Congressional Republicans introduced legislation on Tuesday designed to combat President Joe Biden’s attempts to insert the federal government into state and local elections.
Introduced by Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney of New York, the Promoting Free and Fair Elections Act seeks to defang Biden’s March 2021 executive order that required federal agencies to interfere in the electoral process by using taxpayer money to boost voter registration and get-out-the-vote activities. As The Federalist previously reported, voter registration efforts are almost always a partisan venture and often involve left-wing groups that abuse their nonprofit status to target likely-Democrat voters.
Tenney’s bill would prohibit federal agencies from using federal funds to “solicit or enter into an agreement with a nongovernmental organization to conduct voter registration or voter mobilization activities.” The measure defines “voter registration or voter mobilization activities” as actions related to “registering voters or providing any person with voter registration materials, absentee or vote-by-mail ballot applications, voting instructions, or candidate-related information.”
Notably, the legislation would also mandate that federal departments turn over to Congress their respective “strategic plan[s]” documenting how they intended to comply with Biden’s order. Despite attempts by good government groups to acquire these plans, the Biden administration has routinely stonewalled such efforts by slow-walking its response to federal court orders and heavily redacting any related documents it has released.
The Promoting Free and Fair Elections Act would furthermore amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to bar public universities from using taxpayer-funded Federal Work Study programs to pay college students to engage in voter registration campaigns. In April 2022, the Biden administration told colleges they could use work study funds — which are used to provide part-time campus jobs to help students with tuition costs — to partake in such activities.
Having taxpayers fund get-out-the-vote efforts in this way had previously not been allowed.
“The Promoting Free and Fair Elections Act ensures that federal agencies remain non-partisan and are not engaging in partisan voter registration and mobilization efforts on the taxpayer dime,” Tenney said in a statement. “As the Election Integrity Caucus co-chair, it is my privilege to introduce this legislation to restore transparency and confidence in our democratic process, while keeping federal bureaucrats and the swamp from deliberately tipping the balance of our elections.”
North Carolina Republican Sen. Ted Budd has also introduced a companion bill under the same name in the U.S. Senate.