(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) today joined Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) and 68 House Members in calling on House leadership to ensure that future COVID-19 response legislation helps protect the ability of Americans to safely exercise their right to vote amid the COVID-19 pandemic and future crises.
“I urge you to continue to prioritize swift and strong action to prepare our electoral system for this pandemic, and to make sure that no future disaster threatens American citizens’ ability to go to the polls,” Slotkin writes in the letter, signed by 69 colleagues.
Formulated in direct collaboration with Michigan election experts, in the letter, Slotkin calls on legislation to:
- Require at least 15 days of early in-person voting and no-excuse absentee voting by mail for 2020, as well as steps to ensure voters can easily apply online to vote absentee.
- Provide flexible funding to help states implement early and absentee voting.
- Require states to develop and publicize plans to ensure voters can safely exercise their democratic rights in future crises, including plans to implement mail and absentee balloting, for reduced or alternate voting locations, and to protect the health and safety of election workers.
“We cannot let this virus disrupt our democracy,” Slotkin said. “COVID-19 is a new and unprecedented challenge, but through prudent planning now we can ensure Americans aren’t forced to choose between their democratic rights and their health and safety.”
“The 8th District benefits from the service of two of the nation’s premier election administrators in Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and in Rochester Hills City Clerk Tina Barton, a member of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission,” Slotkin continued. “They were instrumental in helping develop these proposals to make sure elections roll forward in 2020.”
"I am grateful to Representative Slotkin and the many other members of Congress who are working to protect our democracy by providing the federal partnership needed by states at this critical time,” said Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “Elections are the primary building block of our republic, and election administrators must have sufficient resources to carry them out safely and securely."
"I am calling on our elected representatives in Washington to provide the funding and local autonomy needed to protect the sanctity of this November’s election,” said Rochester Hills City Clerk and U.S. Election Assistance Commission Tina Barton. “This funding will be necessary for election officials to properly respond to the challenges brought on by administering an election in a pandemic. Although we are in uncertain times, one thing that is certain is that election officials across this country are resolved to carrying on with our mission -- our mission of providing free, fair, and accessible elections."