Should states be required to establish contingency plans to conduct federal elections during national disasters and emergencies?
• “Mail ballots are the most labor-intensive [way to count votes], and the switch to them in 2020, as you well know, is causing delays in final results… And that runs counter to one of the Republicans’ main goals, which is trying to end the election on election night.” Source: Ion Sanchos (Former Florida Election Official)
• “This legislation is an important step forward in safeguarding our elections and the democratic participation of all eligible voters, including those who may be most vulnerable during a crisis. That's not a partisan priority, it's an American one.” Source: Alexandra Chandler (Protect Democracy)
Awaiting Vote .
The Natural Disaster Emergency Ballot Act (NDEBA) seeks to ensure that voting rights are protected in the case of natural disasters and pandemics. The bill calls for states to establish contingency plans so that in the context of an emergency, eligible Americans are still able to vote, permitting both in-person voting at least twenty days early and no-excuse absentee voting by mail. Furthermore, the bill requires downloadable and printable absentee ballots, prepaid self-sealing envelopes with intelligent mail barcodes, a portal that allows election officials to update voters about their ballots, and accommodations for voters residing on Indian lands. To increase security that the votes are legitimate, the bill calls for a “notice and cure process” for mismatched signatures. The bill establishes reimbursements to states for complying with NDEBA, and it provides $3 million in additional funds to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) for supporting states with implementing the act. Sponsors: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Democrat, Minneasota) and Sen. Ron Wyden (Democrat, Oregon)
- With Unprecedented Disruptions Expected From Coronavirus, Klobuchar and Wyden Introduce Bill to Ensure Americans are Still Able
- Here’s How to Guarantee Coronavirus Won’t Disrupt Our Elections (Washington Post)
- Estimated Costs of Covid-19 Election Resiliency Measures (Brennan Center For Justice)
- Congress Pours $400 Million into Boosting States’ Election Efforts Amid Coronavirus Crisis, Experts Say it’s ‘Not Enough” (ABC)