Strengthening Democracy: A Progress Report on Federal Agency Action to Promote Access to Voting
“Strengthening Democracy: A Progress Report on Federal Agency Action to Promote Access to Voting” is a comprehensive report published by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, ACLU, and Demos and a total of 53 organizations representing a diverse set of communities who understand that voting rights are foundational to our democracy and every value we cherish. The report evaluates the progress of 10 federal agencies in responding to President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Access to Voting, issued two years ago on the anniversary of the Selma voting rights march. In an era of increased barriers to the ballot in many states, the report estimates that robust implementation of the president’s executive order to promote voting access across 10 federal agencies could result in 3.5 million additional voter registrations per year.
On March 7, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order 14019 Promoting Access to Voting, a visionary EO that has the potential to make registration and voting more accessible for millions of Americans, including many communities historically excluded from the political process. In it, President Biden directs federal agencies to “consider ways to expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote and to obtain information about, and participate in, the electoral process.” This report evaluates 10 federal agencies on their progress in meeting the goals of this important EO. We find that, while a few agencies have made noteworthy progress, most have either made minimal progress on their initial strong commitments or have left important opportunities on the table.
Our findings are clear: Most federal agencies have room for improvement in their implementation of the Voting Access EO. Timely action by these agencies — either to follow through on their initial strong commitments or to make and follow through on new, stronger commitments — is more critical than ever, as efforts to restrict and suppress the fundamental right to vote proliferate across the country. And federal agency action can make a real difference. We estimate that, if these agencies integrate a high-quality voter registration opportunity for the people they serve, as recommended in this report, they could collectively generate an additional 3.5 million voter registration applications per year. Meeting the full potential of this vital EO is one of the most significant things President Biden and the leaders of federal agencies can do to promote voting rights, and doing so would leave a lasting legacy on our democracy.
Read the letter sent to President Biden and 10 federal agencies regarding the report.