The COVID-19 pandemic has brought some unexpected challenges to the United States and to the world as a whole. The number of Americans who have filed an initial unemployment claim in the last 9 weeks has reached 38.6 Million, meaning an average of over 4.29 Million per week. For reference, the average number of initial weekly claims in 2019 was in the low 200,000s (1). During these tough times, there have been several pieces of legislation that are aimed at granting funding to a majority of people in this country as well as several other sectors of government.
The latest national legislation is an 1800+ page bill called the HEROES act. This $3 trillion bill aims to open the economy, honor our heroes, and send money to Americans. This piece of legislation has already been passed by the house of representatives and is awaiting debate within the senate. The general consensus is that this bill will need renegotiation before it is able to pass.
The HEROES act funding focuses on government support, health care, business, and worker and individual support (2). Click this link and look at pages 1-11 for a concise cost breakdown of this bill. At WeVote we are especially interested in the portions regarding changes and funding to the 2020 election.
At WeVote, we believe that every voter should be able to vote in a manner that is convenient and safe for them. That is why we have been working on a new program called Operation WeVote. The goal of this program is to make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to vote with a strong emphasis on mail-in voting with no cost to voters. The HEROES act has multiple provisions regarding how we are going to be able to vote during this election cycle.
If the current version of the HEROES act is passed, every eligible voter in America would be able to vote by mail with prepaid postage. On top of this, these mail in ballots would need to be requestable online either by printing and sending a completed form digitally (You can also mail these in or hand them in in person), or completing a request form completely online(3). That means that you would not need to leave your house in order to vote. For those that would rather vote in person, there is no need to worry, as the bill would increase election funding, from $400 Million to $4 Billion overall, to be used for maintaining safe in-person voting as well as expanding voting by mail. Click this link on pages 71-76 for a complete list of the elections provisions as well as others. Whether or not the bill is passed or changed, WeVote is dedicated to ensuring that voters are given all of the resources available to them.
Operation WeVote is underway and we are working with all 50 states and DC to make your voting experience easier and safer. Depending on your state, WeVote will even offer to pay for your postage to send in an absentee ballot request. We will have more information about Operation WeVote shortly!
During these important times, it is crucial to stay up to date on the legislation that is under review. We are working to provide the most efficient platform, to ensure that your opinions and questions are heard by your representatives. There is still much to be discussed about the HEROES act but we are hopeful that mail-in voting with prepaid postage will be expanded to all eligible voters!