Executive Order on Promoting Access to Voting

From the White House – March 7, 2021

Visit whitehouse.gov for this expansive Executive Order, from President Joe Biden, on voting access. The order addresses all aspects of voting, from registration to voting, and considers all barriers.

Below is the beginning of Section 1: Purpose, and Section 7: Ensuring Access for Voters with Disabilities

Section 1.  Purpose.  The right to vote is the foundation of American democracy. Free and fair elections that reflect the will of the American people must be protected and defended. But many Americans, especially people of color, confront significant obstacles to exercising that fundamental right. These obstacles include difficulties with voter registration, lack of election information, and barriers to access at polling places. For generations, Black voters and other voters of color have faced discriminatory policies and other obstacles that disproportionally affect their communities. These voters remain more likely to face long lines at the polls and are disproportionately burdened by voter identification laws and limited opportunities to vote by mail. Limited access to language assistance remains a barrier for many voters. People with disabilities continue to face barriers to voting and are denied legally required accommodations in exercising their fundamental rights and the ability to vote privately and independently. Members of our military serving overseas, as well as other American citizens living abroad, also face challenges to exercising their fundamental right to vote.

 Sec. 7.  Ensuring Equal Access for Voters with Disabilities.  Within 270 days of the date of this order, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) within the Department of Commerce shall evaluate the steps needed to ensure that the online Federal Voter Registration Form is accessible to people with disabilities.  During that period, NIST, in consultation with the Department of Justice, the Election Assistance Commission, and other agencies, as appropriate, shall also analyze barriers to private and independent voting for people with disabilities, including access to voter registration, voting technology, voting by mail, polling locations, and poll worker training.  By the end of the 270-day period, NIST shall publish recommendations regarding both the Federal Voter Registration Form and the other barriers it has identified.