For Immediate Release
March 31, 2020

Media Contact:
Angela Allmond, Communications Director
Oklahoma Democratic Party

Democrats Call for Immediate Federal and State Action

We, the undersigned Democratic State Party Chairs, are calling for immediate federal and state action to ensure that every eligible voter has the opportunity to cast their ballot without the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19.

The United States of America is simultaneously in the midst of an unprecedented global viral outbreak and an extremely consequential series of elections. The rapid spread of COVID-19 has halted virtually all public gatherings and rendered the act of leaving one’s home for non-essential reasons dangerous. As things stand, both of these acts are necessary for millions of American voters to uphold their Constitutional right to select their representatives.

Every state is currently unprepared to address the seismic shift in election administration necessary to ensure the 2020 election proceeds during a pandemic and must start implementing these changes by mid-April. The funding is needed right now to protect the 2020 election.

If left unchanged, our current electoral system poses a severe public health risk that could rapidly accelerate the spread of COVID-19 while disenfranchising countless voters and calling into question the legitimacy of our elections. Just like our healthcare system and our economy, our elections infrastructure will need a massive infusion of resources to ensure that elections can go on and every voter has access to the ballot during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To remedy this untenable situation, we urge federal lawmakers to immediately appropriate at least $2 billion for state and local elections administrators to implement the following reforms:

  • a universal and easily accessible vote-by-mail system which should include:
    provisions for free or prepaid postage,

    • allowing ballots postmarked by election day to count,
    • reforming any signature match laws to protect voters,
    • and allowing community organizations to collect and deliver voted, sealed ballots.
  • extended early voting periods to allow for in-person voters to practice social distancing
  • expanded voter registration options, including both online and same-day registration
    voter outreach and education to raise awareness around these changes
  • prohibition of polling place adjustments that disproportionately affect marginalized communities
  • ensure that the millions of overseas American voters can participate fully in the political process

We recognize that these proposals are not made in a vacuum and that the debate surrounding electoral reform is mired in partisanship. However, we are also heartened to see political leaders setting aside party affiliation and acting in the best interest of our nation. As our government takes action to protect our economy from COVID-19, we cannot and will not allow our democracy to fall by the wayside.

Action to safeguard our electoral system cannot wait. In a matter of weeks, millions of Americans across several states will be asked to vote in municipal and primary elections, and they deserve better than the impossible choice between preserving their well-being and casting their ballots.

Federal, state and local policymakers and election officials need to act right now to protect the health of our families, neighbors and communities and ensure that our core democratic functions including elections can continue to function.

Ken Martin Raymond Buckley
President, Association of State Democratic Committees President Emeritus
Chairman, Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Chair, New Hampshire Democratic Party

Christopher England
Chair, Alabama Democratic Party

Casey Steinau
Chair, Alaska Democratic Party

Aliitama Sotoa
Chair, Democratic Party of American Samoa

Michael John Gray
Chair, Democratic Party of Arkansas

Rusty Hicks
Chair, California Democratic Party

Morgan Carroll
Chair, Colorado Democratic Party

Nancy Wyman
Chair, Connecticut Democratic Party

Erik Raser-Schramm
Chairman, Delaware Democratic Party

Julia Bryan
Chair, Democrats Abroad

Charles Wilson
Chair, District of Columbia Democratic State Committee

Terrie Rizzo
Chairwoman, Florida Democratic Party

Nikema Williams
Chair, Democratic Party of Georgia

Kate Stanley
Chair, Democratic Party of Hawaii

Evangeline Beechler
Chair, Idaho Democratic Party

John Zody
Chair, Indiana Democratic Party

Mark Smith
Chair, Iowa Democratic Party

Vicki Hiatt
Chair, Kansas Democratic Party

Ben Self
Chair, Kentucky Democratic Party

Kathleen Marra
Chair, Maine Democratic Party

Yvette Lewis
Chair, Maryland Democratic Party

Gus Bickford
Chair, Massachusetts Democratic Party

Lavora Barnes
Chair, Michigan Democratic Party

Bobby Moak
Chairman, Mississippi Democratic Party

Jean Peters Baker
Chair, Missouri Democratic Party

Robyn Driscoll
Chair, Montana Democratic Party

Jane Kleeb
Chair, Nebraska Democratic Party

William McCurdy II
Chair, Nevada State Democratic Party

Marg Elliston
Chair, Democratic Party of New Mexico

Jay Jacobs
Chair, New York State Democratic Party

Wayne Goodwin
Chairman, North Carolina Democratic Party

Kylie Oversen
Chairwoman, North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party

Nola Hix
Chair, Northern Mariana Islands Democratic Party

David Pepper
Chair, Ohio Democratic Party

Alicia Andrews
Chair, Oklahoma Democratic Party

Carla “KC” Hanson
Chair, Democratic Party of Oregon

Nancy Patton Mills
Chair, Pennsylvania Democratic Party

Charles Rordriguez
Chairman, Puerto Rico Democratic Party

Trav Robertson
Chair, South Carolina Democratic Party

Randy Seiler
Chair, South Dakota Democratic Party

Mary Mancini
Chair, Tennessee Democratic Party

Gilberto Hinojosa
Chair, Texas Democratic Party

Jeff Merchant
Chair, Utah Democratic Party

Terje Anderson
Chair, Vermont Democratic Party

Susan Swecker
Chair, Democratic Party of Virginia

Cecil R. Benjamin
Chairman, Democratic Party of the Virgin Islands

Tina Podlodowski
Chair, Washington State Democratic Party

Belinda Biafore
Chair, West Virginia Democratic Party

Ben Wikler
Chair, Democratic Party of Wisconsin

Joseph M. Barbuto
Chair, Wyoming Democratic Party