Democratic Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Twitter targets coronavirus misinformation | Facebook bans sanitizer, virus test ads to prevent price gouging | DHS defines critical jobs during outbreak | Remote working apps surge Senators urge FCC to ensure all students have access to internet during school closures Hillicon Valley: Facebook launches portal for coronavirus information | EU sees spike in Russian misinformation on outbreak | Senate Dem bill would encourage mail-in voting | Lawmakers question safety of Google virus website MORE (Minn.) and Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsDemocrats press Pompeo to help Americans stranded abroad amid coronavirus Cash assistance for Americans gains steam as coronavirus roils economy Senators balance coronavirus action with risks to health MORE (Del.) urged the leaders of the House and Senate on Friday to include election security funding in an upcoming coronavirus funding package.
“As Congress prepares additional legislation to protect the American people from COVID-19 and provide financial relief, we also must protect our elections,” Klobuchar and Coons wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocratic leaders criticize GOP stimulus bill as too pro-business Walmart to give cash, early bonuses to hourly employees amid coronavirus outbreak GOP senators raise concerns over smaller checks for lower earners MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocratic leaders criticize GOP stimulus bill as too pro-business Stimulus plan hinges on McConnell, Schumer repairing toxic relationship Democrats call for pollution reduction requirements in any aid for airlines, cruises MORE (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocratic leaders criticize GOP stimulus bill as too pro-business House Democrats eyeing much broader Phase 3 stimulus Frustration mounts at Trump’s reluctance to use emergency production powers MORE (D-Calif.), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOvernight Energy: Trump prepares to buy 30M barrels of oil amid industry slump | Coronavirus offers reprieve from air pollution | Energy regulators split on delaying actions amid outbreak Congress tiptoes toward remote voting Photo of Trump’s notes shows ‘Chinese’ virus written over ‘coronavirus’ MORE (R-Calif.).
“Americans are facing unprecedented disruptions to their daily lives, and we need to make sure that in the midst of this pandemic people do not lose their ability to vote,” the senators emphasized.
Klobuchar, the lead Democrat on the elections-focused Senate Rules Committee, and Coons highlighted a report released by New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice that called on Congress to appropriate around $2 billion to states to allow the November elections to go forward following the coronavirus pandemic.
The senators noted that this amount would be around 0.2 percent of the more than $1 trillion supplemental appropriations package that Congress is considering to provide aid to Americans and businesses in the midst of the national crisis caused by the spread of coronavirus.
The money would be used to fund printing mail-in ballots, purchasing cleaning supplies for polling sites, and recruiting and training election workers.
Klobuchar and Coons, along with over a dozen other Senate Democrats, introduced a bill earlier this week to allow for Americans to have access to mail-in ballots and boost absentee voting, along with other measures designed to allow the November elections to go forward.
A companion House bill was introduced earlier this month by Democratic Reps. Suzan DelBeneSuzan Kay DelBeneVote at home saves our democracy and saves lives Mnuchin: Trump to prioritize infrastructure in any coronavirus stimulus package Congressional authority in a time of Trump executive overreach MORE (Wash.), Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerVote at home saves our democracy and saves lives House committee advances medical marijuana bills for veterans Mnuchin: Trump to prioritize infrastructure in any coronavirus stimulus package MORE (Ore.), and Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinVote at home saves our democracy and saves lives Oversight Democrats question DHS on plan for possible coronavirus outbreak in detention facilities Progressive group leader describes why Warren would be better than Sanders MORE (Md.).
The senators cited this bill in pointing to concerns over recent primaries that saw lower in-person turnouts in Florida, Illinois and Arizona in citing the need to move quickly to provide states with funding to shift elections to allow all Americans to vote without fear of catching the coronavirus.
“Protecting the right to vote is critical – and we can’t let this crisis stop Americans from being heard at the ballot box,” the senators wrote. “Americans cast ballots during the Civil War and after September 11, 2001. No matter the magnitude of the threat facing our country, the most fundamental part of our democracy – our elections – must go on.”