Demos Senior Policy Analyst Laura Williamson issued the following statement on Tuesday after the White House released details regarding select federal agencies’ plans to facilitate voter registration in accordance with an executive order President Joseph R. Biden signed in March. A new fact sheet offers further information on the plans:
“Our country is made stronger whenever we take action to bring eligible persons into the democratic process. Demos has long advocated that federal agencies can play an important role by providing convenient voter registration opportunities to the people they serve. Done properly, agency registration can assist millions of eligible Americans in registering to vote and can help reduce income- and race-based disparities in voter registration rates.
“We are glad to see the beginning steps toward this goal in the fact sheet from the White House, especially with the news that places such as Indian Health Service facilities and VA medical and care centers plan to provide access to voter registration to the people they serve and that the Department of Interior has committed to accept National Voter Registration Act designations for Tribal Colleges and University campuses. At the same time, we know there is more agencies can do, including by integrating voter registration into online portals like healthcare.gov and the FAFSA application used by tens of millions of Americans, among other things.
“Our experience with agency registration in the states tells us that effective voter registration programs require close partnership between the agencies and the communities they serve. This will be critical in successfully implementing the voter registration plans outlined in the White House’s fact sheet, and we call on the Administration to ensure close consultation with stakeholders as these plans are fleshed out.
“The actions outlined today are a good start and, with additional consultation, creative thinking, and commitments, have the potential to transform how and where people register to vote all across America. This is especially significant in Black, brown, and low-income communities, where we see notably lower rates of voter registration. We can celebrate this step forward on this National Voter Registration Day and commit to pushing for more robust plans and effective implementation on every day going forward.”