U.S. Vote Foundation Calls on Congress to Pass the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act of 2020

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Immediate Legislative Action is Required to Provide All Voters Access to Vote-by-Mail Ballots

WASHINGTON D.C., March 24, 2020 - U.S. Vote Foundation (US Vote) today called for the United States Congress to pass the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act (NDEBA) of 2020 to ensure that all voters have access to vote-by-mail and adequate early voting options in the event of natural disasters and emergencies, such as what we are experiencing now with the COVID-19 epidemic.

"As specialists in absentee vote-by-mail ballot request services, US Vote knows that to successfully expand vote-by-mail, it cannot be a last minute decision. We strongly encourage Congress to take swift and decisive action to pass this legislation and to fully fund the improvements that will be needed for the 2020 election to be a safe one for all Americans. When exercising one's right to vote threatens lives, we have a moral duty to act to protect both the voters and our democracy," said Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, US Vote President and CEO. "Increased vote-by-mail volume could overwhelm election administrators unless immediate action is taken and they are given time to prepare."

Several states yet to hold primaries, such as New York, Connecticut, West Virginia, and Louisiana, among others, do not allow access to mail-in ballots without a specific "excuse". Due to the public health risks posed by traditional in-person voting during the current public health crisis, US Vote's position is that the COVID-19 pandemic should, at minimum, be an allowable "excuse" in any state that limits reasons to request a vote-by-mail ballot.

With a resurgence of COVID-19 possible in the fall[1], we cannot proceed with the assumption that the pandemic will have subsided by Election Day. The General Election could take place amid the same challenges, unnecessarily endangering voters in states like New York, Texas and at least twelve others again in November.

[1] - (https://ccdd.hsph.harvard.edu/will-covid-19-go-away-on-its-own-in-warmer-weather/)

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U.S. Vote Foundation (US Vote) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c) 3 organization that works to facilitate and increase the participation of U.S. domestic, overseas and military voters worldwide through streamlined voter registration and absentee ballot request services, civic data, technology development, and access to personalized voter information services. US Vote is a leader in Vote-by-Mail Absentee Ballot Request services. Overseas Vote is the principal initiative of US Vote. Further information: www.usvotefoundation.org and www.overseasvote.org

For Further Information, please contact: 

Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, susan@usvotefoundation.org, +1 (202) 470-2480