Updated guidance recommends use of face coverings,
voting alternatives that minimize contact, and safety measures for voters and election officials
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration with jurisdiction over federal elections, and Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), has issued updated guidance for voters, election officials, and poll workers to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).The guidance was issued following a request made in May by Klobuchar, Murray, and 25 of their colleagues. The Senators’ request for comprehensive and updated guidance followed the April Wisconsin primary in which roughly 70 cases of COVID-19 were reported among voters who showed up to the polls on Election Day as well as poll workers.
“Due to the virus’ mode of transmission, public health experts and election officials agree that voting must be made safer through the expansion of early in-person voting, which reduces lines and crowds at polling locations, voting by mail, and the implementation of safety measures to protect election workers and in-person voters. To ensure election officials and voters are prepared to overcome the challenges brought on by this pandemic, the CDC should provide comprehensive and up-to-date public health guidance for voting by mail and in-person voting,” Klobuchar, Murray, and their colleagues wrote.
“In the midst of this pandemic, voters should not need to choose between their health and casting their ballots,” Klobuchar said. “This guidance from the CDC makes it clear that the government must take steps to protect voters. Now we should pass my legislation to guarantee every voter can cast a mail-in ballot and everyone has access to at least 20 days of early voting so we can reduce lines on Election Day for those that need to vote in person.”
“As we continue working to slow the spread of this virus and keep people healthy, ensuring voters can safely cast their ballots is critical to securing our elections and preserving our democracy,” Murray said. “I’m glad to see CDC issue this vital guidance, which is an important step in the right direction that will help protect citizens’ ability to vote. But this still only scratches the surface, and I’m going to keep pushing with my colleagues for more federal funding, as well as policies like nationwide access to mail-in voting, to help ensure a free, fair, and accessible election this November.”
In addition to Klobuchar and Murray, the letter in May was signed by Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tina Smith (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Doug Jones (D-AL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mark Warner (D-VA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Chris Coons (D-DE), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
The updated CDC guidance can be found HERE.