House committee chairs sent out a letter Friday requesting information from four battleground states about their preparedness for November’s elections.
Committee on House Administration Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Chairman James Clyburn (D-SC) requested the information from elections officials in Florida, Georgia, Texas and Wisconsin.
“No voter should be forced to wait for hours in line or risk their health to exercise their constitutionally protected right to vote,” they wrote wrote. “Election administrators can prevent these unacceptable outcomes by following [CDC] recommendations and offering adequate early voting, sufficient polling locations and hours, and mail-in or absentee voting options. Officials must plan now to avoid the last-minute consolidation or closure of polling sites, long lines, and shortages of poll workers.”
They said that they selected the states due to their poor performance in the primaries when it came to extremely long lines or a scarcity of polling places.
The Wisconsin primaries in particular became emblematic of an election day spun into chaos by the pandemic. A last minute state Supreme Court decision kept the in-person voting going ahead as planned, despite the COVID-19 outbreak. An eleventh hour Supreme Court decision also cast doubt on which postmarks could be counted on absentee ballots, adding more confusion to a primary that was already under-staffed with too few polls. Dozens of voters were infected from their election day activities.
The chairs are requesting the information by August 26 to ensure that polling places are sufficiently staffed and that enough polls are open across the states.
The four letters are similar; read the Wisconsin one here: