Klobuchar, Wyden call for expanded mail-in and early voting amid coronavirus outbreak

Klobuchar, Wyden call for expanded mail-in and early voting amid coronavirus outbreak
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Two Senate Democrats called Monday for the U.S. to expand by-mail voting and early voting in order to ensure that voter participation is not reduced by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

In a Washington Post op-ed, Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharKlobuchar confident spending bill will be finished before Christmas Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden renominates Powell as Fed chair MORE (D-Minn.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDemocrats push tax credits to bolster clean energy Five reasons for concern about Democrats' drug price control plan Senate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo MORE (D-Ore.) argued that Congress should pass emergency measures to expand nontraditional voting methods for all Americans as states across the country have wrestled with the prospects of delaying their primary elections due to the outbreak.

"On Monday, we will introduce the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act of 2020 to help election officials meet this pandemic head-on. Our legislation will guarantee every voter a secure mail-in paper ballot and help states cover the cost of printing, self-sealing envelopes, ballot tracking and postage," they wrote. "Vote-by-mail is a time-tested, reliable way for Americans to exercise their constitutional rights, and it is the right response to this crisis."

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"Congress has acted to provide states with medical and economic relief; now we should act swiftly to pass the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act of 2020 to ensure that, during a national emergency, every American has a safe way to participate in our democracy," the senators added.

The op-ed comes as Congress has considered a number of emergency measures to address the ongoing outbreak, which has sickened thousands in the U.S. and more than 179,000 globally.

A bill passed by the House on Monday would allow all Americans to receive free diagnostic testing for the virus, expand paid sick leave, and increase unemployment insurance benefits.