Senate Dems call for an update on improvements

Voters cast their ballots at a polling location setup at Winnacunnet High School on January 23, 2024 in Hampton, N.H.

Voters cast their ballots at a polling location setup at Winnacunnet High School on January 23, 2024 in Hampton, N.H. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

More than a dozen Democratic senators signed a letter to the General Services Administration asking for an update on the agency’s work to modernize the government’s voting information platform.

A coalition of Senate Democrats want the General Services Administration to provide an update on the agency’s effort to modernize, the federal government’s online platform for voting and voter registration information. 

In a Feb. 20 letter to GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan, 13 lawmakers — including Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii — applauded the steps the agency has taken so far to improve voter registration access but wrote that “we want to underscore the urgency and significance of swiftly continuing this progress and urge the GSA to promptly implement needed changes to” 

The website provides online resources to help Americans register to vote, check their voter registration statuses and access additional voting and election resources. The lawmakers called these services “essential to the one in four eligible voters who are not registered to vote.”

President Joe Biden’s March 2021 executive order on promoting access to voting included a section calling on GSA to modernize and improve users’ experience with the website. The letter highlighted that the order called for the platform to be accessible for disabled voters and those who speak non-English languages, as well as “fully usable as an online experience.”

The lawmakers commended GSA “for its efforts to promote voter registration and voting information access,” which they noted has already included translating voter information resources into 16 non-English languages. 

A separate section of the executive order requires federal agencies to "consider ways to expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote and to obtain information about, and participate in, the electoral process." Lawmakers noted that many state-level laws restrict same-day voter registration and voting by mail, expressing broader concerns that “voters continue to face challenges to access their fundamental right to vote.”

The senators requested that, by March 1, GSA provide them with a completed outline of its implementation plan to comply with Biden’s order, a status update on the site’s modernization initiative and a target date for when the agency “expects the implementation and modernization to be substantially complete.”