Warren urges Senate to pass relief to support mail-in voting as pandemic threatens elections

US News

Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks at a campaign rally at the Seattle Center Armory in Seattle, Washington, February 22, 2020.

Jason Redmond | Reuters

Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday urged the Senate to pass $4 billion in the next coronavirus relief package to allow states to expand their vote-by-mail services for the general election.

“2020 is the most important election of our lifetime,” Warren said on a press call with reporters. “Americans should not be forced to choose between voting and staying safe from the virus this November.”

“The House has already taken action to include vote by mail, she added, “and now the Senate must step up and make sure that voting is safe, fair and accessible for everyone.”

Last week, House Democrats passed a $3 trillion coronavirus relief package that includes expanded mail-in ballot access for upcoming elections. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear he has no interest in taking up the proposal, referring to it as “an 1,800-page seasonal catalog of left-wing oddities and called it a coronavirus relief bill.” 

The pandemic has completely upended 2020 elections, forcing officials to find safer or alternate ways for Americans to cast their votes. 

In the last two months, multiple states and U.S. territories either delayed or adjusted their presidential primaries due to a fear of spreading the virus among large groups. 

Already, more than a dozen states have begun to prepare for the November election, with the anticipation that more voters will choose mail-in ballots over in-person voting. California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order on May 8 allowing all registered voters in the state to receive a mail-in ballot this November.

The outbreak has spread to dozens of countries, with more than 4.9 million confirmed cases worldwide and over 321,000 deaths so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. There are at least 1.5 million cases in the United States and at least 91,000 deaths, according to the latest tallies.

CNBC’s Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.

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