Other presidents have symbolically supported voter registration. Presidents Kennedy and Clinton signed executive orders (EO) surrounding legislation addressing voter registration. In 1963, President Kennedy signed, and President Johnson later extended, an EO established a commission on …show more content…
The NVRA states “The Congress finds that— (1) the right of citizens of the United States to vote is a fundamental right; (2) it is the duty of the Federal, State, and local governments to promote the exercise of that right.“ Practically, the Hatch Act and the Penal Code limits White House engagement, and the Tax Code limits their partners.
A. Hatch Act.
The Hatch Act does not prevent the White House from engaging in non-partisan voter registration. The Hatch Act explicitly exempts the President and the Vice President. Precedent and politics could limit the President’s legal ability to engage in partisan activities. For example, President Clinton self-imposed the Hatch Act’s limitation on using federal funds for political activities and installed a campaign-only fax machine in the White House.
The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from using their authority to influence political activity. It does permits federal employees engagement in non-partisan voter registration. The Act states:
“an employee may take an active part in political management or in political campaigns, except an employee may not—(1) use his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an …show more content…
Political activity is any activity that targets success or failure of a political party, a candidate for partisan political office, or a partisan political group. The Act does not bar all political activity, but the use of the disjunctive operator “or” suggests congress’s intent is to be more inclusive of questionable activity.
Improper voter registration would violate the provisions barring 1) a federal employee from using their official authority to interfere or to influence an election and 2) the act of knowingly soliciting or discouraging participation in political activity. There is no record of an improper partisan voter registration Hatch Act violation, but in O’Connor the court discusses permissible and prohibited voter registration activity. In O’Connor, American Federation of Federal Employee (AFFE) solicited advice from the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) as to whether it could conduct a non-partisan voter registration drive, after it endorsed a candidate. OSC declared in an advisory opinion that voter registration drives conducted or sponsored by unions were