In response to the failed vote on Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s Emergency Ballot Bill, People For the American Way Director of Public Policy Tanya Clay House released the following statement:
“When voting machines break down, as they frequently do, citizens still deserve an opportunity to vote. But Republican members of the House blocked efforts today to ensure that every voter has an opportunity to cast an emergency ballot if things go wrong at the ballot box. Without some emergency provision, like those offered in Rep. Lofgren’s bill, some voters will be left without a vote and without a voice — just like in 2004. House Republicans have worked against meaningful election reform at every turn. Their opposition to the bill aborted efforts to improve our electoral system, and instead defended the broken election administration system that far too many American voters have become accustomed to.
“Emergency ballots are just that — for emergencies. So what’s the problem? Don’t we want to ensure everyone eligible citizen’s vote is cast and counted? Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s Emergency Ballot Bill has a minimal cost compared to what we spend to protect the vote for citizens in other countries. This bill would ensure that all eligible voters will be able to cast a ballot, even when technology fails. One thing is abundantly clear based on recent elections: too many electronic voting machines will crash on Election Day and there will be an urgent need for emergency ballots. The increased voter turnout expected this November will only exacerbate the problem. This bill would have standardized the processes already implemented in some states and made it clear that emergency ballots are to serve as a back-up option when machines crash, and not be used interchangeably with provisional ballots. We’re deeply disappointed, but not surprised, by today’s vote in the House. We encourage Congress to continue pushing for election reform for voters.”