Malinowski Fights to Ensure November Elections are Protected Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

March 20, 2020
Press Release

(Somerville, NJ) Today, Congressman Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA) led 56 of their colleagues in sending a letter to Congressional leadership urging them to prioritize the security and continuity of our nation's election system in the next coronavirus relief package.

“Upcoming coronavirus legislation should include provisions mandating no excuse early voting and vote by mail options in every state, and make funds available for the rapid implementation of both. These tools have the benefit of encouraging both turn out and social distancing, ensuring Americans can remain safe while carrying out their civic duty,” wrote the lawmakers.

New Jersey has already announced that municipal elections will be postponed until May 12th, and will require voters to submit all ballots by mail. States across the country are making similar decisions. Based on the projected timeline of a vaccine for coronavirus- it is vital that we prepare for it to affect the November election.

“We may be forced to decide that an all vote by mail election is our only choice if we hope to keep people safe and protect the continuity of our democratic elections,” said Representative Malinowski. “The most important thing we can do is enable states to prepare ahead of time.”

You can find the text of the letter below and here.

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi                          The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Speaker                                                           Majority Leader

U.S. House of Representatives                       U.S. Senate

 

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy                    The Honorable Charles Schumer

Minority Leader                                              Minority Leader

U.S. House of Representatives                       U.S. Senate

 

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy, and Leader Schumer:

As Congress continues to confront the new and unforeseen challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic the undersigned strongly urge our leadership to prioritize the security and continuity of our nation's election system. It’s vital that we take action now to protect the November election and ensure that it takes place safely.

At no point in our nation's history has a national crisis made it impossible to hold a credible national election. The COVID-19 pandemic raises that possibility — it presents unique challenges to regularly scheduled, in person, voting that even war and natural disasters do not.

We are already seeing indefinite postponements of primary elections around the country in an effort to limit crowd size, promote social distancing, and protect elderly voters and election workers, among other concerns. Given projected timelines for vaccine development, it's becoming increasingly clear that this virus will be with us through the November elections. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to begin preparations now — and, given the uncertainties Congress is facing, to take action at the next legislative opportunity.

Upcoming coronavirus legislation should include provisions mandating no excuse early voting and vote by mail options in every state, and make funds available for the rapid implementation of both. These tools have the benefit of encouraging both turn out and social distancing, ensuring Americans can remain safe while carrying out their civic duty.

In times of crisis it’s crucial for Americans to see that the basic foundations of our democracy and constitutional system are being protected and maintained. As their representatives we have no higher duty than to ensure their voices continue to be heard.

Sincerely,