoral process.”
Federal agency heads were also given 200 days to outline steps they could take to promote voter registration, with an emphasis on people with disabilities, Native American communities, military members serving overseas, and people who were formerly incarcerated.
“The head of each agency shall evaluate ways in which the agency can, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, promote voter registration and voter participation,” the order said.