Secretary of State concerned about federal overreach of elections related Executive Order
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Voter registration is a hot topic, especially ahead of major election years.
Michael Watson is one of fifteen Secretaries of State that signed onto this letter to the President. They all want him to cancel his Executive Order that directs federal agencies to expand access to voter registration and election information. It’s the what ifs that have Watson worried.
”In and of itself, the idea of expanding access to voter registration is not a bad thing,” said Secretary Michael Watson.
But Secretary of State Michael Watson’s concerns about the federal government getting involved in voter registration efforts are two-fold.
“If you look at the Constitutional provisions, the job is left to the states to do that,” he said. “And so we see this as federal overreach.”
And he’s worried the feds calling the shots could open the door to problems.
“If I got a third party group coming in, the decision is being made at the executive level by Susan Rice,” Watson noted. “Perhaps she locates these voter registration drives in places where they know it’s going to benefit the current administration. I’m not saying they’re going to do that. But when you look at history, and we look at some things that have been done, you should probably question that just a little bit. And that’s where our concern really is.”
Meanwhile, Mississippi Votes welcomes any help in voter education efforts.
“In reality, what the federal government is encouraging states to do is something that Secretary of States across the nation should be doing already,” said Mississippi Votes Research Associate Jarrius Adams. “This Executive Order does two things. It ensures that we’re getting information to communities who haven’t been getting information about voting and also it’s making sure that they’re registered and they are able to register. It’s not forcing registration on anyone.”
And he questions the motive.
“It’s very clear that, you know, this is a political push,“ said Adams. “If this was not maybe a Democratic president. If it was someone who aligned with their party...I think the conversation would be different.”
Of note, this executive order the Secretaries of State wanted rescinded was signed by the President in March of last year.
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