Voting rights group pushes steps to protect voters during coronavirus pandemic

 Voting rights group pushes steps to protect voters during coronavirus pandemic
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Let America Vote (LAV), a nonprofit that works to end voter suppression, is pitching a system to allow for voters to safely cast ballots during the coronavirus pandemic, officials told The Hill exclusively.

Through a 50-state grass-roots effort starting Thursday, LAV will call on Congress and state leaders to use its Safe, Accessible, Fair Elections (SAFE) Democracy Program.

The SAFE Democracy Program calls for the 17 states that require an excuse for obtaining an absentee ballot to enact no-excuse absentee voting by mail for all voters who want it, all 50 states to extend early voting hours and Congress to allocate $2 billion to $4 billion to allow states to make changes. 

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LAV, in letters to secretaries of states, governors and members of Congress, demanded a universal vote-by-mail option, extended early voting, polling place adjustments, voting registration adjustments and expanded voter education. 

The push comes after voters in Wisconsin, which held its primary elections on Tuesday, faced long lines due to the reduced number of polling outlets and a shortage of polling workers. 

“Our democracy can’t stop functioning, even in times of crisis,” Tiffany Muller, president of Let America Vote, said in a statement. “People should not be forced to decide between their health and their vote. There is precious little time to act, but if Congress and state officials can put politics aside, we can protect the vote and keep people safe." 

LAV's efforts also includes a six-figure digital ad. 

“We should never have to choose between our safety and our right to vote. We have to raise our voices today to make sure they can’t be silenced in November. Together, we can protect our health and our democracy. Your voice matters now. Join us,” the 15-second ad says.

LAV was founded in 2017 by former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander (D) after he unsuccessfully ran to unseat Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntHillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok Advocacy groups pressure Senate to reconvene and boost election funding GOP senators voice confidence over uphill Senate battle MORE (R-Mo.) in 2016. It recently merged with campaign finance group End Citizens United.