Federal Agencies Mobilize to Increase Voter Turnout in Hawaii

Joe Biden has an ace up his sleeve. 

Without a doubt, the president is the weakest incumbent in modern history. No matter: He’s using the strength of the federal government to register and mobilize voters who are likely to support his re-election.

It’s an unprecedented effort, unwittingly funded by taxpayers, and it may even overcome the factors that could otherwise doom Biden’s electoral prospects, from his extreme age to his disastrous policies.

Biden began building this whole-of-government campaign almost immediately after taking office.

In March 2021, he issued an executive order, entitled “Promoting Access to Voting,” that directed every federal agency to “expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote” and “participate” in “the electoral process.”

Yet such actions are inherently political and have long been understood to be inappropriate if not illegal.

A partisan president could unfairly use taxpayer resources to influence voters and tip electoral scales in his favor by urging only those likely to back him to vote.

That’s exactly what’s happening.

In a February meeting with left-wing groups, Vice President Kamala Harris announced a slew of actions from federal agencies.

The Department of Health and Human Services is sending voter registration information to every enrollee in Healthcare.gov.

That’s more than 21 million people who may be more likely to vote for Biden after he expanded taxpayer subsidies. 

The Social Security Administration is posting voter-registration signs in the lobbies of its 1,200-plus offices nationwide, targeting seniors after Biden’s repeated warnings that the safety net is under threat.

The Department of the Interior is doing the same at visitor centers and entrances for national parks and wildlife refuges, as well as other federal public lands.

As Harris noted, “these sites received more than 500 million visits last year” — a rich source of potential votes for Biden-Harris.

The vice president separately announced that, under the federal work-study program, college students can now get paid to register voters.

That followed the Department of Education’s February guidance that the program could even fund “get-out-the-vote activities.”

The department has also launched a “toolkit” to help colleges and universities get students to vote, many of whom no doubt appreciate the president’s student-loan cancellation.

At the high-school level, the Education Department has developed “strategies” to remind millions of students — many newly eligible to vote — about their “civic opportunities and responsibilities.”

At both the high-school and college levels, these activities play to a predominantly liberal crowd.

The list goes on.

The Department of Agriculture is pushing states to include voter registration information, including a “quick guide to voting,” in child-nutrition programs — some of which the Biden administration has expanded.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has promised to work with more than 3,000 public-housing authorities to register voters, potentially reaching up to 1.2 million housing units.

HUD is also working to expand voting among homeless people.

The Indian Health Service is doing something similar with its patients.

By contrast, you’re not likely to see “remember to vote” flyers from the government at, say, gun shows, school-choice or pro-life meetings.

What’s publicly known is concerning, yet taxpayers should worry that more remains hidden.

In 2022, the Department of Justice largely ignored a Freedom of Information Act request from our organization for information on its voting-related activities under Biden’s executive order.

Justice essentially refused to comply with a federal court order to furnish the proper documents.

While many federal agencies have released brief overviews of their actions, the full extent of Biden’s campaign is known only to his administration — but not the taxpayers who fund it.

The partisan nature of these efforts is clear when you look at who supports them.

The administration’s overarching plan bears many similarities to a 2020 proposal from the left-wing group Demos, and through FOIA requests, our organization discovered a 2021 closed-door meeting where activist groups coached federal agencies on implementing the executive order. 

Last year, 53 liberal groups authored a “progress report” praising departments like Veterans Affairs and Treasury for targeting veterans and low-income people, respectively, while calling on agencies like the Bureau of Prisons and US Citizenship and Immigrations Services to do more with inmates and newly naturalized citizens.

Groups like Demos and the American Civil Liberties Union are even helping federal agencies carry out their plans, increasing the likelihood that potentially pro-Biden voters are being targeted.

Biden’s actions are a quintessential abuse of power.

He’s secretly forcing taxpayers to fund his re-election, using federal agencies to register and turn out targeted groups of voters.

Republican state lawmakers and attorneys general should sue to stop this scheme, as some already have, while Congress should defund it. 

Biden is setting a dangerous and anti-democratic precedent, and there’s nothing to stop future presidents from following it.

That includes Donald Trump, but then again, he may not have the chance.

After all, Biden is playing this card to prevent his rival from winning in November.

Tarren Bragdon is president and Stewart Whitson federal affairs director at the Foundation for Government Accountability.

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