An effort championed by the Biden administration to have the federal government pay college students to register voters ahead of the 2024 election could have serious legal ramifications if it’s being done to aid President Biden’s “own re-election efforts,” according to some legal experts.

Vice President Kamala Harris announced an election initiative to boost voter turnout during a meeting with voting rights activists at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building this week.

“We have been doing work to promote voter participation for students, and, for example, we have, under the federal work study program, now allowed students to get paid through federal work study to register people and to be nonpartisan poll workers,” Harris said Tuesday. “As we know, this is important for a number of reasons.”

One reason for the effort, Harris said, is to “engage our young leaders” in the process and “activate them in terms of their ability to strengthen our community.”


Jason Snead, executive director of Honest Elections Project, told Fox News Digital the effort is being carried out by the Biden administration to “aid its own re-election efforts.”

“The Biden administration is weaponizing the federal government to aid its own re-election efforts. Using tax dollars to pay overwhelmingly liberal college students to register and turn out voters is only the latest scandal,” Snead said. 

“With Executive Order 14019, President Biden turned the entire federal government into a get-out-the-vote operation, and agencies are collaborating with left-wing nonprofit groups to get the job done.

“Using the levers of the federal government to aid an incumbent is an abuse of power and a threat to the democracy President Biden claims to cherish.”


Hans A. von Spakovsky is a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies who serves as manager of the think tank’s Election Law Reform Initiative. He told Fox News Digital the taxpayer-funded effort is an “outrageous abuse of power” by the Biden administration.

“This is the unauthorized use of taxpayer funds to get out the vote for the Biden campaign and Democratic candidates,” he said. “It is a violation of the Hatch Act as well as the Anti-Deficiency Act. It is an outrageous abuse of power.”

In a memo published Monday, the Department of Education clarified that federal work study funds could be used to support voter registration activities.

“The Department is today clarifying that FWS 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,” the memo stated.

Harris’ comments announcing the effort sparked backlash from some conservatives and Republican lawmakers on social media, including Tennessee Republican Sen. Bill Hagerty, who accused President Biden of supporting the move to “mobilize (his) voters” ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

“Biden signed EO14019 ordering federal govt to use taxpayer $ to mobilize (his) voters. [Stephen Miller] has FOIAed details, and I’ve sought them in Congress, but Biden is hiding them. Sounds like the election-year plan is underway,” Hagerty wrote in a Tuesday evening post to X.

In a statement to Fox, a spokesperson for Hagerty insisted the senator is “very concerned” the Biden administration is using government resources to “boost” its own re-election chances.

“Sen. Hagerty is very concerned that the Biden Administration is using government resources to target Democrat voter groups and boost its re-election chances,” the spokesperson said. “The administration continues to hide these taxpayer-funded voter mobilization plans despite his multiple requests for basic transparency.

“And now Vice President Harris says they are paying ‘nonpartisan poll workers’ — with her example being a left-wing partisan activist. If there’s nothing to hide, then the Biden administration should release the plans.”

In social media post Tuesday morning, Harris applauded poll workers for their efforts ahead of the 2024 presidential election. However, her complimentary remarks quickly backfired.

“Our democracy could not function without nonpartisan poll workers like Vasu and Rob whom I met in Georgia. President Biden and I thank you and we support you,” she wrote in a post on X, sharing a photo of her appearing to listen to Vasu Abhiraman.

X’s Community Notes immediately tagged the tweet with additional context that readers “might want to know,” that the supposed nonpartisan poll worker Abhiraman was actually a liberal advocate who promotes the progressive movement.

“The ‘nonpartisan poll worker’ on the left is Vasu Abhiraman, a staffer at the left-wing Alliance for Justice and formerly of ACLU Georgia,” said on Harris’ tweet.

Fox News Digital contacted the Biden administration seeking a response to the abuse of power allegations.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.