Tag Archive for: joe biden. native americans. voting

Biden Admin Weighed Using ‘School Children’ To Help Register Dem-Leaning Voters, Emails Show

The Biden administration sought taxpayer funding for a program that would use school children to provide voter registration materials to Native Americans, according to emails obtained by Protect the Public’s Trust and shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Department of the Interior (DOI) officials in 2022 developed a plan that would have given Native American children attending Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools voter registration materials to bring home to their parents, internal emails show. Native Americans strongly preferred Democratic House candidates that year, with 56% saying they would cast their ballot for a Democrat compared to the 40% who said they’d vote Republican, according to a poll conducted by the African American Research Collaborative shortly before the midterm elections.

“Department leadership is proposing having BEI send home voter registration cards with students to give to their parents,” BIE team lead Jennifer Wiginton wrote in a February 2022 email.

BIE’s proposed native voter registration plan, according to DOI attorney-advisor Joshua Berg, was formulated to comply with Executive Order 14019, which President Joe Biden issued in March 2021. The order compelled the heads of federal agencies to “evaluate ways in which the agency can, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, promote voter registration and voter participation.”

Berg went into greater detail regarding the proposed voter registration operation, writing in March 2022 that he and his colleagues had “developed a plan to distribute voter registration applications at BIE schools so that school children [could] bring home voter registration applications to their parents and/or guardians.” Under Berg’s plan, the federal government would also have provided “return envelopes with pre-paid postage so that parents and/or guardians [could] mail in their completed voter registration applications directly to the corresponding elections office in their state.”

The BIE, which is a division of the DOI, funds a network of 183 elementary and secondary schools spread across 64 Indian reservations in 23 states, according to the agency’s website. These schools, 53 of which are directly administered by the agency and 130 of which are tribally operated, serve roughly 46,000 Native American students.

Berg contacted DOI Deputy Assistant Secretary Eric Werwa on March 2 seeking to schedule a call so that the two could discuss funding for the BEI school voter registration initiative, emails show. On March 22, Wiginton and Brian Quint, a DOI attorney-advisor, were sent a link to a meeting with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) where taxpayer funding for the BIE’s “voting rights” initiatives was to be discussed.

However, a DOI spokesperson told the DCNF that “there was no program to distribute voter registration materials to children attending BIE schools.”

“It’s disgraceful that BIE would even consider diverting resources that could be used to increase student achievement, especially among a population of students that has already fallen behind,” Protect the Public’s Trust director Michael Chamberlain told the DCNF.

Additionally, DOI employees maintained a list of states paired with information related to voting in those states, according to the documents obtained by Protect the Public’s Trust. The states included were New Mexico, Arizona, South Dakota, Montana and Kansas.

Of states appearing on the circulated list, New Mexico had a toss-up House race with a Republican incumbent, Arizona had contentious Senate and state-wide races and Kansas had a governor’s race where the Democratic incumbent narrowly retained office.

“What a coincidence that there is such strong overlap between the states BIE apparently chose to target and those Democrats see Native American turnout as important to their chances of electoral success,” Chamberlain said. “These records show that the worst fears of those who believed this order would be used to help the President and his party were justified.”

Democratic organizations have long looked to Native Americans as a way to shore up their electoral prospects in 2024.

Montana Democrats launched a $1 million campaign to turn out Native Americans to support incumbent Sen. Jon Tester in November’s election, Politico reported. The Democratic National Committee in June, meanwhile, announced it would be investing money into Native American voter participation in South Dakota, according to ABC News.

“American Indian voters have arguably been the deciding factor in recent elections,” Alexander Castillo-Nunez, the civic engagement coordinator at the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, a nonprofit representing 20 tribes in Arizona, said to NPR. Strong turnout among Native Americans in Arizona contributed to Biden’s victory in the state during the 2020 presidential election, the Associated Press reported.

“What they have done is weaponize all federal agencies on behalf of President Biden’s reelection campaign,” Republican Wisconsin Rep. Bryan Steil, chair of the House Administration Committee, said in May of Biden’s voter registration executive order. “As we see the actions taken by this administration to leverage taxpayer dollars for political purposes, that should be concerning to all citizens.”

The House Oversight and Accountability Committee announced a probe of the executive order’s constitutionality in May, with lawmakers voicing “concerns about the lack of constitutional and statutory authority for federal agencies to engage in any activity outside the agency’s authorized mission, including federal voting access and registration activities.”




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