Vote at Home | Weekly Roundup May 11, 2020

Beth Hladick
Policy Manager
Unite America

It was a slightly exciting week in the Vote at Home world. Mark your calendars for Super Junesday, people (June 2). Here’s the latest: 

  • House Democrats introduce CARES 2, $3.6 billion in election funds included for states to bolster contingency planning, preparation, and resilience in elections for Federal office. See Division P (ACCESS Act) for a summary of other elections provisions, including standards for absentee ballots cast by mail. Republicans  rejected the legislation, calling it a “liberal wish list” that would go nowhere in the Senate. Republicans for the Rule of Law backed a new ad campaign targeted at 10 GOP Senators. 
  • South Carolina can Vote at Home! Gov. Henry McMaster (R) signed a bill into law allowing any eligible South Carolina voter to request an absentee ballot for the state's June 9 primary and subsequent runoff elections. Five states (CT, TX, MS, MO, and TN) still require an excuse to vote absentee. 
  • Slightly less exciting news in Tennessee: The state’s Division of Elections consulted with the AG to conclude concern over COVID is not a valid excuse to vote absentee. Gov. Bill Lee (R) and Secretary of State Tre Hargett (R) backed the decision. 
  • Slightly more exciting news in Texas: The TX drama I’ve been briefing you on saw some resolution yesterday, when an appeals court ruled against AG Ken Paxton and upheld a district court’s temporary order that susceptibility to COVID is an excuse to vote absentee. Paxton’s office said they will “look forward to the Texas Supreme Court resolving this issue.” Also this week, TX Gov. Abbott (R) doubled the length of early voting for the upcoming July primary runoff election. 
  • A new COVID-19 response report from NVAHI came out this week. Provides a 50-state look at existing vote at home policies, “gold standard policy components,” and urgent changes needed to support safe voting in 2020. 
  • Looking ahead. Next week, Idaho and Oregon will hold their primaries (5/19). “Super Junesday” (aka June 2nd) is also quickly approaching: Indiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Montana all have primaries.

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