The following is an adapted excerpt from the book, “Myth of Voter Suppression: The Left’s Assault on Clean Elections.”
In March 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order directing every federal agency to focus on voter registration and participation in what appears to be a federally-backed get-out-the-vote effort.
Don’t worry. We are assured this will be nonpartisan.
The White House came back in September 2021 to explain federal agencies will be working with “nonpartisan” groups. But the Biden administration hasn’t given many details about how this order is being implemented and who these nonpartisans are. What’s key is that the executive order almost mirrors exactly what the left-wing group Demos produced in a policy brief shortly after Biden was elected.
While other groups on the left often attempt to sound reasonable and pragmatic, Demos shows ideological leg with phrases like, “transforming America,” “rethinking capitalism,” and “global governance.” So the liberal New York think tank’s “Democracy Program” strikes one of its least-threatening tones. Don’t be fooled. It’s about weaponizing the federal government to sign up as many Democrat voters as possible.
Demos issued a report on December 3, 2020, titled, “Executive Action to Advance Democracy: What the Biden-Harris Administration and the Agencies Can Do to Build a More Inclusive Democracy.” Less than two months after taking office, Biden issued an executive order nearly identical to the Demos demands about politicizing federal agencies.
Lest there be any doubt about the organization’s influence over this administration, it’s important to know that K. Sabeel Rahman was the president of Demos and Chiraag Bains was the Demos legal strategies director when the organization issued the briefing calling for Biden’s executive actions.
So it’s no coincidence that Rahman became senior council for the Office of Management and Budget, which oversees the implementation of executive orders, as well as for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which oversees regulation. Bains is the deputy director of racial justice and equity for the Domestic Policy Council — which the executive order identifies as taking the lead on the policy. A White House press release on March 5, 2021, noted that Bains — while working at Demos, “led voting rights litigation and advocacy across the country.” Two days after this press release, Biden issued the executive order.
Demos previously partnered with Project Vote, an offshoot of ACORN, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to lobby the federal and state governments against what it calls “excessive Voter Identification requirements.” The coalition wanted the Motor Voter law extended beyond registering voters at the Department of Motor Vehicle offices to include offices for welfare, Medicaid, food stamps, and other areas of public assistance where perhaps Democrat voters are more likely to be. Demos criticized the Obama administration for not using the HealthCare.gov portal to sign up for Obamacare as a voting registration site.
The marriage of government with turning out the partisan vote — using social services as a sweetener — is a throwback to the workings of Tammany Hall, the Daley machine, and other Democrat Party traditions.
After years of advocating using the power of government to benefit a single party, Demos issued its December 2020 recommendations for the incoming Biden-Harris administration in what turned out to be the blueprint for Biden’s election agenda.
The first of the six recommendations says, “The Biden-Harris administration can make voting more accessible by directing specified federal agencies, in their administration of federal programs, to act as voter registration agencies, including providing voter registration applications, assisting clients to complete applications, and transmitting completed applications to state authorities.”
In an apparent response, Biden issued an overly broad executive order on March 7, 2021, ordering federal agencies to do exactly that.
“Agencies shall consider ways to expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote and to obtain information about, and participate in, the electoral process,” Biden’s executive order says. “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 also says agencies are to “expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote and to obtain information about, and participate in, the electoral process.” The order directs agencies to focus on “distributing voter registration and vote-by-mail ballot application forms,” “assisting applicants in completing voter registration and vote-by-mail ballot application forms,” and “soliciting and facilitating approved, nonpartisan third-party organizations and state officials to provide voter registration services on agency premises.”
Demos specifically singled out using U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to sign up new voters at naturalization ceremonies. Under Biden’s executive order, the Department of Homeland Security’s focus will be on voter registration “at the end of naturalization ceremonies for the hundreds of thousands of citizens naturalized each year,” according to the White House summary of agency plans.
The second Demos recommendation for Biden’s executive actions was to “strengthen Department of Justice’s enforcement of and guidance on voting rights statutes” and “pursue aggressive civil and criminal enforcement of federal voting rights protections.”
The Justice Department seems to have obliged, filing lawsuits against the election laws in Arizona, Georgia, and Texas, while also issuing election law guidance seemingly as a warning to other states.
Apart from the executive order, Biden appointed top Justice Department officials with a long record of opposing any voter ID laws. Biden named Vanita Gupta as the associate attorney general. She returned to the department after running the civil rights division during the Obama administration.
During that run, she oversaw the 2015 lawsuit against North Carolina to attempt to block the voter ID law there. Biden also named Kristen Clarke as the assistant attorney general, who would lead the Civil Rights Division that oversees the Voting Section. As a private lawyer, Clarke led a lawsuit to stop the then-Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp from enforcing election integrity policies.
The third Demos recommendation was to provide more federal resources to the Election Assistance Commission. Under this category, Demos called for the EAC to “develop standards and best practices for mail and early voting” and to “encourage ‘no-excuse’ voting by mail.”
Along those lines, the Biden executive order says agencies should provide ways to give information to people from government offices located throughout the United States as well as online and social media, “about how to register to vote, how to request a vote-by-mail ballot, and how to cast a ballot in upcoming elections,” and “ways to provide access to voter registration services and vote-by-mail ballot applications” and “distributing voter registration and vote-by-mail ballot application forms.”
The fourth Demos recommendation was: “Create an office within the White House focused on advancing the administration’s efforts to protect and strengthen democratic systems and civic participation.”
In April 2021, Biden named Justin Levitt as his senior policy adviser for democracy and voting rights. Levitt is a Loyola law professor who previously worked in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division during the Obama administration. Levitt worked for the George Soros-funded America Coming Together PAC, and for the vote-fraud-denier group Brennan Center for Justice. In 2014, Levitt wrote a Brennan Center report opposing voter ID laws.
The fifth recommendation calls for the Biden-Harris administration to “strengthen the U.S. Postal Service’s ability to deliver election mail.” This suggestion surrounded the left’s pre-2020 election postal conspiracy theories that Trump was somehow hijacking the postal service to get reelected.
It was not part of Biden’s executive order, but in July 2022, the USPS announced it was establishing a division to handle election mail.
The sixth Demos suggestion was to end what it calls “Prison Based Gerrymandering” by requiring the Census Bureau to count federal prisoners at their last known address rather than at the prison they are incarcerated in. The theory behind this is that when it comes time for redistricting, prisoners are from urban areas that could add majority Democrat districts but are housed in rural areas — and thus will only add non-voting residents to expand likely Republican areas.
The DOJ didn’t address “prison gerrymandering” but the executive order says the department shall, “provide educational materials related to voter registration and voting and, to the extent practicable, to facilitate voter registration, for all eligible individuals in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.” Yet another likely Democrat constituency.
Let’s be clear, it would be problematic for a Republican president or for a president of any party to direct the federal bureaucracy to engage in elections. It’s difficult to see how the public shouldn’t suspect the party in power would want to shift things in their favor.