Voters must be given extra assurances amid COVID-19 physical distancing measures
WASHINGTON – Today the League of Women Voters of the United States CEO Virginia Kase issued the following statement together with Chris Carson, the national board president, and the national board of directors, calling for a nationwide expansion of no-excuse absentee voting and mail-in ballots due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak:
“The League of Women Voters officially calls on all states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia to expand no-excuse absentee voting and mail-in ballots for the duration of the 2020 election cycle. In light of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, it is imperative for state election officials to address voters’ and poll workers’ fears by limiting the need to cast an in-person ballot. The time to act is now.
“We call on all states to take the necessary measures to ensure voters have increased time and opportunities to request and return mail-in ballots and to make ballots available for pickup and drop-off at any polling location, especially for voters in vulnerable communities. Secretaries of State should work directly with local election officials to educate voters on these more flexible expanded methods for casting ballots.
“This added flexibility will, of course, add to the time it takes for election results to be counted. Under these circumstances, it is critical that all citizens have the ability to vote safely, and appropriate time is allotted to ensure all votes are fully counted.
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“We call on the Democratic and Republican National Committees to encourage all states to provide more accessible options for all voters at this critical time. The national party leaders should follow the lead of Indiana party leaders and find ways for election officials to provide greater flexibility for voters by suspending rules around who can request absentee ballots and allow for no-excuse absentee options with reasonable adjustments to the deadlines associated with these options.
“We have seen elected officials in many states step up on behalf of voters, taking precautions for poll workers, partnering across the aisle, and calling for more flexibility in voting. These actions demonstrate our ability to come together as a country. Our top priority must be the health and safety of the American people while simultaneously upholding the rights of all voters.
“Just as generations before us have met the challenges of their time, so shall we, and the League of Women Voters is committed to ensuring our elections remain safe and accessible for all.”