Senators, voting advocates push for safer voting options for future elections


FILE – In this March 10, 2020, file photo wearing gloves, a King County Election worker collect ballots from a drop box in the Washington State primary in Seattle. Washington is a vote by mail state. A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds Democrats are now much more likely than Republicans to support their state conducting elections exclusively by mail, 47% to 29%. (AP Photo/John Froschauer, File)

ILLINOIS (WMBD) – Senators and voting advocates are pushing for legislation to ensure voters can cast their ballots safely for the November election and beyond.

During a press call Tuesday morning, Democratic senators Tammy Duckworth and Amy Klobuchar as well as Jason Kander, founder of Let America Vote, and Tiffany Muller, Let America Vote & ECU Action Funds President, spoke on The National Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act.

The bill, which Klobuchar sponsors, aims to protect the voting rights of those in harm’s way as well as emergency responders by extending early voting options at the polls 20 days earlier and expanding vote-by-mail options for all Americans.

Senator Duckworth said during a time where crowded areas can be life-threatening especially for the older population, this bill is a sensible option.

“At a time when public health experts are advising that staying at home and avoiding crowds is one of the best ways to keep everyone safe, expanding these opportunities so that more people can participate in our democracy just makes sense,” Duckworth said. “Increasing access to vote-by-mail should not be a partisan issue.”

Muller said this bill would be particularly helpful to veterans who could be at risk attending crowded polling places.

“Many of our nation’s veterans are older and more susceptible to serious health risks posed by Coronavirus,” Muller said. “Others have a disability and their ballot access has to be protected as well. Our military has been voting by mail since the Civil War”

Duckworth, who is a combat veteran herself, said she was able to vote-by-mail during her service in Iraq and she said she believes those who’ve served the U.S. as well should have that same right more than anyone.

Klobuchar said they’re currently trying to get the funding for this bill. She said there shouldn’t be a double standard when it comes to voting rights for everyone.

“I figure if it’s good enough for Donald Trump, it should be good enough for our nation’s veterans,” Klobuchar.

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