Democrats demand Republican leaders examine election challenges after Georgia voting chaos

Democrats demand Republican leaders examine election challenges after Georgia voting chaos
© Greg Nash

The top Democrats on three Senate committees on Thursday demanded their Republican counterparts hold hearings examining the impact of COVID-19 on elections following chaos at the polls in Georgia this week.

Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharElection security advocates see strong ally in Harris The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - The choice: Biden-Harris vs. Trump-Pence California Democrats back Yang after he expresses disappointment over initial DNC lineup MORE (D-Minn.), Gary PetersGary Charles PetersTop Democrats say postmaster confirmed changes to mail service amid delays The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's visit to battleground Ohio overshadowed by coronavirus Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic MORE (D-Mich.) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Yates spars with GOP at testy hearing MORE (D-Calif.) sent a letter to Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntSenate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal COVID-19 relief talks look dead until September  Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump MORE (R-Mo.), Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGraham says FBI chief 'committed to being helpful' after Trump criticism Trump hits FBI Director Wray: 'I wish he was more forthcoming' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Harris launch Trump offensive in first joint appearance MORE (R-Wis.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham says FBI chief 'committed to being helpful' after Trump criticism Democrat flips GOP-held state House seat in South Carolina Ron Johnson signals some GOP senators concerned about his Obama-era probes MORE (R-S.C.) asking that they examine election vulnerabilities after several coronavirus-related challenges.

“Nobody should have to choose between their health and their right to vote, and Americans deserve accurate information about our democracy," the Senate Democrats wrote. "Primary voters across Georgia and Wisconsin can attest to the fact that failure to enact reforms and provide assistance to states will result in widespread chaos, the disenfranchisement of voters, and even voters and election workers becoming sick."

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Voting reform advocates and congressional Democrats called on Congress to step in to make election reforms and send funding to states to address new election challenges following confusion at polling precincts in Atlanta during the primary elections in Georgia this week.

The issues occurred two months after a Supreme Court ruling forced many Wisconsin voters to cast their ballots in person, with dozens of COVID-19 cases subsequently traced to the election. 

Congress appropriated $400 million to states to address election concerns as part of the stimulus bill signed into law by President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary MORE in March, but experts estimate a total of $4 billion is needed to ensure elections can move forward this year. 

The House passed a new stimulus bill last month that included $3.6 billion for elections, but the legislation is stalled in the Senate. Republicans have largely objected to making election reforms, particularly boosting mail-in voting, citing concerns around federalizing elections and increased voter fraud. 

The Senate Democrats on Thursday argued that there is no proof to back up claims of voter fraud, and that shoring up elections is “not a partisan issue” but an “American issue.”

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“The right to vote is the foundation of our democracy — a right that generations of Americans before us have fought to secure, and a right that we must protect,” the lawmakers wrote to the Republican committee chairmen. “We respectfully urge you to immediately convene experts to testify on how we can improve the safety and administration of elections and combat election related misinformation.”

Spokespersons for Blunt, Johnson and Graham did not immediately respond to The Hill’s requests for comment on potential elections-focused hearings. 

House panels led by Democrats have already taken up the issue, with the elections-focused House Administration Committee to hold a hearing on coronavirus impacts on Thursday afternoon. The hearing follows another on the same topic held by the House Judiciary Committee last week.