From The Office of
WV Secretary of State
Mac Warner
For Immediate Release:

April 10, 2024
West Virginia and Mississippi Lead Opposition
to Federal Overreach Targeting 2024 Elections;

"The White House has no authority to register West Virginia voters, and we will not accept applications illegally gathered by Federal agents," says WV Secretary of State Mac Warner
Charleston, W. Va. After a frustrating and convoluted conference call last week between the White House and secretaries of state, WV Secretary of State Mac Warner has doubled down on his staunch opposition to the latest attempt by the Federal Government to take over voter registration processes from states. 

In March of 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14019 (the “EO”), which improperly claims, “it is the responsibility of the Federal Government to expand access to, and education about, voter registration and election information[.]” It goes on to require every Federal agency head to design plans related to voter registration, ensure access to certain incarcerated individuals in Federal custody, and design a ballot tracking system for absentee voters under UOCAVA. There is no such responsibility enumerated in the U.S. Constitution, and the 10th Amendment clearly states that powers not expressly given to the Federal Government by the Constitution are reserved to the states.

After waiting a year for the White House to explain the EO’s legality and implementation, Secretary Warner led a coalition of 14 other secretaries of state and sent a letter to the White House calling on the President to rescind his unconstitutional directive.

“Article 1 Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution says the times, places, and manner of holding elections, shall be left to the state legislatures,” said Secretary Warner. “West Virginia will emphatically not give up our State’s duty to register voters in a nonpartisan manner to the Federal Government, nor will we accept voter registration forms collected by Federal agents. White House overtaking of State responsibilities is something we will fight all the way to the Supreme Court,” Warner promised.

Warner added, “In addition, Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act says States – not the Federal Government – shall offer voter registration opportunities. The White House knows they are prohibited from self-assuming power over the States' voter registration processes. Biden's EO is Federal overreach. This Executive Order is nothing more than another attempt by the White House to take away States’ powers, federalize our elections, and turn voter registration into a partisan activity. Voter registration should be an apolitical service by individual States.”

The coalition of States objecting to the EO waited nearly two years and heard nothing from the White House. That changed last week when the country’s chief election officials were notified on a call with the White House that they are implementing voter registration-related policies. Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson was on that call. In his op-ed released today, Secretary Watson states, “I then had the chance to ask a White House official about the plans submitted by each agency to carry out the illegal executive order. I was told those plans are not public, and they never intended for them to be public. So much for transparency.”

The White House did not consult with state election officials in the development of the policies and plans to implement the EO, nor did the White House explain the need to deploy substantial Federal resources to enact their plans during a presidential election cycle.

“I take great issue with the White House in that they did not consult State election officials before ordering Federal agencies to develop and deploy plans on how to engage in voter registration activities in our respective States,” Warner said. “Now they expect us to voluntarily give up our constitutional duty to register voters in the manners that States’ legislatures prescribe.”

“What’s even more disgusting is the timing of these announcements. Biden issued his EO three years ago in 2021, and they have been working behind closed doors until now. Their lack of transparency and coordination is abhorrent. Now that it is an election year, they roll out their plan to make over 600 Federal agencies voter registration centers and try to do so without explanation or legal justification. This is Biden's attempt to improperly influence the outcome of the November General Election,” Warner said. “The timing of the White House rollout is not coincidental. It is blatant election interference. West Virginia will not stand for this.”

Warner continued, “The vague plans announced by the Biden Administration will duplicate the excellent work our county clerks do on a daily basis. They will also exacerbate issues like disenfranchisement, voter rolls bloated with duplicate registrations, voter confusion, delays in local processing, and separation of powers. Adding Federal agencies to an already complex administrative process will make it even more challenging for election officials to ensure timely and accurate registration services before the election."

Media Contact:
Michael Queen
Deputy Chief of Staff
& Director of Communications