Dozens of progressive organizations call on Congress to fund vote-by-mail efforts

 

More than 50 progressive organizations signed an open letter Monday calling on Congress to appropriate $4 billion to states to boost mail-in voting efforts in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

The groups — which were led by Stand Up America and included Greenpeace USA, Planned Parenthood, and the Sierra Club — strongly urged the leaders of the House and Senate to “immediately” pass legislation that includes funds for states to allow elections to go forward this year. 

“Congress has an obligation to safeguard the integrity of our elections by setting national voting rights standards and providing state officials with urgent financial support so that they can institute these common-sense reforms while there is still time,” the groups wrote

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They advocated that Congress specifically give states funding to go toward giving every voter the option to vote by mail, extend in-person early voting, expand registration and educate voters about their voting options.  

“None of us know how long this pandemic will last,” the groups emphasized. “Failing to provide states with this necessary funding puts the November election and the rights of every voter at risk.”

The coronavirus stimulus package signed into law by President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS reimposes UN sanctions on Iran amid increasing tensions Jeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Trump supporters chant 'Fill that seat' at North Carolina rally MORE last month included $400 million to help states put on elections this year during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The legislation did not include any specific mandates for how states could spend the money and required states to match the funds by 20 percent, an issue some state officials have said could be difficult to accomplish. 

Both House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election Trump is betting big on the suburbs, but his strategy is failing 'bigly' Trump orders flags at half-staff to honor 'trailblazer' Ginsburg MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerVideo of Lindsey Graham arguing against nominating a Supreme Court justice in an election year goes viral Graham signals support for confirming a Supreme Court nominee this year Pelosi orders Capitol flags at half-staff to honor Ginsburg MORE (D-N.Y.) have come out in favor of sending the states more funding and in favor of increasing mail-in voting in recent weeks. Pelosi originally proposed $4 billion in March for the last stimulus bill, but this amount was cut down. 

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Republicans have pushed back against vote by mail. President Trump tweeted last week that he was concerned voting by mail would hurt Republican chances in the elections, and that it could increase the chance for voter fraud. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyTrump asked Chamber of Commerce to reconsider Democratic endorsements: report The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - White House moves closer to Pelosi on virus relief bill Trump's sharp words put CDC director on hot seat MORE (R-Calif.) slammed Democrats last week for trying to put mail-in voting funds in the next coronavirus stimulus bill. McCarthy accused Democrats of being “concerned about the wrong thing” in comparison to battling the COVID-19 disease.  

But Democrats, led by Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - White House moves closer to Pelosi on virus relief bill EPA delivers win for ethanol industry angered by waivers to refiners It's time for newspapers to stop endorsing presidential candidates MORE (Minn.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenGOP senator blocks Schumer resolution aimed at Biden probe as tensions run high Republican Senators raise concerns over Oracle-TikTok deal Hillicon Valley: TikTok, Oracle seek Trump's approval as clock winds down | Hackers arrested for allegedly defacing U.S. websites after death of Iranian general | 400K people register to vote on Snapchat MORE (Ore.), have continued to push for mail-in voting. Klobuchar and Wyden introduced a bill in March to expand voting access that former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaTo honor Justice Ginsburg's legacy, Biden should consider Michelle Obama National Urban League, BET launch National Black Voter Day The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - White House moves closer to Pelosi on virus relief bill MORE threw her support behind on Monday. 

Klobuchar, Wyden, and Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsBiden promises Democratic senators help in battleground states Shakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep MORE (D-Del.) on Monday penned an op-ed in USA Today calling for states to get more funding for mail-in voting ahead of November. 

“The next federal relief package must include sufficient funding and direction to states to expand vote by mail, early voting and online voter registration,” the senators wrote. “Republicans and Democrats should be able to work together to make this happen. The very integrity of our democracy requires that we get this right."