April 24, 2020
BRUNSWICK, ME – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) participated in a tele-town hall hosted by the Maine League of Women Voters to discuss the importance of proactively preparing to adjust electoral processes to ensure that states and localities can hold elections without putting voters or poll workers at risk of exposure to coronavirus. In addition to Senator King, today’s conversation (which can be viewed here) included Lewiston City Clerk Kathy Montejo, and representatives from the Maine ACLU, Maine AARP, and Maine Equal Justice.
“Coronavirus has already impacted every facet of our society – but it cannot and must not interfere with the right of American citizens to elect their leaders,” said Senator King. “With the possibility of a coronavirus resurgence in the fall, now is the time to act to ensure our states and localities have the funds, the equipment, and the time to create plans that allow the American people to exercise their democratic right to vote without endangering their health. We are facing a unique challenge to the American experiment – but we’ve faced challenges before without losing our founding principles. Today, it falls to Congress to do what is right and ensure our system of self-governance will not be paused by this virus.”
“Americans shouldn't have to choose between their health and their rights as citizens,” said Anna Kellar, Executive Director of League of Women Voters of Maine and Maine Citizens for Clean Elections. “To uphold everyone’s right to vote in America this year, Congress must provide states with the funding they need in the next COVID-19 legislative package, as well as mandate much-needed, common-sense reforms."
Since the coronavirus crisis began, Senator King has pushed his colleagues to act to prepare America’s states and localities for the 2020 election in the event that normal voting processes are not compatible with public health guidance. Following Senator King’s advocacy efforts, the CARES ACT included $400 million to support election assistance for the 2020 elections; he has also joined a group of his colleagues urging that an additional $3.6 billion for election assistance to be included in a future coronavirus response package.
Today’s conversation continues Senator King’s effort to engage with Maine people from all walks of life and helpful organizations to address questions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and identify remaining work to be done. Since last month, he has taken part in a telephone press conference to highlight the unique coronavirus-related strains on the rural healthcare system, participated in a virtual listening session with members of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce, joined a video conference call with civics and history teachers from schools across Maine, connected with members of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, highlighted resources available for Maine seniors in a call hosted by AARP Maine, and spoke to 500 Maine employees of Sun Life.