March 17, 2020 Media

ASDC President Calls for Electoral Reform in Response to Voting Problems

In light of the voting issues that arose in Illinois and Florida as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, Ken Martin, President of the Association of State Democratic Committees (ASDC), Vice-Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Chairman of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party called for states to immediately adopt emergency measures to ensure voters are not disenfranchised by this public health crisis.

Chairman Martin released the following statement:

“Today, the United States of America failed to live up to our democratic ideals when our primary election process broke down in a myriad of ways across several states. Some voters were turned away from their polling places due to a lack of equipment or poll workers, students at colleges and universities that were barred from campuses could not vote where they reside as students, others chose to stay home out of a perfectly reasonable fear of contracting COVID-19, and still more voters were put in harm’s way due to unsanitary conditions in their polling places. This is unacceptable and cannot continue.

“Voting is a right, not a privilege for the healthy, for the young, and for those lucky enough to live near an operational polling place. It is a serious problem when even a single eligible voter is unable to cast their ballot. When large numbers of Americans are barred from voting, it’s clear that our current system has failed on a large scale and must be reformed.

“I am urging all states that have not already done so to reform their electoral processes to allow every eligible voter to cast their ballot by mail, automatically register eligible voters to vote when they turn 18, and implement early voting periods. Additionally, as states enact their vote by mail systems, they must ensure that postage is pre-paid, that ballots which are postmarked by election day be counted, that voters are able to correct any signature issues, and that civic organizations are able to collect and turn in sealed ballots.

“We have a responsibility as a party to demand better for our voters. Our government is already taking action to combat the spread of COVID-19. As the Democratic Party, we have been at the frontlines of fighting for the marginalized and disenfranchised. We need to meet the urgency felt by communities across the country to safeguard our democracy from the pernicious effects of this virus. I hope other Democratic state parties, legislators, and community leaders will join me in demanding that we live up to our country’s highest ideals and guarantee every single eligible voter the right to cast their ballot and have a say in their government.”