Congress Must Protect Democracy Even as We Safeguard Our Health

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A man wearing a medical mask holds out gloved hands while a woman wearing a medical mask sprays his hands.
Wisconsin National Guard soldier Sgt. Monica Miggins, right, sanitizes the hands of a voter before he enters a polling station April 7, 2020 in Fitchburg, Wisconsin. Despite the COVID-19, coronavirus pandemic Wisconsin continued with scheduled primary elections. Photo by US Army Photo / Alamy Stock Photo.

Campaign Legal Center (CLC) joined more than 150 organizations led by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights in signing a letter that called on Congress to fully fund and direct states and counties to administer the 2020 elections in a safe, fair, and accessible manner. The groups advocated for the implementation of vote-by-mail, the expansion of early voting, and viable in-person voting options.

At least $4 billion is needed to prepare for the 2020 general election, and time is of the essence. Every day of preparation between now and November is precious.

In the last coronavirus response package, Congress provided only $400 million to states for election assistance. While a step in the right direction, it is really just a down payment. It will defray only a fraction of the costs associated with implementing the necessary adjustments to safeguard the electoral process.

Although large numbers of Americans will vote by mail this year, in-person voting options remain essential for the 2020 elections to be truly fair and accessible. In-person voting is still necessary, notwithstanding the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, because many communities in America simply will not have full and fair access to the election without in-person voting options, and for others, it is their preferred option.

Accordingly, we must provide safe and effective in-person voting options, in order to prevent disenfranchising any American. 

Voters should not have to choose between public health and a functioning democracy.

Corey handles media relations for the CLC voting rights and redistricting teams and creates online content.