Protecting elections and securing safe voting access for all during this pandemic is vital to defending our democracy and the integrity of our electoral process. We've never missed an election, even during the Civil War. We are determined to make sure our elections move forward as planned, but with options and precautions to ensure voting is safe, secure and hygienic.
That is why Fix Democracy First has joined the Protect Our Vote: Defending Democracy During COVID-19 campaign in coalition with Declaration for American Democracy (DFAD), which is made up of over 160 state and national organizations dedicated to making sure our elections are protected during this unprecedented situation. and strongly encourage other groups to join as well.
Here are the election policies we are recommending that should be in place in time for the November 2020 general election.
- No-excuse absentee balloting, permitting millions to easily avoid a trip to the polls.
- Early in-person voting, allowing people to avoid potentially long lines on Election Day.
- Online applications to vote absentee, meaning no special trips to print and deliver forms.
- Online voter registration, for the same reason.
- ID-free absentee voting, lowering hurdles for those without drivers' licenses or other government identification.
- Witness-free absentee ballots, so solitary or ill people don't need to get close to someone willing to countersign their forms.
- Postage-paid return envelopes, eliminating the main expense and inconvenience of voting by mail.
- Counting ballots postmarked by Election Day, even if the mail delays their delivery as long as a week afterward.
- Informing voters immediately if they've cast invaild absentee ballots and giving them a chance to fix the problem.
- Registration and voting on Election Day, so those focused on economic or family troubles until the last minute could still cast a ballot.
- Voting centers on Election Day, for those who may not find their home precinct most convenient.
COSTS: It's estimated that about $4 billion will be needed to accomplish these changes in time for the November general election. We encourage everyone to put pressure on their legislators to get this funding and reforms in the next relief package.
Current Legislation: There's a Senate bill from Klobucher and Wyden, called the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act, but it really doesn't go far enough. The House is also working on a bill, but we are still waiting to see the language, but believe it will be much stronger.