WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee with oversight jurisdiction over federal elections, issued the following statement in response to reports of widespread problems facing primary voters in Georgia today. Reports from the metro Atlanta area indicate that voters faced hours-long lines and malfunctioning machines. Additionally, some voters never received the mail-in ballot they requested so they could safely vote from home.
“Today in Georgia, thousands of voters were met with long lines and confusion. In America, people shouldn’t have to wonder if voting machines will be operational, if their mail-in ballot will arrive in time, or whether they will have to wait hours in line to exercise their right to vote.
“In the midst of this pandemic, we need to make sure states have the resources they need to give Americans options to make their voices heard at the ballot box – simple solutions like voting by mail and expanding access to the polls through early voting so people don’t face long lines. When we don’t properly fund our elections and develop plans to protect voters, Americans -- often in communities of color -- get disenfranchised and that’s what happened today in Georgia.
“The Senate needs to pass my legislation, the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act, so that nobody has to choose between their health and their right to vote. The election is less than six months away – we must take action now.”
In March, Klobuchar and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), introduced the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act of 2020 which now has 35 other co-sponsors, to expand early in-person voting and no-excuse absentee mail voting to all states and provide states the funding and resources to improve the safety of elections during the coronavirus pandemic.
In April, Klobuchar wrote an op-ed in the New York Times on the need to expand mail voting, early voting, and online voter registration. In March, Klobuchar and Wyden wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post, highlighting the need “to protect the foundation of our democracy by ensuring that every eligible American can safely cast a ballot in the upcoming elections.”