Vote at Home | Weekly Roundup July 6, 2020

Beth Hladick
Director, Research & Outreach
Unite America

Massachusetts moves to no-excuse absentee voting for the general election, joining California and Delaware. Governor Charlie Baker (R) signed the bill into law Monday, which directs the department of election to send each registered voter an application for a mail-in ballot ahead of both the state primary and general elections. In-person voting will also be extended by several days to reduce crowding at the polls.

State and local election officials “beg” Congress for more elections funding. Election officials testified during a recent EAC hearing that they’ve spent a significant amount of previous CARES Act funding on their primary election, leaving minimal funding for the general election. Iowa SOS Paul Pate (R) testified in favor of federal funding for elections, but argued the funds should be sent with fewer strings attached (e.g., the 20 percent state match requirement). Additionally, more than 550 health and political science experts signed on to an open letter asking Congress to send states more election funding.

Though voting rules changed quickly for state primaries, it’s less certain whether they’ll stick for November. According to WaPo, More than 60 lawsuits related to absentee voting in about two dozen states are ongoing. The results of these cases will determine the method by which approximately 130 million registered Americans vote this election. One suit in New York, filed by CLC, argues for change to NY’s flawed absentee ballot verification system, which discounted 14 percent of absentee ballots in the 2018 general election.

Former Secretaries of Defense Chuck Hagel and Leon Panetta, along with former Rep. Roemer (D-IN) and Rep. Wamp (R-TN), co-authored an opinion piece in The Hill advocating for congressional action to protect the legitimacy of the November election. “The fallout from an election that Americans view as illegitimate would shatter confidence and trust in our democratic system. That kind of chaos is simply not an option.”

From our partners: VRL, UCLA, and the Union of Concerned Scientists produced a new report this week on protecting public health in the 2020 Elections. The report outlines public health considerations for in-person voting, what we know about election day congestion, and policy recommendations for a safer election. The CDC also recently recommended voters consider alternatives to casting their ballots in person. Also this week, a diverse group of civic-minded orgs and businesses launched “Power the Polls,” a database to recruit poll workers.

Up Next: Louisiana’s presidential primary is on Saturday, and next Tuesday is Maine’s state primary, while Alabama and Texas have runoff elections. Though the presidential primary season is nearly over, 24 states still have state primary or runoff elections leading up to November.

Now Live: The Unite America Institute launched a new VAH resources page to cull best practices, studies on impact, and reports from experts and partners.

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