Voter Participation Center on COVID-19‘s Impact on Voting, Need to Invest in Vote By Mail
As COVID-19 continues to impact voting, and elected leaders make additional calls for investments in vote by mail, Page Gardner, founder and board chair of the Voter Participation Center, released the following statement today. The Voter Participation Center and its partner organization, the Center for Voter Information, run the nation’s largest mail-based voter registration and turnout programs, and work to help members of the Rising American Electorate - young people, unmarried women and people of color - register and vote. This month, the organizations are sending nearly 12 million pieces of registration mail to prospective voters in 20 states.
Coronavirus pandemic's impact on voting
“We are pleased to see additional calls, including by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week, for robust funding to increase voter participation amid the COVID-19 crisis, but there is more work to do. With this pandemic impacting 2020 elections across the country, the ability to vote by mail is more important than ever. To ensure strong voter participation, everyone should have the ability to request a vote-by-mail or absentee ballot.
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"While we are deeply concerned about the coronavirus and the need to keep voters safe, we are equally worried about communicating with voters regarding any changes that could disrupt voting in many states. These changes could leave historically disadvantaged voters on the sidelines of our democracy and fundamentally weaken America’s system of democracy. We strongly encourage every state to offer an accessible mail-in voting option, but also to provide safe ways for voters to participate in primary and general elections in person. That will mean spending more resources to ensure safety at the polls, and to eliminate the long lines at polling locations.
Additional Funding For The U.S. Postal Service
“It's vital that the U.S. Postal Service also receives additional funding to ensure that every ballot is delivered expeditiously, and counted. Any lack of funding will threaten the very fundamentals of our democracy and further disenfranchise the Rising American Electorate, a critical voting bloc of unmarried women, people of color and young people. Mail is a nearly universal tool we can use to reach people at this time of crisis, especially as door-to-door voter registration and engagement is on hold, and ensure all voices are heard. The Voter Participation Center and the Center for Voter Information are working to fill any in-person organizing gaps with enhanced and expanded mail, digital and text programs to reach as many citizens as possible and make sure they can register to vote.”