Chairperson Lofgren Statement on CARES Act
WASHINGTON, DC - Committee on House Administration Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) issued the following statement for the record ahead of the House vote on the CARES Act:
"Americans have voted during times of great strife in the past. They voted during the Civil War, and in the shadow of World War II. Americans stand united to vote this year, as well. Coronavirus must not impede our elections.
"Some states are postponing primaries and planning for a large increase in absentee voting this November. State and local officials need time and adequate resources to ensure an orderly election.
"The Senate Amendment to H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, provides $400 million to the Election Assistance Commission to make grants that prevent, prepare for, and respond to the pandemic and the 2020 elections. The money will be provided as “Election Security Grants.” Although this is an important down payment and a first step, I am concerned that it falls short of what is necessary.
"By contrast, the House’s Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act (H.R. 6379), which I co-authored, would have provided $4 billion in funding to states to carry out this year’s elections. It would require officials to mail an absentee ballot to all registered voters during an emergency, including COVID-19. The ballot would be provided with prepaid return postage and a self-sealing envelope. It would set a minimum nationwide standard of 15 consecutive days of early voting and no-excuse absentee voting. The House bill would also require online voter registration and same-day registration—important solutions to cover voters who may have been wrongfully purged or otherwise unregistered.
"There is more to do to protect our democracy and bolster its resilience. The House’s package provides those milestones. I will continue to work with my House and Senate colleagues to address election preparedness in future legislation to respond to this pandemic."