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Targeting Felon Votes With ‘Bidenbucks,’ Democrats Court The ‘Criminal Caucus’

Inmates in Maine correctional facility talking about their right to vote under state law.
Image CreditSky News /Youtube 

It’s not about the ‘right to vote’ for the big moneyed interests behind ‘reenfranchisement’ efforts. It’s about voting for the right people. 


E.B. Jordan spent two years in the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility on felony drug conviction charges. When she was released, long before her maximum 20-year sentence, Jordan went to work getting felons like her registered to vote. 

“I went door-to-door to stress the fact that we’re felons, that we can vote. And a lot of people didn’t even know that,” the activist for the left-wing Voting Access for All Coalition says in a video aimed at getting ex-cons to the polls. “I went through my neighborhood … to inform my neighborhood that I knew there was a lot of felons in my neighborhood and they could vote.”

“I also had a car, and the people that didn’t have a ride I would drive them up to our local voting polls to have them vote and register,” Jordan added. 

The video is “brought to you” by a coalition of groups that include the clerk’s office and sheriff’s office of southeast Michigan’s Washtenaw County. Washtenaw County’s seat of government is Ann Arbor, home to the University of Michigan, a critical county in a critical swing state that will likely decide the next president of the United States.

Another coalition partner is the League of Women Voters of Michigan. Interestingly, an official from the Michigan LWV chapter told The Federalist the organization was “not familiar with the video.” Sent a link to the video, the official said the League had no comment. 

“We want to ensure that persons in pre-trial situations, folks about to be released from jail and prison, and their families have the opportunity and knowledge they need to exercise their right to vote in all elections,” the video’s narrator asserts.

The ‘Criminal Caucus’

While it may sound like a noble cause, it’s not just about the “right to vote” for the big monied interests behind these “reenfranchisement” efforts. It’s about voting for the right people. 

Felons cleared to vote (and some not cleared) have long been a reliable bloc of voters for Democrats. A 2019 study by Ragnar Research Partners found that in Florida, for instance, “Currently incarcerated felons are more than three times as likely to be registered Democrats … or unaffiliated … than Republicans. Ex-felons are four times as likely to be Democrats … or unaffiliated.” In the swing states expected to determine the  outcome of the rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, getting felons and those facing felony charges to the polls could mean the difference between the left and the right guiding U.S. policy for the next four years. 

Perhaps then it comes as little surprise that incumbent President Joe Biden is using his constitutionally suspect Executive Order 14019 to turn out the felon vote, using the full force of the federal government to do so. And the well-funded leftist groups working behind the scenes to register felons and would-be felons appear to be assisting in the effort to win an election for Biden and his soft-on-crime political allies in Congress, state legislatures, and prosecutor offices around the country. 

“The left caters to the criminal caucus,” said Parker Thayer, investigative researcher at the Capital Research Center, a Washington, D.C.-based charity and activist tracker that operates the InfluenceWatch database. “That was the purpose of the ‘reforms’ we saw in 2020. They have a voting base there.” 

‘By Reason of Criminal Conviction’

In most states, felons lose their right to vote until they complete their sentences and post-sentence requirements to restore eligibility. As the National Conference of State Legislatures reports, Maine, Vermont and the District of Columbia grant felons the right to vote even while in prison. In 23 states, felons receive automatic restoration of eligibility following incarceration, while in 15 sates felons are barred from voting while in prison and for a time after release, generally while on probation or parole, according to NCSL. Another 10 states indefinitely prohibit criminals convicted of certain crimes from voting, or require a governor’s pardon. 

In 2022, an estimated 4.4 million convicts and ex-cons, making up about 2 percent of the voting-age population, were ineligible to vote, according to the left-leaning, George Soros-funded Sentencing Project. The activist organization earlier this year issued a retraction on the estimates it previously published on “disenfranchisement by reason of criminal conviction” in Mississippi. 

Advocacy groups in the name of “social justice” have lobbied hard to lift restrictions on felons voting, with varying degrees of success. Where changes in the law have failed, well-heeled leftists, including a long list of celebrities, have invested in the “criminal caucus.” 

As left-wing ProPublica reported just before the 2020 election, NBA icon LeBron James and pop star Ariana Grande joined leftist billionaire and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, among other celebrities and donors, to kick in some $27 million to pay off “lingering court fines and fees for Florida felons.” The bailout, ProPublica and two of Florida’s biggest newspapers reported, was aimed at making nearly 13,000 felons eligible to vote in the 2020 presidential election. 

“Although the modest increase in eligible felons falls far short of expectations, it could be large enough to make a difference in a key state where polls indicate that the presidential contest is once again a toss-up,” the publications asserted. 

The effort by the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition ultimately was all for naught. The Sunshine State turned decidedly red, and Trump won Florida by some 370,000 votes. But it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. 

Four years later, the campaign to target the “criminal caucus” has been federalized. 

‘Strengthen Their Partnership’

As the Daily Signal reported earlier this year, the Federal Bureau of Prisons is partnering with the League of Women Voters, the ACLU, the Campaign Legal Center, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, and other far-left groups to bolster felon voting this election year. 

Prison officials did not return The Federalist’s request for comment, but the the FBP’s Emery Nelson did tell the Daily Signal that the agency “meets quarterly” with the leftist nonprofits as well as the Sentencing Project and Disability Rights D.C.

