Election Officials And Advocates Urge Voters To Make Their Votes Count

August 28, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following a hearing today to educate Americans about best practices to ensure their votes are cast safely and counted during the COVID-19 pandemic, Committee on House Administration Democrats issued the following statements:

“This year, Americans will cast their votes in the middle of a deadly pandemic that has claimed more than 180,000 lives across the country,” said Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.). “Public health experts and election officials advise that access to safe voting alternatives such as early in-person voting and vote-by-mail will protect voters and their families, but President Trump is spreading misinformation about vote-by-mail and sabotaging the U.S. Postal Service. Today’s hearing made clear that Americans must be on high alert against efforts to disenfranchise voters. In powerful testimony, we heard election officials and advocates sound the alarm on the President’s baseless claims against vote-by-mail. We heard them encourage Americans to take extra precautions to make their votes count by acting early to ensure they are registered to vote; requesting a mail-in ballot well ahead of Election Day and returning it as early as possible or voting early in-person; and reading instructions thoroughly to make sure their ballot is counted. Most importantly, we heard in today’s testimony a plan forward to ensure democracy will prevail during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

“As we approach the most solemn and momentous election of our lives, each and every citizen should make a rock-solid plan for casting a ballot,” said Vice Chair Jamie Raskin (D-Md.). “However you choose to vote—by mail, in an early voting center, or on Election Day, make sure you have mapped out a specific plan of action. I am encouraged by our institutional readiness in the states, as revealed in today’s witness testimony, and believe with all my heart that our democracy will prevail over the President’s blustering disrespect for the voting process and his Administration’s efforts to dismantle mail sorting machines, cart off blue collection boxes, and demoralize the Postal Service workforce.  The healthy instincts for democratic survival will defeat all the propaganda and disinformation.”

“Voters want and need to vote by mail—it has to work and it does work,” said Congresswoman Susan A. Davis (D-Calif.). “Voters should not have to choose between their health and their vote. The President should not be standing in the voters’ way with his fear-mongering and misinformation. We should not be arguing about whether voting by mail works, we should be focused on making it work as well as possible and not undermining it—the same goes for the Post Office. This election’s biggest threat is the President, not mail ballots. Today’s witnesses gave compelling and informative information on how voters can protect their vote.”

“As we all continue to navigate the challenges amid COVID-19 due to President Trump’s failed leadership, today’s hearing affirmed that voters in America have options to safely and securely cast their ballots, despite President Trump’s false claims and misinformation campaign to the contrary,” said Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.). “Far too many Americans have risked their lives and paid the ultimate price in the fight for unfettered access to the ballot box to let this pandemic or the Trump Administration silence the voices of voters on Election Day. As we heard from the witnesses, voters need to start developing a plan today for how they and their family members will safely cast their votes this fall. The American people will be heard this November. “

“The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the American way of life. This includes the way we conduct our elections.  During today’s hearing it was confirmed that mail-in voting will be used more widely during this election cycle,” said Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio). “All voting options must be safe, secure and have integrity, and voting from home should never be an exception.  The current efforts to undermine the integrity of mail voting options with deliberate disinformation are unconscionable and cause unease among Americans who should never sacrifice their health in order to participate in our democracy.  The attacks have been exacerbated by recent unprecedented changes in the most respected government service – the United States Postal Service.  Today, we heard testimony confirming that voting by mail is safe and secure, and when administered with integrity from the mailbox to the elections board, can ensure that votes are always counted as cast.  I urge every citizen who chooses to vote from home to check your voter registration today and vote early to ensure your ballot is received by the state deadline.”

“Today we affirmed that Americans have safe and accessible options to cast their votes this November and that everyone should make a plan to vote,” Congressman Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.). Voters should research what options are available in their area and cast their votes early, by mail or in person. While the Trump Administrations has been working to confuse voters and make it harder to vote, we heard today from the experts that all registered voters can make their votes count this election. We must continue our work to expand early in-person voting and vote-by-mail options to ensure that now and in the future everyone who is eligible can safely cast their votes.”

Background:

At today’s hearing entitled Voting Safely in a Pandemic, the Committee on House Administration heard testimony about changes in election systems due to the COVID-19 pandemic and experts encouraged voters to cast their ballot safely despite President Trump’s misinformation campaign about vote-by-mail and sabotage of the U.S. Postal Service.

Witnesses included The Honorable Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State; Julie Wise, Director of Elections, King County, Wash.; Amber McReynolds, CEO, National Vote at Home Institute and Coalition; Vanita Gupta, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; and The Honorable Donald L. Palmer, Commissioner, U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

Video of the hearing can be found here.

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