Vote at Home | Weekly Roundup April 27, 2020

Beth Hladick
Policy Manager
Unite America

Polling, protests, and putting fraud to rest. Here’s the round-up of Vote at Home (VAH) developments: 

  • New VAH polling: Republican pollsters find 76 percent of voters want the “freedom” to vote by mail (n1000). A Pew report out this week (n4917) finds that 67 percent of Americans agree it’s likely the outbreak will disrupt the November election and 70 percent favor allowing voters to VAH. Despite the partisan divide, some R’s are saying it’s time to “get serious” (including an anonymous R in Wisconsin).
  • States (still) need more federal funding. A new Brennan Center report with specific focus on Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania (battleground states for Trump or other R races in 2020) demonstrates states still need significant funding to scale up their absentee election processes/infrastructure. Federal funding is on the table in the next relief package, though federally mandating elections procedure is not likely. This week, House Speaker Pelosi vowed to push for a vote by mail provision and Sen. Maj. Leader Mitch McConnell said he opposes the federalization of elections (though he didn’t comment on funding). 43 states have requested funding from the initial $400 million made available through the CARES Act/EAC grants. 
  • NY Board of Elections cancels Democratic presidential primary, sparing voters in about 20 counties with no other contests on the ballot from going to the polls. 42 counties will still vote for down-ballot races, though absentee voting is encouraged and limited polling places will remain open. The decision was not without backlash, but the chairman of the NY Dems said the presidential primary race was “nonessential.” 
  • It’s (still) tough to vote in six states -- Connecticut, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas -- due to excuse-required absentee voting rules or stringent voting policies. Texas, an excuse-required state, is still at odds over who can vote absentee. In a letter to the TX House chair on elections, the AG’s office threatened prosecution for anyone who votes by mail without a narrowly defined excuse or “criminal sanctions” for any election official advising such a vote. The decision is with the 3rd Court of Appeals. 
  • Let’s put the Vote by Mail fraud myth to rest: A compelling op-ed in the Hill written by Amber McReynolds and Charles Stewart III. Over the past 20 years, fraudulent use of mail-in ballots has only been a concern in about 0.00006 percent of total votes cast. 
  • If you or someone you know would like to learn more about VAH. A new webinar series from NCSL (starts Wed. May 6 @ 11am MT) on voting outside the polling place, intended for legislators, legislative staffers, election officials, outside advocates, and interested members of the public.  

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