Primary elections around the country this year — plagued with long lines, polling place closures and high rates of ballot rejection — have exposed “significant barriers to voting for certain individuals, especially Black and brown voters,” Ms. Albert said in her written testimony.
“Longstanding disparities, including long lines, the ballot rejection rates, particularly of Black and brown communities, are now exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said Tuesday. “The chasm of those with access is growing larger. Voters of color are on the losing end.”
Several states, including Georgia, Pennsylvania and Indiana, saw voting machine glitches and other failures that contributed to long waits.
“Without proper funding, the problems seen in previous elections are going to be just the tip of the iceberg this November,” she testified.
The Coming Pandemic Documentary
David Levine, an elections integrity fellow with the Alliance for Securing Democracy, told the panel that many states and counties lacked the resources needed to offer alternatives for safe and secure elections amid the pandemic, like “robust voting by mail, early voting, and Election Day options.”
The stimulus law enacted in March provided $400 million to states for administering elections, but one study said the need was 10 times that. In May, the Democratic-controlled House passed another pandemic relief bill that would provide $3.6 billion in additional election funding, but that plan has run into a brick wall in the Senate, where there is little appetite among Republicans for such spending.
The dispute is one of the issues fueling a stalemate between the White House and congressional Democrats on a sweeping economic recovery package. Mr. Trump has cast doubt on the idea of expanding mail-in voting to make it safer for Americans to cast ballots during the pandemic, saying that it would lead to widespread fraud. But there is no evidence that the practice leads to higher incidence of voter fraud.