March 31, 2020/Media

Chairman Goodwin Joins 51 State Democratic Party Chairs to Urge Protection of U.S. Elections from COVID-19

Second action in a week from NCDP to make voting accessible and transparent amid COVID-19 pandemic

Raleigh – Today, North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin signed on to a letter from 51 State Democratic Party Chairs from across the United States, the Territories, and Democrats Abroad urging swift action from federal and state elected officials to protect our voting infrastructure from the coronavirus. The full text of the letter and a list of signatories can be found HERE and a summary can be found below.

North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman, Wayne Goodwin released the following statement following the letter’s publication: 

“The most fundamental right is the right to elect your representatives in Government. By not fully addressing the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak and allowing our democracy to fall by the wayside, we are betraying that value. Federal, state and local policymakers and election officials must act immediately to protect our communities and ensure that our core democratic functions can continue and the voices of our citizens can be heard.”

This is the second action NCDP has taken to protect our voting infrastructure in the past week. Last week, NCDP outlined a set of priorities in a letter to the State Board of Elections and its COVID-19 Response Task Force to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our electoral system, make voting remotely accessible and transparent, and ensure fair, free, and secure elections.

Highlights from today’s letter from the 51 State Democratic Party Chairs: 

  • The United States of America is simultaneously in the midst of an unprecedented global viral outbreak and an extremely consequential series of elections. The rapid spread of COVID-19 has halted virtually all public gatherings and rendered the act of leaving one’s home for non-essential reasons dangerous. As things stand, both of these acts are necessary for millions of American voters to uphold their Constitutional right to select their representatives.
  • Every state is currently unprepared to address the seismic shift in election administration necessary to ensure the 2020 election proceeds during a pandemic and must start implementing these changes by mid-April. The funding is needed right now to protect the 2020 election.
  • If left unchanged, our current electoral system poses a severe public health risk that could rapidly accelerate the spread of COVID-19 while disenfranchising countless voters and calling into question the legitimacy of our elections.
  • To remedy this untenable situation, we urge federal lawmakers to immediately appropriate at least $2 billion for state and local elections administrators to implement the following reforms:
      • a universal and easily accessible vote-by-mail system which should include:
          • provisions for free or prepaid postage,
          • allowing ballots postmarked by election day to count,
          • reforming any signature match laws to protect voters,
          • and allowing community organizations to collect and deliver voted, sealed ballots.
      • extended early voting periods to allow for in-person voters to practice social distancing
      • expanded voter registration options, including both online and same-day registration
      • voter outreach and education to raise awareness around these changes
      • prohibition of polling place adjustments that disproportionately affect marginalized communities
    • ensure that the millions of overseas American voters can participate fully in the political process
  • As our government takes action to protect our economy from COVID-19, we cannot and will not allow our democracy to fall by the wayside.
  • Action to safeguard our electoral system cannot wait. In a matter of weeks, millions of Americans across several states will be asked to vote in municipal and primary elections, and they deserve better than the impossible choice between preserving their well-being and casting their ballots.
  • Federal, state and local policymakers and election officials need to act right now to protect the health of our families, neighbors and communities and ensure that our core democratic functions including elections can continue to function.