WASHINGTON, D.C. — People For the American Way (PFAW) joined a coalition of progressive organizations today, urging Congress to pass at least $3.6 billion in additional funding to help safeguard voting rights and election security measures by supporting state and county preparations for upcoming primaries and the general election in November.
This effort includes a letter signed by PFAW, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, MALDEF, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., among others. Many groups are also joining a National Day of Action scheduled for Tuesday, April 14, directing people across America to call their members of Congress and demand critical funding to help states expand vote-by-mail, early voting and online and same-day registration, and ensure the safety of voters and poll workers, amongst others reforms.
“We are facing grave threats to our democracy unless we act now to protect our elections. The recent debacle in Wisconsin, in which voters were forced to choose between risking their health or exercising their right to vote, was unconscionable and must not be allowed to take place again,” said PFAW Executive Vice President for Policy and Program Marge Baker. “In order to prevent disenfranchising any American, including communities that have historically been marginalized and that face additional barriers to voting access, we need to ensure that everyone eligible to vote has the tools that make voting fully accessible. Congress must provide the funding necessary to put structures in place so that everyone who is eligible to vote can cast a ballot.”
Previous coronavirus aid, which included $400 million to states for election assistance, was a good first step, but not enough for the level of resources needed to alleviate potential disruptions. Policies that will address the current crisis include:
- an extended early in-person voting period;
- no-excuse absentee voting-by-mail (including a number of options through which to request and return ballots);
- expanded voter registration options, including online voter registration and same-day voter registration;
- prohibition of polling place adjustments that disproportionately impact vulnerable populations (such as people of color, Native Americans, limited-English proficient citizens, people with disabilities, and students); and
- voter education to inform the public of new voting practices and to immediately quash disinformation as it arises.
In recent weeks, PFAW has continued to highlight how alternative and expanded voting options have worked in places like Florida and Arizona. PFAW has also been critical of large-scale GOP efforts to use the courts to disenfranchise voters– particularly following the Wisconsin primary, when Republicans ignored the concerns of voters and the calls for expanded voter options and forced hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites to make an impossible choice between their personal health and exposure to the coronavirus.
About People For the American Way
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. Learn more: http://www.pfaw.org