In response to the introduction of the House’s HEROES Act (“CARES 2.0”) relief package today, Jana Morgan, Director of the Declaration for American Democracy – a coalition of more than 160 organizations from the labor, racial justice, faith, women’s rights, environmental, good government, and many other important communities – issued the following statement:
“We applaud Speaker Pelosi and the House for allocating an additional $3.6 billion for the planning, preparation, and resilience of our elections.
On top of the $400 million allocated in the first relief package, this funding will ensure Americans do not have to choose between exercising their constitutional right to vote and safeguarding their health and that of their families.
Vital reforms in the HEROES Act include:
- Providing resources to protect the health of poll workers and voters.
- Requiring states to hold at least 15 consecutive days of early voting, with the polls open for at least 10 hours a day. The bill also requires polling places to be within walking distance of public transit and in convenient locations in rural areas to ensure all have access to the polls.
- Allowing postage-paid, no excuse, vote-by-mail as an option for every voter.
- Prohibiting efforts to restrict voter accessibility, such as requiring witnesses or notaries for absentee ballots. Any eligible ballot postmarked on or before election day must be counted.
- Requiring equal access for voters with disabilities or voters who require language assistance.
- Allowing for same day and online voter registration in all states.
- Allowing Tribal governments to designate a community building as a ballot pick-up and drop of location; prohibiting any requirement calling for a residential address in order to vote.
- Removing the prohibitive requirement that states produce a 20% match to receive critical funds from the Election Assistance Commission.
We call on the House to act swiftly to secure our elections, and for the Senate to follow suit. In order to ensure the safety and constitutional rights of all Americans this year, the Senate must adopt this language.
These critical reforms need to be implemented by state and local election officials in the coming weeks to ensure we can have safe and fair elections. All Americans deserve equal access to the ballot box, and time is quickly running out.”