INTRODUCTION OF THE RESILIENT ELECTIONS DURING QUARANTINES AND NATURAL DISASTERS ACT OF 2020; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 47
(Extensions of Remarks - March 11, 2020)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E301-E302]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




INTRODUCTION OF THE RESILIENT ELECTIONS DURING QUARANTINES AND NATURAL 
                         DISASTERS ACT OF 2020

                                 ______
                                 

                          HON. EARL BLUMENAUER

                               of oregon

                    in the house of representatives

                       Wednesday, March 11, 2020

  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Madam Speaker, the Novel Coronavirus (``COVID-19'') 
has already infected more than 100,000 people worldwide and killed more 
than 4,000 people. Meanwhile, millions of Americans are anxious about 
their health, safety, and job security. Earlier today, the World Health 
Organization officially declared COVID-19 a global pandemic and the 
director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases 
acknowledged that COVID-19 is ``going to get worse.''
  Without broad congressional action, COVID-19 has the potential to 
disrupt every aspect of American society, including the 2020 primary 
and general elections. The virus will likely impact voters who cannot 
leave their homes as well as those who are under mandatory or self-
imposed quarantines at the recommendation of health experts. To make 
matters worse, the Election Assistance Commission has found that 58 
percent of all poll workers in 2018 were over 60--the prime at-risk 
population for COVID-19.
  The Resilient Elections During Quarantines and Natural Disasters Act 
of 2020 requires that states and localities create and publish a plan 
to operate their elections if large numbers of voters or poll workers 
have been subjected to a mandatory quarantine or a self-quarantine at 
the advice of government officials or health experts. In the event that 
a quarter of states declaring an emergency related to COVID-19,

[[Page E302]]

another infectious disease, or a natural disaster, this legislation 
also requires states to offer all voters the ability to vote by 
absentee ballot. Finally, this legislation requires that states offer 
prepaid self-sealing postage to voters who vote absentee in order to 
reduce the risk associated with infection at post offices.
  It is critical that we take a broad view of the response to COVID-19 
and ensure that our elections are safe, secure, and accessible to all.

                          ____________________