April 14, 2020

Rep. Lawson Urges Governor DeSantis to Expand Voting Access in Response to COVID-19

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (FL-05) has joined the Florida Democratic Delegation in a letter urging Governor DeSantis to authorize a universal vote-by-mail policy for the 2020 primary and general elections due to the unpredictability of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“It is imperative that we do right by our constituents and provide them with the necessary tools that they need to have their voices heard,” Rep. Lawson said. “No one should have to choose between their health and exercising their right to vote.”   

In the letter, the delegation requests automatic absentee ballots and voting materials to be sent to all registered voters, in addition to pre-paid postage and self-sealing return envelopes. The letter also seeks to ensure that voters with disabilities have access to ballots and voting materials. 

The Members suggest reallocating funds designated for polling locations, voting machines, poll workers, and other election administration expenditures to expand Florida’s vote-by-mail infrastructure. They also highlight the CARES Act $400 million grant program that allows states, like Florida, to use to increase their ability to conduct elections by mail. 

As of April 14, 2020, Florida has more than 20,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and almost 500 deaths. The United States has more than 587,000 confirmed cases.