Hirono Calls on Administration to Conduct November Election Safely During Pandemic
US Senators Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) led 29 of their colleagues in a letter to Vice President Mike Pence and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Peter Gaynor urging them to take immediate action to provide Personal Protective Equipment and sanitizing supplies for election and poll workers—and voters—ahead of the November 2020 election.
Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that voters and workers at polling locations practice comprehensive hygiene, disinfecting, sanitizing and physical distancing protocols as well as the use of face coverings.
Sen. Hirono notes that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country has faced widespread shortages of PPE. The letter cites reports from experts claiming an additional $3.6 billion is necessary to make elections safe this year, and that “states and localities without support from the federal government will bear a burden if no action is taken.”
“We write to strongly urge you to take immediate action to ensure there is adequate Personal Protective Equipment and sanitizing supplies for poll workers, election workers and voters ahead of the November general election. We further urge you work to with state and local election offices to coordinate their access PPE and sanitizing supplies,” the Senators wrote.
The Senators continued, “It is critical that the Administration take concrete steps now to ensure the safety of election workers and voters in the November election. Elections are the bedrock of our democracy and we must ensure safe elections so that all voters can exercise their constitutional right to cast a ballot.”
In addition to Senators Hirono and Klobuchar, the letter was also signed by: Senators Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
The letter can be found here.