Warren releases plan to secure elections during coronavirus pandemic

Warren releases plan to secure elections during coronavirus pandemic
© Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenMisguided recusal rules lock valuable leaders out of the Pentagon Biden's soft touch with Manchin, Sinema frustrates Democrats Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Congress makes technology policy moves MORE (D-Mass.) released a plan Tuesday intended to secure elections during the coronavirus pandemic through mail-in voting and increasing online voter registration.

The plan, first reported by Mother Jones, calls on states to ensure every eligible American has the ability to vote by mail, sending voters a ballot with prepaid postage. 

Warren urged Congress to pass a bill proposed by Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharOn The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan Schumer, McConnell headed for another collision over voting rights Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Congress makes technology policy moves MORE (D-Minn.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenCongress needs to step up on crypto, or Biden might crush it Democrats face growing storm over IRS reporting provision Best shot at narrowing racial homeownership gap at risk, progressives say MORE (D-Ore.) last month intended to ensure mail-in voting during the pandemic. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Warren also advocated for Congress to send states $4 billion to address election needs, a major increase from the $400 million appropriated by Congress in March as part of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. Warren described the current amount available to states for elections during the coronavirus pandemic as a “fraction” of what was needed. 

“Protecting our elections during this public health emergency will require billions in funding, not millions,” Warren wrote. 

Other issues Warren advocated for included giving the U.S. Postal Service funding to enable it to continue operations through the summer, taking steps to counter disinformation around elections, continuing to guard against foreign interference and compensating every poll worker with hazard pay. 

Warren strongly criticized Republicans for blocking efforts to move to mail-in voting, describing their actions as “an undemocratic power grab” that would “disenfranchise millions.”

“The task of protecting our democracy has never been more vital,” Warren wrote in the plan. “Congress must act to protect our upcoming elections, keep voters and poll workers safe, and safeguard our electoral institutions for the long haul.”

Warren’s plan was released the same day Wisconsin held an in-person primary election following a 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court requiring the state to only count absentee ballots postmarked by Tuesday or cast at the voting station. 

The decision drew sharp criticism from voting rights advocates and Democrats, who argued that this forced voters in Wisconsin to choose between their health and voting.

Other states have been forced to delay primaries, with some states including Iowa and Ohio making the decision to send absentee ballot request forms to all registered voters. Washington, Colorado, Oregon and Hawaii already only use mail-in voting during elections. 

Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSen. Ron Johnson hoping for Democratic 'gridlock' on reconciliation package Virginia race looms as dark cloud over Biden's agenda  Biden struggles to rein in Saudi Arabia amid human rights concerns MORE (D-Calif.), are pushing for more election funds to be included in the next coronavirus stimulus bill Congress is expected to consider later this month. Republicans, including President TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE, have pushed back against moving to mail-in voting, arguing this would hurt Republican chances in elections.