FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
California Secretary of State Padilla: “Any funding is welcome,
but this is not nearly enough to ensure safe and healthy
elections in 2020”
The Democratic Association Secretaries of State today released the following statement regarding the $400 million in election funding included in the COVID-19 stimulus package:
“The State of our nation is anxious. Americans are reeling from the constantly evolving public health threat posed by COVID-19. Meanwhile, state and local elections officials are working hard to administer the remaining primary elections while we all prepare for the November General Election. The challenges posed by this health pandemic is just the latest reminder that we must all work to protect our democracy by providing free and fair elections in a way that is both accessible and safe. We can and will honor the right to vote while maintaining public health and safety for all voters, poll workers, and elections personnel.
We welcome the $400 million included in the stimulus package, but to be frank, it is not nearly enough. As proposed by Speaker Pelosi and voting rightsadvocates, an estimated $2 billion is needed to provide all voters a no-excuse vote by mail option, early voting opportunities, and access to online voter registration.
We recognize that each state administers their elections a little differently and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, maintaining free, fair, and safe elections begins with each state adopting specific plans to allow voters to vote-by-mail without needing a specific excuse and to allow each voter the option to vote early, in-person, for a full 20 days before Election Day. Expanding the days and hours for voting will reduce lines, crowding, and wait times, keeping us healthier in the process.
Once again Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell have stood in the way of these critical election reforms. If these policies were in place today, the bedrock of American democracy would be much better positioned against cyber threats, foreign interference, and the current health pandemic. We call on Mitch McConnell to bring up for a vote — and for President Trump to sign into law — the proposals brought forward by Senators Wyden and Klobechar, Speaker Pelosi, and Representative Lofgren.
The November General Election is seven months away, so we must act with urgency. Our democracy — and the American people — deserves nothing less.