ACLU’s Testimony for the Senate Rules Committee Hearing on the 2020 Election
The ACLU submitted this written testimony to the Senate Rules and Administration Committee for its July 22, 2020 hearing on “2020 General Election Preparedness.” Our testimony focuses on the significant disruptions to our democratic process caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been particularly detrimental to the voting rights of people of color, Native Americans and Alaska Natives, people with disabilities, and language minority voters. The testimony includes an appendix of pending ACLU voting rights litigation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including those dealing with witness/notary requirements.
Congress has a critical role to ensure voters are not disenfranchised as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Baseline federal standards are necessary to ensure Americans are not forced into unsafe conditions to exercise their fundamental right to vote. These baseline rules must include, at a minimum, (i) an option to vote absentee by mail and (ii) expanded early in-person voting to create safer voting conditions. Expanding access to early voting and voting by mail will let voters avoid crowds at polling locations and minimize person-to-person contact, reducing their risk of contracting COVID-19 while voting. Recent polling shows that Americans broadly support the availability of both no-excuse absentee voting by mail and expanded in-person voting options during the pandemic regardless of party affiliation.