Washington, DC – Today, a coalition of eight groups: Voto Latino, The American Federation of Teachers, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Mi Familia Vota, Supermajority, Women’s March, and Demos will engage in a day of action, urging Senators to include robust electoral security and modernization policies in upcoming legislation. As the country moves closer to November’s general election, it is critical that voters can exercise their constitutional rights and feel confident that their health and safety are protected.
“Now, more than ever, it is crucial that the right to vote be protected. There is too much at stake and we must make sure our elected officials are accountable for their handling of this crisis,” said María Teresa Kumar, Founding President and CEO of Voto Latino. “Today, we are calling on the Senate to guarantee that–come November–both the ability to cast a ballot and the health and safety of the voters are protected. No one should be forced to choose.”
“We have fought for over 250 years, including a revolution and a civil war, for our citizens to have a voice in this democracy and a say in our future. Many have sacrificed mightily to strengthen and expand the right to vote; we must not backtrack—not in normal times and not in times of great crisis. It is especially vital for Americans to participate in the political process, particularly in times of upheaval,” said AFT President, Randi Weingarten.
“The reforms we need in the midst of this pandemic are the same changes we’ve long needed to dismantle the structural barriers locking Black and brown voters out of full participation in our democracy,” said K. Sabeel Rahman, president of Demos. “By making online and same-day voter registration universal, expanding vote-by-mail systems and ensuring it is racially equitable, and securing in-person voting we can protect the fundamental right to vote for millions of Americans in 2020 and beyond.”
“During this unprecedented time, our government should be working to establish safe, innovative, and accessible voting procedures before the November election. With 82 percent of women saying they would like the government to provide alternatives to in-person voting, the government should listen and act,” said Cecile Richards, co-founder of Supermajority. “If we do not have safe procedures for the November election, we risk having thousands of voters disenfranchised, especially in communities that already experience voter suppression. The government has an opportunity and an obligation to ensure that the wellbeing of voters and the integrity of each vote are top priorities by supporting fair and safe elections.”
“Our communities are facing challenging times, we must meet them where they are. While also using these challenges as an opportunity to strengthen our democracy, not weaken it. In the midst of helping our communities we are fighting to make the necessary reforms to make voting easier for everyone, said Hector Sanchez CEO and Executive Director of Mi Familia Vota. “The robust electoral security and modernization policies presented by this coalition will help us meet the challenges of this moment head on. No one should have to choose between voting and their health this November.”
“Today we think of the women of color, people of color, women, and allies who put their bodies on the line to secure us all the right to vote," said Rachel Carmona, chief operating officer of Women's March. "The battle against disenfranchisement is far from over, and today we are advocating for a better future. No one should have to clear hurdles to be able to practice the right to vote. This pandemic has exacerbated the inequities that have persisted in our country for far too long, and when it comes to expanding safe, secure, and universal voting the solutions are clear. We need to center equity as we implement systems that protect the vote like online and same day voter registration, and vote-by-mail systems. The time is now.”
"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 Alvina Yeh, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO. “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."
"If we are to have safe and inclusive elections, it is incumbent upon all of us to ensure the most vulnerable populations have unfettered access to the ballot box amid COVID-19 and beyond,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP. “Full voter participation is essential to ensure elected leaders and policy decisions meet the needs of the community. Early voting, vote-by-mail, and other democratic considerations must be adopted in order to engage citizens, increase participation, and ensure the safety of the public. If we start now, we can protect our people and protect our democracy."
The integrity of our nation’s elections must not be called into question, even in the face of COVID-19. This is why the aforementioned organizations are demanding common sense and effective reforms to be put in place with enough time for the states to enact them. Follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #ProtectOurVote.
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.
The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.
Demos is a dynamic think-and-do tank that powers the movement for a just, inclusive, multiracial democracy. Through cutting-edge policy research, inspiring litigation, and deep relationships with grassroots organizations, Demos champions solutions that will create a democracy and economy rooted in racial equity. To learn more visit www.demos.org.
Mi Familia Vota is a national civic engagement organization that unites Latino, immigrant, and allied communities to promote social and economic justice through citizenship workshops, voter registration, and voter participation. Mi Familia Vota has operations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and Texas.
Supermajority is a women’s equality organization, made up of women of all backgrounds, races and ages who are coming together to create a future where we are truly equal. Supermajority is connecting women with each other, and building on our collective power by providing the information, training and resources to take action in our neighborhoods, our workplaces and in the voting booth.
Women’s March is a women-led movement providing intersectional education on a diverse range of issues and creating entry points for new grassroots activists & organizers to engage in their local communities through trainings, outreach programs and events. Women’s March is committed to dismantling systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance and building inclusive structures guided by self-determination, dignity and respect.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our five “Game Changer” issue areas here.