Biden announced the signing during a remote video message to the Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast, marking the 56th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” during which voting rights marchers were brutally attacked by law enforcement on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.
Biden’s order directs federal agencies to develop plans that would promote voter registration, improve access to voting and fight against misinformation that the previous administration and its allies have continuously promoted.
“It is the responsibility of the federal government to expand access to, and education about, voter registration and election information, and to combat misinformation, in order to enable all eligible Americans to participate in our democracy,” Biden’s order reads.
The order pushes back on Republican states that have ramped up efforts to limit voting access. As the Guardian points out, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, “Republicans have advanced more than 250 measures in state legislatures which aim to restrict voting.”
“Today, on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, I am signing an executive order to make it easier for eligible voters to register to vote and improve access to voting,” Biden said in a video message. “Every eligible voter should be able to vote and have that vote counted. If you have the best ideas, you have nothing to hide. Let the people vote.”
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
The order also follows this week’s passing of HR1 legislation by the House that looks to overhaul campaign finance laws and clamp down on partisan gerrymandering in congressional districts. Whether the bill will make it through the Senate is in question, with Senate Republicans already balking at its passing in the House, where it passed mostly along partisan lines 220-210.
Biden said HR1 is “a landmark piece of legislation that is urgently needed to protect the right to vote, the integrity of our elections, and to repair and strengthen our democracy.”
“I hope the Senate does its work so that I can sign it into law,” the president said.