The top Democrats on three Senate committees on Thursday demanded their Republican counterparts hold hearings examining the impact of COVID-19 on elections following chaos at the polls in Georgia this week.
Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) sent a letter to Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asking that they examine election vulnerabilities after several coronavirus-related challenges.
“Nobody should have to choose between their health and their right to vote, and Americans deserve accurate information about our democracy," the Senate Democrats wrote. "Primary voters across Georgia and Wisconsin can attest to the fact that failure to enact reforms and provide assistance to states will result in widespread chaos, the disenfranchisement of voters, and even voters and election workers becoming sick."
The issues occurred two months after a Supreme Court ruling forced many Wisconsin voters to cast their ballots in person, with dozens of COVID-19 cases subsequently traced to the election.
Congress appropriated $400 million to states to address election concerns as part of the stimulus bill signed into law by President Trump in March, but experts estimate a total of $4 billion is needed to ensure elections can move forward this year.
The House passed a new stimulus bill last month that included $3.6 billion for elections, but the legislation is stalled in the Senate. Republicans have largely objected to making election reforms, particularly boosting mail-in voting, citing concerns around federalizing elections and increased voter fraud.
The Senate Democrats on Thursday argued that there is no proof to back up claims of voter fraud, and that shoring up elections is “not a partisan issue” but an “American issue.”
Spokespersons for Blunt, Johnson and Graham did not immediately respond to The Hill’s requests for comment on potential elections-focused hearings.
House panels led by Democrats have already taken up the issue, with the elections-focused House Administration Committee to hold a hearing on coronavirus impacts on Thursday afternoon. The hearing follows another on the same topic held by the House Judiciary Committee last week.