Elections Must Proceed While States Protect Public Health

WASHINGTON – The co-chairs of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights’ Voting Rights Task Force, Campaign Legal Center (CLC), and other organizations issued the following statement on the state of Louisiana’s decision to postpone its presidential primary, originally scheduled for April 4, until June 20:

“The current Coronavirus pandemic presents tremendous challenges to local authorities as they plan for upcoming primary elections — challenges that we are confident they can meet. We all agree that the safety and health of the public is paramount, but steps can and must be taken to protect voters and poll workers while also ensuring that the democratic process marches ahead.

“Sudden changes to election times, locations, and more have been proven to create barriers to, and in some instances the denial of, citizens’ right to vote. We are concerned about the impact of the decision of the state of Louisiana to move the date of its primary elections. We applaud the approach taken by election officials in Ohio, Arizona, Florida, and Illinois to hold their primary elections on March 17, with proper public health safety measures in place.

“The November election is quickly approaching, and it is imperative that the federal government provide the necessary funding and guidance for states to prepare and ensure there are no barriers to the ballot due to COVID-19. All states should have contingency plans in place for additional voting options for the general election that will be held on November 3. Under no circumstances should the November general election be canceled or postponed, as that date is mandated by federal law. Our democracy and our elections have endured in other times of crisis, and we shall again.”