CLC President Discusses Immediate Measures for Protecting Voting Access Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Issues
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Signs saying "one stop voting" and "curbside voting" along a street with an SUV parked next to them
Curbside voting in Wake County, North Carolina on October 25, 2008. Photo by Jake Kitchener.

In times of uncertainty, American citizens should be able to count on being able to vote for their candidates of choice. 

During other historically extraordinary events, like the Civil War or World War I, elections were not canceled or postponed. American citizens were able to practice one of their most basic rights – as we should be able to now during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Trevor Potter, president, Campaign Legal Center, appeared on “Axios on HBO,” to discuss immediate measures states can take to prepare to offer all citizens the opportunity to cast their ballot in a safe environment, and how this pandemic should serve as a catalyst to make the ballot more accessible to all citizens during every election.  

Below is the Axios.com summary of Potter’s interview:

What he's saying: "There's been a view that making it easier to vote, encouraging people to vote, somehow would help Democrats rather than Republicans," said Potter, who is president of the Campaign Legal Center was Stephen Colbert's super PAC lawyer and a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission. 

  •  "personally think that's about a 25-year-old view, and that if you look at the Trump election, there were many people who came out and said they were voting for Trump who were not normal voters. So increased turnout in some states helped the Trump campaign rather than the Democrats." 
  • "There are allegations that in Republican red states, there is an attempt to suppress minority voters. And we've seen examples where laws were passed to make it harder to vote on Sundays or to require a particular form of voter ID that minorities might not have. And you can see there's a partisan element to that and a partisan dispute." 
  • "Here, I think the good news is, it is not thought that this crisis hurts or helps voters of one party. So both parties ought to be able to get together on this and say we need to make it easier to vote in the face of this health crisis." 
  • "There are plenty of elderly people in both parties." 
  • "In this crisis, we move away from the 'is it going to help us or hurt them' mentality that you see in some of the barriers to voting. And instead, we have the possibility that it will hurt both parties in unpredictable ways. So both of them should be looking at how to make it easier to have a range of methods to vote on an election day in the middle of a public health crisis."

The full episode is available with an HBO subscription. 

 

Georgia is the 2020 CLC Communications Fellow