The right to vote is the foundation of our democracy—it defines us as Americans and serves as the cornerstone of our freedom. Anything is possible in America; without her there is nothing. It is a legacy passed down by our greatest leaders – a legacy that gives each of us a voice in creating a better nation. It is the source of our power as citizens, our most powerful tool of social transformation, and the stabilizing tradition that gives legitimacy to our system of government. Each year on National Voter Registration Day, we reaffirm our belief that democracy only works when everyone can participate, and we encourage all eligible Americans to register to vote.
Our nation has not always lived up to its promise of equal access to the right to vote, and so many Americans have fought, suffered and died to have a say in the fate of our country. From Seneca Falls, New York, to Selma, Alabama, to Washington, DC — and across America — ordinary people have organized to protest disenfranchisement and won. The efforts of these courageous women and men have led to the passing of landmark civil rights laws like the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act, and the Help America Vote Act that have extended the blessings of democracy to millions of citizens. More recently, however, these protections have been weakened by rulings by the United States Supreme Court. Now state legislatures are passing new forms of voting restrictions to limit participation and decide whose vote can even count. As the late Assemblyman John Lewis, an icon of the struggle for the right to vote, would say: “Democracy is not a state; it is an act.” Our founding fathers understood this, as did the suffragists at the National Women’s Rights Convention of 1848, the other giants of the civil rights movement, and today’s activists fighting for a freer, fairer, and more accessible electoral system. Just as securing and protecting voting rights was the test of its time, so it remains the challenge of our time.
As President, I will do everything in my power to protect the right to vote and ensure that every American has a free and fair opportunity to exercise this fundamental freedom. This means appointing highly qualified attorneys to the Justice Department and doubling the agency’s voting enforcement staff to ensure the Department has the resources to fight voter suppression in court. It also means issuing an executive order to launch a state-wide effort to promote access to voter registration and voting information, particularly in some of our most underserved communities. I have directed my government to take historic action to help college students and veterans register effectively. I continue to urge Congress to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. These laws would tackle electoral subversion, remove black money from politics, end partisan manipulation, and close the gaping holes in voter access left by the US Supreme Court. They would also allow the Justice Department to stop discriminatory laws before they go into effect.
In celebration of National Voter Registration Day, let’s honor the heroes who fought to secure and expand voting rights. I urge all eligible Americans to ensure their registration is up to date and to encourage their family, neighbors and friends to do the same. Let us all continue to fight with passion to build an America where every voice counts and where every citizen has the opportunity and right to participate freely in the democratic process. We must not give up now. The future of our nation depends on it. To learn more about registering or verifying your voter registration information, you can visit vote.gov.
THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority bestowed upon me by the United States Constitution and laws, hereby declare September 20, 2022 as National Voter Registration Day. I urge all eligible Americans to commemorate this day by making sure they are properly registered and making a commitment to vote in the upcoming election.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have laid my hand upon this nineteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand and twenty-two and of the independence of the United States of America on the two hundred and forty-seventh.
JOSEPH R BIDEN JR