Voto Latino Leads Coalition of Civil Rights and Advocacy Organizations in Support of S.3529

The Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act of 2020, introduced by Sens. Klobuchar and Wyden seeks to expand early voting and vote-by-mail to protect voters in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Washington, DC –  Today, Voto Latino is excited to present a coalition of national civil rights and advocacy organizations publicly supporting the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act of 2020 (NDEBA), introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon. The bill would guarantee voters in all 50 states a full 20 days of early in-person voting, the right to no-excuse absentee vote-by-mail, the acceptance of absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day and received through the 10th day after Election Day, and ensure states implement a specified signature curing procedure for voters, among other protections.

“In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Voto Latino and its coalition partners are proud to endorse these crucially-needed election accessibility and safety measures that will ensure any and all Americans who are eligible to vote, are able to do so safely,” said María Teresa Kumar, Founding President and CEO of Voto Latino. “It is the responsibility of our elected leaders to ensure the health and safety of the American people, especially as voters across the country seek to make their voices heard at polls, both in their respective states’ primary elections and the general election in November.”

The coalition is made up of Voto Latino; Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance; NextGen America; March For Our Lives; Promise Arizona in Action; Progressive Turnout Project; MANA, A National Latina Organization; Mi Familia Vota; Rock the Vote; RAICES Action; When We All Vote; National Council of Jewish Women; Stop Handgun Violence; National Black Justice Coalition; Progressive Change Campaign Committee; Generation Citizen; Human Rights Campaign; and Supermajority.

“Voting rights and accessibility for young people were already being threatened prior to the pandemic,” NextGen America Executive Director Ben Wessel said. “We deserve to safely and easily be able to cast our ballots, and the provisions in this bill are an absolute must for our current circumstances.”

“Only the Republican Party would turn the worst health and economic crisis of our lifetime into an opportunity to suppress the vote,” said Alex Morgan, Executive Director of Progressive Turnout Project. “Wisconsin’s sham primary made it clear that without robust election protections found in this bill, like vote by mail, Americans will be forced to choose between their lives and their right to vote. That’s not just morally wrong, it’s unAmerican.”

“We are at an inflection point where voting will have life or death consequences unless action is taken,” said Amy L. Hinojosa, President and CEO of MANA, A National Latina Organization. “The coronavirus pandemic presents a clear public health need to provide ballots in the safest way possible. Leaders of good faith should transcend partisan politics in the interest of saving lives while administering free and fair elections.”

“The right to vote is a fundamental part of our democracy,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Yet, across the country, there are concerted efforts to prevent and discourage people from voting. In this unprecedented assault to win a partisan and ideological advantage, people of color,  LGBTQ people, young people and others are being targeted, often with surgical precision. Congress must act to help states keep voters safe and encourage participation in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Our democracy is stronger when more Americans are involved,” said Alexis Confer, Executive Director of March For Our Lives. “Protecting and expanding our country’s right to vote is essential for ensuring our people are heard. We believe this bill will help further protect these rights on a nonpartisan basis, and allow more young Americans the chance to be heard. Our vote is our voice, and the young people of our country, and many more, will be heard.”

“We are running ads in Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky pressuring him to support vote-by-mail proposals like the Wyden-Klobuchar bill,” said Maria Langholz, spokesperson for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “Any final bill must not just provide funding, but have conditions to ensure that states remove as many steps from the voting process as possible — like Washington State’s system, where every voter is automatically sent a ballot. No one should have to choose between exercising their right to vote and protecting their and their neighbors’ health.”

“As we’ve seen during this pandemic, pre-existing structures did not work for all of us. Economic divides and racial inequities have multiplied the negative impacts of COVID-19 and made access inequitable. This nation’s voting systems are the same: we need to affirmatively build up better structures,” said APALA Executive Director Alvina Yeh. “Decisions have been made FOR frontline workers and communities that increase COVID-19 deaths every day. Congress must, at the very least, protect the right to vote, so that we all have the power to make this critical decision in November.”

“We’re at a turning point in our country right now. As a frontline organization that is fighting for immigration justice through advocacy and political action, we have witnessed firsthand what happens when directly impacted communities are shut out of the process,” said Barbara Peña, Director of Strategic Partnerships for RAICES Action. “Democracy is for all of us. We’re pleading with our leaders to stop playing politics. This is fundamental to the health and safety of our people. We believe the National Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act can save lives and protect the right to vote.”

We strongly urge the Senate to pass the NDEBA, send it to the House, and get it on the President’s desk as quickly as possible to ensure that our elections are safe and secure, both for the sake of the voters and our electoral system’s integrity.

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Voto Latino is a grassroots political organization focused on educating and empowering a new generation of Latinx voters, as well as creating a more robust and inclusive democracy. Through innovative digital campaigns, culturally relevant programs and authentic voices, we shepherd the Latinx community towards the full realization of its political power.

Progressive Turnout Project is the largest national grassroots-funded organization with a single mission: get Democrats to the polls. PTP designs, tests, and executes specialized voter-turnout programs targeting inconsistent Democratic voters in the most competitive elections across the country. In 2020, the organization will invest $52.5 million to knock on over 10.1 million doors and get out the vote in 17 presidential and Senate battleground states.

Founded in 1974, MANA, A National Latina Organization® (MANA) is a national grassroots membership organization with chapters, individual members and affiliates across the country. MANA represents the interests of Hispanic women, youth and families on issues that impact our communities. The MANA mission is to empower Latinas through leadership development, community service, education, and advocacy.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

March For Our Lives is a national student-led movement to end gun violence in America. Its mission is to harness the power of young people across the country to fight for sensible gun violence prevention policies that save lives. Since the historic march in the nation’s capital and 800+ sibling marches in 2018, MFOL registered thousands of new voters, helped to pass more than 50 gun safety laws around the country, held the 2020 Presidential Gun Safety Forum, and released the bold gun safety plan Peace Plan For A Safer America. Concurrently MFOL has established nearly 300 youth-led chapters across the country, continuously growing this chapter network to give young people a local forum to exercise their activism. For more information visit www.marchforourlives.com.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is a grassroots, progressive organization that endorses a select number of candidates each cycle. For top endorsed campaigns, the PCCC provides in-depth strategic support and resources — including mobilizing a million PCCC members to donate and volunteer. Since its founding in 2009, the PCCC has raised over $29 million for progressive candidates and committees — including over $1.17 million from over 70,000 small-dollar donations for Elizabeth Warren’s 2012 Senate run.

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO was founded in 1992 as the first and only national organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) union members to advance worker, immigrant and civil rights. Learn more at www.apalanet.org.