Dear Editor: The 2020 election will determine the future direction of our country. Congress needs to act now to ensure all Americans have a voice in determining that future. The right of every eligible American citizen to vote safely and without barriers is at the heart of our democracy.
State and county election officials from both parties nationwide have expressed that they need help in order to hold November elections under pandemic conditions. For this to happen, at least $4 billion for elections needs to be allotted in the next federal stimulus package.
These funds are needed to:
1. Increase capacity for voting by mail. To protect public health, every American must have the option to vote by mail. This requires an upgrade of voting systems to provide and process tens of millions of additional mail ballots nationwide.
2. Maintain safe and sanitized in-person voting. Mail voting is necessary, but cannot fully replace in-person voting. Polling places will need more staff, expanded early voting days and hours, and sanitation supplies for poll workers and voters.
3. Expand online registration. Expansion requires bolstering systems in place to accommodate a surge and provide sufficient access to the system. States without online registration need to set up systems, or take other measures to ensure their registration rolls are inclusive and up-to-date.
In addition, it’s crucial that our elections be secured from intervention by Russia or any foreign power. Having paper backup of electronic voting is essential.
Our United States congressional leaders: Sen. McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, Sen. Schumer, and Rep. McCarthy need to hear this message. A petition to these leaders, and more information, is at www.brennancenter.org.
Also, contacting Wisconsin legislators, including Sen. Baldwin (202) 224-5653 and Sen. Johnson (202) 224-5323 with your ideas concerning safe and accessible voting opportunities is important.
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