The partnerships are the outgrowth of Biden’s fiat, Executive Order 14019, which deputizes federal agencies to work with states and administration-approved nonprofits to register voters — especially dependable Democrats and traditionally left-leaning populations. A group of Pennsylvania lawmakers has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on its lawsuit, which asserts Biden’s executive order unconstitutionally uses the federal government to usurp the responsibility of the state legislative branch. The lawsuit also argues that Congress never approved funding for the Biden administration’s unprecedented — and costly — GOTV campaign. 

All the while, the administration has failed to turn over records tied to the creation and implementation of the order as the clock ticks down to the 2024 election. 

Nelson told the Daily Signal the voter education program is being offered to inmates through the Federal Bureau of Prisons. As of late January, the bureau had partnered with lefty group Chicago Votes and the Metropolitan Correctional Center, as well as the “Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) Los Angeles and FCI Terminal Island [also in Los Angeles] to continue to strengthen their partnership with the FBOP.” Officials with the MDC did not return The Federalist’s request for comment. 

‘Using the Federal Government’

Biden’s executive order and the GOTV efforts targeting felons and other predominantly left-leaning voting populations was a long time coming. 

“This was the fulfillment of a plan going on since 2016, as we saw in the leaked emails from [billionaire leftist George] Soros and [Hillary Clinton presidential campaign chairman John] Podesta,” Thayer said. “Left-wing donors wanted this for a long time. It will save them a lot of money if the government does the get-out-the-vote work.” 

“This isn’t Joe Biden caring about democracy,” he added.

It goes back even further, according to a 2017 article published in Medium. The detailed piece on the “Corporatization of Local, State and Federal Elections” notes former Bill Clinton staffer Robert Stein’s “aggressive plan to reform the electoral process and take control of State and Federal Elections.”

Stein was the intellectual spark behind the Democracy Alliance, “a network of wealthy donors that has steered $2 billion to a handful of carefully vetted organizations like the Center for American Progress, Media Matters, America Votes and Catalist,” left-leaning Inside Philanthropy reported in a retrospective on Stein’s operative life after the leftist money mover died in 2022. A New York Times obituary on Stein, the man “Who Changed How Politics Is Funded,” quoted Media Matters for America founder David Brock, who said the Democracy Alliance, launched in 2005, was “revolutionary” for the left. “[A]nd over the last 20 years it was the sole reason why sustainable Democratic infrastructure got built.”

Many of the same players were behind the so-called “voter expansion project,” which was “embraced” by Bill and Hillary Clinton in early 2014, as the latter was expected to be the front-runner for the 2016 Democratic Party nomination, NPR excitedly reported. The Clintons were “committed” to the DNC’s new plan “because they have long wanted to see the party be more proactive and systematic in its efforts to increase the number of voters and to protect their voting rights,” NPR declared with the kind of naïveté that appeared to make the government-funded organ of the left stunned when leaked emails disclosed a corrupt bargain between the Clinton campaign, the DNC it bought, and the players who helped rig the nomination process.

“We are very committed to making sure that we invest and work with our state parties on putting boots on the ground, on focusing on voter expansion … and making sure that everyone who wants to vote and is eligible has an opportunity to register, has an opportunity to turnout and can have their vote accurately counted,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., NPR reported. The DNC chairwoman at the time was run out of town on a rail on the eve of the 2016 DNC convention in Philadelphia, just as the DNC email scandal broke.

The next step is the federalization of elections: a Democrat-led federal government working with leftist billionaires, Big Tech, and the activists they fund to influence and direct elections. 

Executive Order 14019, Thayer asserts, is the replacement for the “Zuckbucks” election grant machine. A majority of states have now banned private funding of election administration like the $400 million-plus Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg funneled into the 2020 elections. 

“They had to find a way around the bans, so they are using the federal government,” the researcher said. “There really isn’t any stone left unturned by the left in trying to abuse the powers they are in control of.” 

‘A Singular Force of Movement’ 

The “criminal caucus” was front of mind early on. As uncovered by the Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project, the Department of Justice held a “listening session” a few months after Biden signed his executive order, in which representatives from several nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) were at the table to talk through the implementation of what critics have labeled “Bidenbucks.” Curiously, not a single Republican or member of a right-of-center organization was in the room. 

“Every participant whose party affiliation or political donation history could be identified by the Oversight Project was identified as a Democrat except for one Green Party member,” a memo from the Oversight Project states. “This is concerning because the listening session was billed as ‘nonpartisan nonprofit organizations engaged in voting rights advocacy to provide their recommendations and thoughts on best practices.’” 

The Arab American Institute was there. So was Black Voters Matter. And the National Education Association, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, and the hypocritical arbiters of hate, the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

“The Listening Session’s first three speakers suggested actions to be taken to ensure the Bureau of Prisons facilitates the voter registrations and ballot access of prison inmates and provides information on restoration of felon voting rights,” the memo reports. “A speaker also espoused the extreme and ahistorical view that ‘felony disenfranchisement is voter suppression.’”

It’s all hands on deck for an extremely unpopular president and a troubled  Democrat Party this election year. It just might take every last felon — eligible or ineligible to vote — to drag Biden’s rapidly aging reelection prospects over the finish line. 

“We talk about making changes in the perspective of having a movement,” Cozine Welch, executive director of A Brighter Way, a left-leaning nonprofit that provides services to ex-cons, said in the Michigan Voting Access for All Coalition video. “If all those movements don’t get together and have a singular force of movement when it comes to voting, we’re just a bunch of disparate voices rumbling and not really getting anything done.” 

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