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Warren releases plan to secure elections during coronavirus pandemic

Warren releases plan to secure elections during coronavirus pandemic
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Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenExclusive: How Obama went to bat for Warren Minimum wage setback revives progressive calls to nix Senate filibuster Democratic strategists start women-run media consulting firm 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 KlobucharOpen-ended antitrust is an innovation killer FBI, DHS and Pentagon officials to testify on Capitol riot Five big takeaways on the Capitol security hearings MORE (D-Minn.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHouse Democrats pass sweeping .9T COVID-19 relief bill with minimum wage hike House set for tight vote on COVID-19 relief package On The Money: Democrats scramble to save minimum wage hike | Personal incomes rise, inflation stays low after stimulus burst MORE (D-Ore.) last month intended to ensure mail-in voting during the pandemic. 

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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.”

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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 PelosiMcCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 After vote against coronavirus relief package, Golden calls for more bipartisanship in Congress Democrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' 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 TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE, have pushed back against moving to mail-in voting, arguing this would hurt Republican chances in elections.