May 5, 2010
Contact: Aaron Hunter 202-225-2040
Congresswoman Susan Davis Testifies Before Senate Rules Committee
Davis touts her bills to improve absentee voting
Washington - Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego), a leader on election reform issues, promoted improving the vote by mail system before a key Senate panel. Testifying before the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, Davis made the case that absentee voting restrictions should be removed.
“The reality today is that ever increasing numbers of voters choose to vote by mail because people pursuing the American Dream are getting up earlier, commuting longer distances in more traffic and they savor precious family time,” said Davis. “They want to participate in democracy but are uncertain whether they’ll make it to the polls between their work and family obligations.”
Davis wrote the Universal Right to Vote by Mail Act (H.R. 1604) to eliminate antiquated and unnecessary restrictions on voting by mail, such as notary signatures and doctor’s notes. In 21 states, these restrictions make it difficult to vote absentee. H.R. 1604 was approved by the House Committee on Administration in July 2009.
Joining Davis in calling for no-excuse absentee voting was Senator Ron Wyden, who introduced companion legislation in the Senate, S. 3299.
Davis also talked about need to give voters the ability to track their absentee ballots so they can tell if their absentee ballots were sent out, received back, and ultimately counted.
Davis bill, The TRAC Act (H.R 251), which she sponsored with her Republican colleague Congressman Kevin McCarthy, would allow the federal government to reimburse states, through a grants program, for establishing tracking systems. The bill does not mandate any state to set up a tracking system. The TRAC Act passed the House in July 2009.
Also testifying at the hearing titled, “Voting By Mail: An Examination of State and Local Experiences,” were Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, John Fortier of the American Enterprise Institute, and Rokey W. Suleman, Executive Director, DC Board of Elections and Ethics.