March 11, 2020 - Issue: Vol. 166, No. 47 — Daily Edition116th Congress (2019 - 2020) - 2nd Session
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. ____________________