Voter advocate Helen Butler, executive director of the Coalition for the People’s Agenda, a group that helps lead election protection efforts in Georgia, told Sludge that Congress can safeguard democracy during the pandemic by passing legislation for Election Day voter registration, drop-off ballot locations, and more.
“That means establishing provisions in the next round of stimulus funding to help states pay for universal distribution of vote-by-mail application forms and vote-by-mail ballots; an additional helpful step would be covering the cost of postage on vote-by-mail ballots,” Butler said.
“Statistics are showing that Black Americans in particular, and members of historically marginalized communities generally—people of color and members of low-income and underserved communities—are at a greater risk of catching and succumbing to COVID-19,” Butler said. “To protect these already vulnerable communities when they strive to exercise their rights to vote, state lawmakers should follow in the footsteps of what we’re doing here in Georgia by making it easier to vote by mail. For those who choose to vote in person, voting stations should be sanitized after each use, and voters should be provided with hand sanitizers, gloves, and masks. Polling locations serving populations at greater risk of contracting the virus should be protected with extra care, including providing the capability to drop ballots in safe, secure drop boxes.”
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