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31 Mar
0

Democrats Call for Immediate Federal and State Action

For Immediate Release
March 31, 2020

Media Contact:
Angela Allmond, Communications Director
Oklahoma Democratic Party
405-536-2412

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

27 Mar
0

DNC on Congress Passing Coronavirus Relief Bill

DNC on Congress Passing Coronavirus Relief Bill

DNC Chair Tom Perez on Congress passing a $2 trillion bipartisan bill for coronavirus relief:

“A historic crisis calls for a historic response, and that’s exactly what Congress has delivered. Thanks to the leadership of Senator Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, and Democrats in Congress, we finally have a bipartisan deal that puts workers and Americans’ public health first. Democrats fought for more funding for our beleaguered health care system, expanded unemployment benefits for millions of Americans, and immediate relief to small businesses and workers that will save jobs and staunch the bleeding from our economy.

“Millions of Americans are hurting right now. Schools are closed, workers are worried about their next paycheck, friends and families are separated, and the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. skyrockets with each passing day. That’s why Democrats urged Republicans and President Trump to join them in taking bold action to help the American people. And that’s why when Republicans first responded with a bill that put corporate profits over the well-being of workers, Democrats held their ground and fought for a better deal.

“Help is on the way. But this is just the beginning. We must continue to do everything we can to stop the spread of this virus. That means we need true leadership in the White House. Unfortunately, President Trump has refused to listen to the advice of health experts and put the lives of millions at risk. As Trump fails every test of presidential leadership in crisis, Democrats will continue fighting to protect the American people.”

25 Mar
0

Lowe Recovering After Testing Positive for COVID-19

Communications & Public Affairs
March 25, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Jason Lowe
Office: (405) 557-7367

Lowe Recovering After Testing Positive for COVID-19

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma State Rep. Jason Lowe is recovering and doing well after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.

Lowe reported several days ago he began experiencing symptoms that included a fever, chills, body aches and exhaustion. He immediately contacted his primary care physician and quarantined at home. Although Lowe is currently showing no symptoms, he is continuing to self-isolate so that he does not pose a risk to others.

“I am extremely grateful for the care that I received, and I have a new appreciation for what thousands of Oklahoma health care workers are dealing with right now,” Lowe said. “I encourage us all to support those in our communities who put their lives on the line for the citizens of the great state of Oklahoma. Let’s lift these selfless professionals up in prayer and support during this crisis.”

Lowe is committed to working with state government partners to address this unique health care issue. He plans to continue to work remotely from his home and encourages the residents of House District 97 to contact his office with any issues they may have.

The OKC legislator encourages the public to heed government warnings relating to social distancing in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“It is of vital importance that we all stay home to help flatten the curve swiftly and effectively,” Lowe said. “I am encouraged that we will get through this together. Thank you for your continued support and prayers.”

For more information on COVID-19 please visit www.coronavirus.health.ok.gov.

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23 Mar
0

DNC on 10th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act

DNC on 10th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act

DNC Chair Tom Perez released the following statement on the 10th anniversary of President Obama signing the Affordable Care Act into law:

“The world is in crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic is a sobering reminder of just how important health care is American families. Democrats understand that, which is why 10 years ago today, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. This landmark legislation represented the largest overhaul of our health care system in half a century and improved the lives of millions of Americans.

“Thanks to this law, more than 20 million Americans have gained coverage; the uninsured rate in the United States dropped to a record low; insurers cannot deny or drop coverage for people with preexisting conditions; young people can stay on their parents’ plans until they’re 26 years old; states have been able to expand Medicaid, offering care to millions more Americans; more than 55 million women have gained access to birth control with no co-pay; and insurers can no longer impose cruel annual and lifetime limits on the care you can receive.

“These reforms have saved lives and made our country stronger. And they have never been more important than right now, as we confront one of the most dangerous pandemics in modern history. Yet, President Trump and Republican lawmakers have made it their mission to repeal the ACA. They’ve tried to pass bill after bill that would kick millions off their health insurance, gut funding for Medicaid, and strip coverage protections from people with preexisting conditions. And when their repeal efforts have failed, they’ve gone to court in an attempt to destroy the law.

“As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of this historic law, Democrats are recommitting ourselves to a simple but powerful principle: Health care is a right, and Republican efforts to take it away are wrong. Make no mistake: health care is on the ballot in 2020. And the American people are ready to elect a president they can trust to protect i

16 Mar
0

Legislative Leaders Announce Updated Capitol Access Policy for COVID-19

March 16, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: John Estus
Office of House Speaker Charles McCall
Capitol: (405) 557-7439
Cell: (405) 706-0084

Legislative Leaders Announce Updated Capitol Access Policy for COVID-19

OKLAHOMA CITY – House and Senate leaders on Monday announced restricted access to the Capitol building in response to the COVID-19 challenge in Oklahoma.

Beginning Tuesday, in order to reduce the potential for community spread of COVID-19, access to the Capitol will be restricted to elected state officials, essential Capitol staff, credentialed press and state officials invited to essential meetings. These restrictions are similar to protocols put in place recently at the U.S. Capitol and other capitol buildings nationwide.

The actions were announced jointly by House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, and Senate Minority Leader Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City.

“We consulted public health officials about access to the Capitol building, and they affirmed limited access is the right decision at this time in order to protect the public,” McCall said. “This change protects public health while allowing Legislature to keep working so the government can continue functioning. We will monitor the situation on a day-by-day basis in the event further actions are needed. Oklahomans should know we are fully engaged on this matter and working collaboratively in a bipartisan manner to confront this challenge.”

Republicans and Democrats in both chambers met in rare joint Caucus meetings Monday to discuss the changes and hear from health officials about the state’s ongoing response to coronavirus and COVID-19.

“This is an extraordinary and unprecedented situation happening across the globe,” Treat said. “All Oklahomans should heed the guidance and direction of state and federal health officials to help stop the spread of this virus. These practical and necessary steps are a way for the Legislature, in a bipartisan and bicameral manner, to do our part to ‘flatten the curve,’ while protecting public health and providing flexibility for the Senate and House to continue functioning.”

Despite the limited access to the building, committee meetings and floor sessions can continue to be monitored by the public through live streaming online, and legislation will continue to be publicly available in accordance with existing rules. Additionally, maintaining the presence of the press in the building will allow for continued public awareness of the work being done at the Capitol.

“Right now, the legislature is focused on doing the work of the people in the safest way possible,” Virgin said. “As information becomes available, we will do our best to ensure the public is notified in a timely manner. At this moment, we encourage Oklahomans to stay vigilant and remain proactive by adhering to the recommendations of the CDC.”

The leaders said legislative rule changes to ensure continuity of legislative operations are under consideration for adoption in the near future.

“We are focused on ensuring the critical business of the people is addressed in a way that prioritizes public safety,” Floyd said.  “I applaud the leaders and members of both chambers for their professionalism and cooperation during this challenging time.”

Audio and video from today’s press conference is available in the Dropbox link below: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/vzlu56imfuc0w3x/AAA29VUYMODn7hTOqlZe6oLKa?dl=0.

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