100 Days Telepresser

by Declaration for American Democracy | Monday July 27, 2020

On Monday, July 27 at 12pm ET, the Declaration for American Democracy hosted a telepress conference with leaders from government, as well as civil rights, racial justice and voting rights organizations. With only 100 days until the 2020 general election, the conference highlighted the urgent need for the Senate to pass legislation to fund vital election protection measures as the nation grapples with the coronavirus.

Participants
Vanita Gupta, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Derrick Johnson, President of NAACP
Virginia Kase, CEO of League of Women Voters
Jana Morgan, Director of Declaration for American Democracy
Rob Weissman, President of Public Citizen
Kim Wyman, Washington Secretary of State

Background

The leaders, including Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman and advocates from NAACP, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, League of Women Voters, the Declaration for American Democracy, and Public Citizen, will call on the Senate to make protecting voters and democracy a priority as it debates the next coronavirus relief package. If the Senate does not act urgently and pass the same election funding ($3.6 billion) and reforms as the House passed in the HEROES act, then states will run out of time to set up a voting system that will protect the health and rights of voters across America in November. The Wisconsin and Georgia primaries earlier this year illustrated what can go wrong when states don’t have safe voting protocols in place.

The Senate has the chance to reduce the risk of coronavirus for vulnerable groups (e.g. seniors, veterans, BIPOC, and people with disabilities) by passing vital election reforms in the HEROES Act, including:
– Providing resources to protect the health of poll workers and voters.
– Requiring states to hold at least 15 consecutive days of early voting, with the polls open for at least 10 hours a day. This also includes requiring polling places to be within walking distance of public transit and in convenient locations in rural areas to ensure all have access to the polls.
– Allowing postage-paid, no excuse vote-by-mail as an option for every voter.
– Prohibiting efforts to restrict voter accessibility, such as requiring witnesses or notaries for absentee ballots. Any eligible ballot postmarked on or before election day must be counted.
– Requiring equal access for voters with disabilities or voters who require language assistance.
– Allowing for same day and online voter registration in all states.
– Allowing Tribal governments to designate a community building as a ballot pick-up and dropoff location, as well as prohibiting any requirement calling for a residential address in order to vote.
– Removing the prohibitive requirement that states produce a 20% match to receive critical funds from the Election Assistance Commission.

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The Declaration for American Democracy is a diverse coalition of over 160 democracy, environmental, labor, faith-based, good government, women’s rights, civil rights, and other groups focused on advancing the structural changes necessary to ensure our democracy reflects, responds to, and represents voters.

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