WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), the top Democrat on the Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee responsible for the Election Assistance Commission, released the following statement after it was announced that the third stimulus package includes $400 million in election funding. The announcement comes after officials in several states have postponed their presidential primaries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s very possible that COVID-19 will continue to disrupt American lives through November, and we need to prepare the country to vote if that’s the case. Republican and Democratic officials across the country have encouraged expansions of no-excuse vote-by-mail and early voting – it’s a commonsense initiative to ensure states have the resources they need to effectively administer elections,” said Senator Coons. “The election funding included in the final stimulus package provides important assistance to states to expand access to the polls, but it’s not enough to guarantee full implementation of these critical election reforms. It’s on the federal government to safeguard our constitutional rights and make sure that, even while our country faces this pandemic, we still protect our democracy. I’m going to keep pushing for more funding for expanding vote-by-mail and early voting to ensure no American has to choose between their health and their vote this fall.”
Last week, Senator Coons introduced the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act of 2020 with U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to expand no-excuse absentee vote-by-mail to all states, extend early in-person voting in every state to at least 20 days, and reimburse states for additional costs in administering elections during the pandemic. Senators Coons and Klobuchar also wrote a letter to congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Mitch McConnell, and Kevin McCarthy, urging them to include funding to protect our elections in the final stimulus package.