Federal Democratic Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Dramatically Expand Vote by Mail
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced new legislation on Thursday to give millions of Americans the option to vote from home. The Vote at Home Act seeks to expand vote by mail access, provide voters with pre-paid ballot envelopes to return their mail-in ballots and enact automatic voter registration.
“Our democracy is stronger when every American can vote, without standing in ridiculous lines or having to take time off work or school to exercise their Constitutional rights,” Wyden said. “Oregonians know that voting at home is a time-tested, secure and accessible way to vote. It’s high time the rest of the country had the chance to vote the way we do.”
“The individual right to vote, the cornerstone of our democracy, is under threat in communities across America. Last year we saw a widespread expansion of vote-at-home access as a safe and secure way to participate during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Blumenauer said. “We should continue to make voting easier, not harder. This important bill would strengthen and clarify the right to vote at home, the most secure and convenient way for voters to exercise the franchise.”
Specifically, the Vote at Home Act would:
- Create national no-excuse mail-in voting: All registered voters would receive ballots in the mail weeks before Election Day and would be able to cast them via the mail or at a drop-off site. Voters that want to vote in person would still be able to do so in lieu of voting by mail.
- Fund the USPS: The U.S. Postal Service would be allocated appropriate funding to cover all costs related to sending and returning mail-in ballots in federal elections.
- Enact automatic voter registration: Any citizen who provides identifying information to a state motor vehicle authority would be automatically registered to vote. Voters would have 21 days to “opt out” if they do not wish to remain registered.