Even before the coronavirus outbreak, forcing people to wait in line for hours to vote was unjust and unnecessary.
Now, waiting in line has an entirely different meaning. In the coming months, as Americans worry about their health, their communities, and their families, we simply cannot ask them to risk any of those things by waiting in line to vote. Republicans in Wisconsin refused to allow voters to cast ballots by mail in their special election this week.
Thousands of voters put their health at risk by standing in lines for hours, and far more stayed home and didn’t vote at all. This photo captured by Patricia McKnight perfectly encapsulates how ridiculous, unfair, and dangerous it is to force people to risk their health to vote.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Several states are already moving toward a vote-by-mail system like the one we have in Washington, but we must ensure everyone in the United States can safely cast a ballot from home. That’s why we need to fully fund nationwide vote-by-mail and guarantee the 2020 election can take place without endangering the health of our voters – or our democracy!
Democrats proposed $4 billion in funding to bring vote-by-mail to every state by the November election but Republicans would only agree on a deal with $400 million in election funding. In other words, Republicans care more about funding the stock buybacks of billionaires than our right to vote. That’s right – Republicans included more funding to bail out big businesses ($500 billion!) than they did to secure our elections in the face of a pandemic. They are not even pretending to prioritize voters over their corporate donors. It’s a disgrace.
Now more than ever the American people need to know that their right to choose a leader who can guide our country no matter the crisis is protected – and instituting vote-by-mail in every state is the key to safeguarding the presidential election!