Top red state official demands answers on Biden executive order ‘attempting to register’ illegals to vote

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FIRST ON FOX: Mississippi’s Secretary of State has sent a letter to President Biden’s Department of Justice asking it to stop enforcing a Biden executive order that he warns is being used to attempt to register ineligible convicts and illegal immigrants to vote.

“As you are aware, on March 7, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order No. 14019 which sought to turn the Department of Justice agencies from their historical missions of law enforcement to voter registration and get out the vote operations,” Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson wrote in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland this week. 

“These efforts are an intrusion into state matters and are a misuse of federal revenue and resources. In addition, it appears that these efforts have led to agencies under your charge attempting to register people to vote, including potentially ineligible felons and to co-opt state and local officials into accomplishing this goal.”

The executive order in question was signed by Biden in 2021 and was billed as an attempt to combat racial discrimination and “protect the right to vote” and instructed government agencies “consider ways to expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote and to obtain information about, and participate in, the electoral process.”

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L – President Biden R – Voting booth (Getty Images)

In his letter, Watson outlines concerns that the executive order “forces the U.S. Marshals Service” to “modify agreements with jails” that require them “to provide voter registration materials and facilitate voting by mail.”

“According to the Marshals Service, they are modifying 936 contracts or intergovernmental agreements to require state and local government complicity in the potential registration of ineligible prisoners to vote,” the letter states. “It further requires the Department of Justice to facilitate voter registration and mail voting for individuals in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons.

“This program creates numerous opportunities for ineligible prisoners to be registered to vote in Mississippi.”

Watson told Fox News Digital that he is not confident the Biden administration is paying close attention to the voting status of the individuals involved.

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President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council in the Indian Treaty Room of the White House in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“Forgive me for not necessarily trusting the Biden administration but in Mississippi we’ve got rules and regulations dealing with who can vote when it comes to felons, there are disenfranchising crimes in our state and I don’t specifically think that the Biden administration cares crossing those T’s and dotting those I’s when it comes to making sure these folks can or can’t vote, they’re going to register them, including illegal aliens in custody so we’ve got major issues and that’s what led to writing this letter to Attorney General Garland,” Watson told Fox News Digital.

Watson’s letter explains that the program “provides prisoners with misleading information concerning their right to both register and vote in Mississippi – a right which they may not have.”

“For example, many of the people in the custody of the Marshals are convicted felons whom Mississippi law deems ineligible to vote. Additionally, many of those in custody only have fleeting ties to Mississippi and do not meet the residency requirements necessary to be a Mississippi voter,” the letter says.

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Joe Biden at border

President Joe Biden walks with U.S. Border Patrol agents along a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso Texas, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023.  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Watson wrote that Mississippi jails are being prompted to “work with other reliable sources of voter information to assist federal prisoners with voter registration, voting by mail, and notification of upcoming elections.” 

“We are unaware of any contact with our Office, which begs the question, which organizations are the Marshals using to accomplish this demand?” The letter asks. 

“Many outside groups performing voter registration and vote harvesting services are partisan entities with a history of being unreliable. There have been documented instances of these groups providing incorrect directions to voters. It is not proper for the Federal government to push partisan groups into the voting process in Mississippi or any other state.”

The letter specifically addresses concerns that illegal immigrants in the Mississippi prison system could potentially be registered to vote through this executive order if the program is not closely monitored.

“Our understanding is that everyone in the Marshals’ custody is given a form advising them of their right to register and vote,” the letter says. “Providing ineligible non-citizens with information on how to register to vote undoubtedly encourages them to illegally register to vote, exposing them to legal jeopardy beyond their immigration status.”

Watson’s letter says that it is “quite shocking” that the Biden administration would “expend tax dollars and vital law enforcement resources” on a program “that risks bloating state voter rolls with ineligible and non-citizen voters” during a time when millions of illegal immigrants have crossed the southern border.

Handcuffs restrain a suspected illegal immigrant caught with 230 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop north of Brownsville, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley.  (Photo by Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty Images)

Watson told Fox News Digital that this is an “urgent” matter with a presidential election just 8 months away.

If you look at what’s going on at the border when you’ve got so many illegal aliens pouring into our country, imagine the efforts used to get them to register to vote and that’s what this is all about,” Watson told Fox News Digital. “It’s about control, it’s about continuing their power, and unfortunately that puts our country in a terrible position, so it’s immediate and it’s something where we hope they will respect our request to stop the program.”

“The information we want to see is which prisons they’re working in in Mississippi, we’ve asked them to prove to us the documentation, what exactly are you doing in our prisons? We want to make sure we understand which prisoners you’ve been talking to, so we can understand whether or not they’re eligible to vote and I think it’s incumbent upon all of the states to take this notice up and to push back as hard as we can because with this election coming up in November it is incredibly important to the future of our country. What we have left of it.”

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Voters in Michigan

Voters fill out their ballots at a school gymnasium  (John Moore/Getty Images)

Honest Elections Project Executive Director Jason Snead told Fox News Digital he applauds Watson’s letter warning about a program that “puts election integrity and voter confidence at risk” for “political gain.”

“The Biden Administration is aggressively pursuing a partisan get-out-the-vote scheme using taxpayer dollars,” Snead said. “Nothing is off the table, from using law enforcement resources to potentially register ineligible voters and even non-citizens, to the recent announcement that the administration will use taxpayer dollars to pay students to coordinate with left-wing organizations and mobilize youth voters.”

Fox News Digital reached out to the White House and Department of Justice for comment but did not receive a response.

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