Progressive groups pressed the Senate on Friday to reconvene "immediately" and approve more aid for states struggling to prepare for a presidential contest in the middle of a pandemic.
A letter from 31 left-leaning organizations to the Republican majority leadership is highly unlikely to alter the calendar, which has senators in recess next week. Instead, it highlights that election funding will be a high-profile, intensely lobbied and potentially partisan issue when Congress does negotiate its next coronavirus recovery package.
Congress allocated $400 million in March to help states conduct elections this year, an amount labeled wholly insufficient not only by voting rights groups but also by state and local election officials from both parties.
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South Carolina has agreed to pay the postage on all mail-in ballots in the November election.
Wednesday's decision, which looks to cost the state between $750,000 and $1.2 million, partly settles one of the three-dozen lawsuits the Democrats are pursuing across the country to make voting for president easy no matter how bad the coronavirus pandemic this fall.
Many of the suits are similarly pressing states to provide postage-paid return envelopes along with all absentee ballots. Making voters affix their own stamps, the Democrats maintain, will unfairly suppress turnout and amounts to an unconstitutional poll tax.
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Good-government groups are suing the New York Board of Elections to secure improvements to what they say is a "flawed" absentee ballot verification system.
New York has consistently had one of the highest absentee ballot rejection rates in the country, and voters aren't given the opportunity to address problems, such as a missing signature. In 2018, state election officials tossed out 34,000 ballots, or 14 percent of the total mail ballots cast.
With many more New Yorkers expected to vote by mail in November due to the Covid-19 pandemic, good-government groups argue the state's current ballot verification process is unconstitutional and could lead to thousands more disenfranchised voters this fall.
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Fisher is deputy director of Unite America, which works to enact and helps finance political reform efforts and candidates "who put people over party." (It is a donor to The Fulcrum.)
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