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The federal push for massive mail-in prison voting

A federal effort to register voters using the government’s vast reach, including throughout the U.S. prison system, is raising concerns from critics who have said it won’t benefit Democrats and Republicans equally.

Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson wrote to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on March 6 alleging that agencies under the attorney general’s charge are “attempting to register people to vote, including potentially ineligible felons, and to co-opt state and local officials into accomplishing this goal.”

The allegation relates to President Joe Biden’s Executive Order 14019, which states, “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.”

Among other things, this order has forced U.S. Marshals to modify more than 900 contracts with prisons and jails to provide voter registration documents and facilitate mail-in voting for inmates, Mr. Watson wrote.

“We have worked extremely hard to restore the confidence of Mississippi voters in our election process,” Mr. Watson told The Epoch Times. “To have the Biden administration and the DOJ purposefully undermine these efforts and jeopardize the integrity of Mississippi’s elections is unacceptable.”

The secretary of state is the chief election officer in Mississippi.

The work by the Department of Justice to register voters in prisons, critics say, is just the tip of the iceberg.

Other agencies, including the Department of Education, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, are also carrying out campaigns to sign up new voters.

On Feb. 26, Vice President Kamala Harris lauded a federal plan to use work-study grants to pay students to register voters.

In addition, President Biden’s executive order directed federal agencies to select “approved, nonpartisan third-party organizations and state officials to provide voter registration services on agency premises.”

President Biden’s executive order was called “visionary“ by Ceridwen Cherry, a former staff attorney on the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Voting Rights Project, who said, ”In a democracy, governments at all levels should be doing everything they can to help eligible people register to vote.”

However, critics say elections are under the purview of states, not the federal government.

“The reason it’s such a big problem is that, with the president, it’s only one political party that’s in power,” Stewart Whitson, legal director of the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), a conservative think-tank, told The Epoch Times.

“If you allow the president to be the one to decide where all these massive resources are channeled, that’s problematic,” he said, adding that this is why the Founders gave election authority to states and not to the federal executive.

Implementation Questions

The plan has been called “Bidenbucks” by some of its detractors, referencing the injection into state election programs of $400 million in 2020 from Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, dubbed “Zuckerbucks.”

“This is Zuckerbucks on steroids because instead of $400 million, it’s unlimited funding and resources and the reach of the federal government and all its offices located across the country,” Mr. Whitson said.

President Biden’s executive order includes the directive for federal agencies to find ways to distribute “vote-by-mail ballot application forms” as well as assist applicants in completing the application “in a manner consistent with all relevant State laws.”

Read the full story at TheEpochTimes | reprinted with permission | by Kevin Stocklin

Photo collage images: Michael Coghlan, flikr, CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic. Button: Steve Rainwater, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

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