Chairperson Lofgren Statement on EAC Hearing about 2020 Primary Elections
San Jose, Calif. - Committee on House Administration Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) issued the following statement ahead of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC)’s public hearing, “Lessons Learned from the 2020 Primary Elections”:
“This year’s primary elections have revealed the considerable challenges voters and state and local election officials face.
“Many voters across the nation have been forced to navigate massive polling place closures, confusing and conflicting information about voting procedures, crowded polling places which place their health at risk, and institutional breakdowns in the orderly administration of elections.
“While many states have diligently worked to adopt vote-by-mail and other policies to allow voters to cast their ballots safely, some states have absurdly adopted - or fought in court to maintain - burdensome restrictions on voters reasonably seeking to safely vote by mail in the middle of a deadly viral pandemic over fatuous claims of voter fraud. As a Brennan Center for Justice report found, it is “more likely for an American to be struck by lightning than to commit mail voting fraud.”
“This discordant approach to administering elections makes clear the pressing need for federal standards to protect the safety, security, and integrity of our elections. We must protect voters and poll workers by providing expanded vote by mail and safe in-person early voting options in order to preserve social distancing and reduce dangerous overcrowding at polling locations. Clear federal standards are necessary so voters know how, when, and where to vote with the confidence their ballot will be counted as cast. Equally important, Congress must expeditiously provide state and local election officials with sufficient funding to respond to the many challenges they face in administering elections during a viral pandemic.
“Time is of the essence, and while the House of Representatives has done its part to bolster support for elections in the Heroes Act passed nearly two months ago, Senate Republicans have failed to act on this important legislation, opting instead to do nothing. Today’s hearing is an important reminder that the Senate can no longer sit idly by as our election officials struggle to respond to the rapidly changing dynamics and difficulties posed by the coronavirus.”
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s upcoming hearing will continue a nationwide conversation about changes to elections systems during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In April, the Election Assistance Commission held a public hearing with state and local election officials and experts in the elections administration field to discuss expanding vote-by-mail and establishing standards for safe in-person voting. This hearing also focused on ensuring that any changes to election systems protect the security of elections and maintain accessibility for voters with disabilities.
The public hearing will be held on July 8, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpN6i0g2rlF4ITWhwvBwwZw.
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