Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Rodney Davis (IL-13), top Republican on the House committee with jurisdiction over federal elections, spoke on how we should approach our nation’s elections amid the COVID-19 outbreak. This statement comes in the wake of Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) using the current emergency to introduce legislation that would create a top-down approach for states, mandating states expand early in-person voting and no-excuse absentee vote-by-mail, and force states to allow voters who did not receive an absentee ballot to use a printable ballot, currently only provided for military and overseas voters. This legislation has been introduced in other forms for several Congresses.
“While I appreciate the Senators’ efforts, imposing additional constraints on states from the federal government is the opposite of what we should be doing right now. Most states have already integrated these methods of voting, and we don’t know how long it would take the rest of the country to be able to successfully implement these programs. We should not be pushing though unnecessary policies in a time of emergency,” said Ranking Member Davis. “Instead of forcing a one-size-fits-all approach for states, who are handling their elections in accordance with their citizens’ needs, we must find ways to assist states in carrying out their elections as needed.”
“We previously appropriated $425 million to states in December that can be used by states to improve election administration, like hiring more poll workers, increasing vote-by-mail efforts, and securing other resources states see necessary to carry out their elections. We hope to be able to provide more money in the upcoming months to the Election Assistance Commission to distribute to states. This will allow states to improve the administration of elections, including covering costs associated with absentee voting and vote by mail, extending no-excuse absentee, and reimbursing for poll worker recruitment and training. I hope we work across the aisle in Congress to accomplish this mission and ensure that states are prepared to deal with COVID-19 and keep their elections running smoothly and securely”
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