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At Unrig online, talk of voting at home to save lives

Griffiths is a contributor to Independent Voter News.

The coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on American life and the democratic process. Voters want a meaningful say in the 2020 elections, but they don't want to risk their health to exercise their constitutionally protected right to vote.

In response, the vote-at-home movement has gained significant traction as reformers and election officials consider the best methods and practices to keep voters safe while protecting their civil rights.

What vote-at-home brings to the broad conversation on improving the democratic process was the topic of the first of a six-part, virtual Unrig Summit series, hosted this week by RepresentUs, to keep voters connected to the movements to transform the American political process.

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The office of Attorney General Dave Yost defended the latest plan for Ohio's primary voting, saying it "ends the chaos and offers Ohio voters and boards a certain path forward for completing Ohio's 2020 primary."

Voting during coronavirus eased in three more states. Ohio's still a fight.

The fast-spreading national overhaul of this year's electoral process has started to slow down — because most places that could delay their primaries or ease remote voting at the peak of the coronavirus outbreak have done so.

West Virginia has become the 15th state to postpone its Democratic presidential primary and Idaho joined more than a dozen other states in deciding almost all primary voting will be done with absentee ballots. Maryland decided to allow some in-person voting in what was to have been a totally vote-at-home primary, while the pitched battle over Ohio's primary accelerated.

These are the latest developments:

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that Democrats are seeking an additional $1.6 billion for voting services necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Standoff on timing of next stimulus masks debate over more election aid

Top congressional Democrats are promising to include much more money for healthy elections in the next coronavirus response package they're pushing. But Republicans' resistance to quickly writing such a bill is intensifying, obscuring their level of interest in additional spending to expand voting by mail, early voting and online registration.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday the measure her House majority has started putting together would provide at least $1.6 billion on top of the $400 million included in the economic rescue package passed last week.

Dozens of groups advocating for voting rights and the broader democracy reform agenda have coalesced behind that funding level as their singular focus during the pandemic, arguing that conducting a normal and trustworthy election in November will be impossible otherwise.

But Republicans in control of the Senate say they're in no rush to draft another stimulus bill, and state officials say significant delay could make it impossible to spend additional aid in time.

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RepresentUs

Democracy reform’s A-listers join the call for voting at a social distance

Voting absentee has officially become the hottest cause for the democracy reform movement during the coronavirus pandemic: The celebrities have weighed in.

The biggest pop culture icon to put her celebrity behind fixing the system, Jennifer Lawrence, started doing so again Wednesday: She launched a social media campaign to promote the virtues of voting-by-mail by sharing a video of herself in her home. At least 10 other celebrities have since joined in the conversation online.

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