U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on House Administration, Subcommittee on Elections
Hearing Title: The Impact of COVID-19 on Voting Rights and Election Administration: Ensuring Safe and Fair Elections
Thursday, June 4, 2020
Submitted by the Niskanen Center
The coronavirus pandemic threatens to radically disrupt the November elections, potentially resulting in millions of citizens being unable to vote or to have their votes counted. Mass disenfranchisement on this scale puts the integrity of American democracy at risk. A secure election in the United States means that voters, poll workers, election officials, ballots, and vote counts are free, fair, and safe from any undue influence. As we find ourselves in an unprecedented public health and economic crisis, these measures are now especially critical. The 2016 election was fraught with evidence of tampering and undue foreign influence. The breakdown during the Iowa Democratic presidential primary this year is a troubling harbinger for future elections if the security of the voting process is not addressed seriously and urgently.
At the Niskanen Center, we believe that election security must transcend partisan divisions and advance a practical policy vision that addresses the urgent needs of states in administering future elections. We applaud the work of the Committee on House Administration and Subcommittee on Elections towards furthering these shared goals. We must work together to address temporary state needs in a bipartisan fashion, to ensure the safety and security of elections now and through November 2020. For its part, the Niskanen Center respectfully requests the Committee consider the following recommendations:
1. Waive the 20 percent state funding match for disbursement of election support funding from CARES Act in exigent circumstances and provide additional election assistance funding;
2. Provide additional funding for PPE and crackdown on COVID-19 procurement scams;
3. Delay 20-day reporting requirement for states and extend the obligation date;
4. Support measures to end ballot harvesting; and
5. Create a new program that funds university and college students to work to prepare for and administer elections.
Read the full statement here.