‘Politically Weaponized’: Republicans Criticize Federally Funded Plan to have Students Register Voters

Students registering to vote
by Kate Roberson


Republican leaders are responding with skepticism to the Biden administration’s plans to hire students to register voters and work in polling places.

New Department of Education guidance states Federal Work-Study funds “may be used for employment by a Federal, State, local, or Tribal public agency for civic engagement work that is not associated with a particular interest or group.”

Students may be hired for “broad-based get-out-the-vote activities, voter registration, providing voter assistance at a polling place or through a voter hotline, or serving as a poll worker,” according to the memo.

But the plan has raised concerns about partisanship in voter registration.

College Republicans National Chairman Courtney Britt told The College Fix in an email last week the plan seems to benefit one political party over another because the focus is on a specific demographic: college students.

“Paying students through the Federal Work-Study program to register voters might sound like just encouraging civic engagement,” Britt said, “but depending on the design and execution of such a program, I think it’s ripe to be politically weaponized.”

Vice President Kamala Harris described the plan for the work-study program during a Feb. 27 speech about voting rights.

“We have been doing work to promote voter participation for students,” Harris said, according to a White House transcript. “And, for example, we have — under the federal work-study program, now allow students to get paid, through federal work-study, to register people and to be nonpartisan poll workers.”

The plan also has received criticism from U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, the Republican chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

“It’s about as crooked as it gets,” Foxx told The Fix in a recent email. “Every time I think this administration can’t stoop any lower, I’m proven wrong.”

The North Carolina congresswoman tied the program to the upcoming presidential election.

“President Biden is underwater with voters, and he knows it,” she told The Fix. “That’s why he’s resorted to misusing the Federal Work-Study program to turn out new voters for his own personal gain.”

Foxx also criticized the plan in a speech on the House floor earlier this month, calling it “a vote-buying sweepstakes.”

However, DOE Office of Postsecondary Education leader Nasser Paydar stated in the February memo that the program supports “institutions in their efforts to raise civic awareness and involvement among students through the appropriate employment” of work-study students.

“Postsecondary institutions play a critical role in supporting our democratic process and ensuring that all students have access to resources to engage in our electoral process,” Paydar stated.

The Fix also contacted the College Democrats for comment twice in the past two weeks but did not receive a response.

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Kate Roberson – Empire State College.
Photo “Students Registering to vote” by HeadCount.



Appeared at and reprinted from TheCollegeFix.com


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