On Saturday, Moms Demand Action volunteers participated in #SaveTheUSPS rallies across the country in at least 19 states. The campaign is being organized by MoveOn.
In May, Louis DeJoy –– a major Trump donor –– was named Postmaster General, and reportedly began eliminating mail sorting machines and removing mailboxes from communities. Earlier this month, President Donald Trump flatly stated his opposition to additional funding for the United States Postal Service, saying, “They need that money in order to make the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots…But if they don’t get those two items that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting.”
Despite President Trump’s assertions to the contrary, there is no evidence that vote-by-mail is fraudulent, and he has voted by mail himself. Experts say in the midst of a pandemic that has killed over 175,000 Americans, vote-by-mail can save lives. On Saturday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would block organizational changes in the U.S. Postal Service and deliver $25 billion to address funding shortfalls.
Here are some highlights from this weekend:
Earlier this year, following a virtual conversation with Fair Fight Action founder Stacey Abrams, Everytown released a set of principles to protect voting rights and expand voter access amid the coronavirus pandemic. We know that safe and equitable access to the polls are bedrock principles of American democracy and critical to the success of a people-powered movement determined to end gun violence. These principles are at their most vital — and most fragile — in a time of national crisis, so it is important to Everytown and its supporters that voters maintain unhampered access to the polls. The principles are:
Vote by Mail
At a time when we are staying home for the safety of our communities, we need to ensure Americans are able to vote in a safe — and remote — way. Every voter should be able to request a mail-in or absentee ballot at no cost and without explanation or excuse.
Americans have become accustomed to long lines at their polling places. But that’s a dangerous model for elections in the time of COVID-19. The easiest way to make sure our polling places don’t become public health hazards is to open them at least two weeks in advance of Election Day, to minimize crowds and exposure.
Safe Polling Places
The Centers for Disease Control have released guidance for how Americans can stay safe during this crisis. Every polling place in America must create a plan for making voters confident that they can show up and cast a ballot without risking their health.
Maximizing Voter Registration
People seeking to register to vote should not be hindered by pre-COVID-19 procedures, which are now impacted by office closures and staffing limitations. States should ensure that their citizens face no unnecessary burdens when registering to vote, including by supporting same-day registration and suspending any purging of voter rolls.
All Americans should be guaranteed an equal opportunity to exercise their right to vote, particularly in times of crises. As COVID-19 continues to affect American households, pre-existing obstacles to participation have been exacerbated. We must ensure safe and equitable access, including for Native American people, language minority voters, and people with disabilities.