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Pelosi's $3T stimulus bill expands vote by mail, adds new federal rules for November election

The 1400-page legislation contains $3.6 billion to expand voting by mail for the upcoming election in November

Published: May 12, 2020 4:18pm

Updated: May 12, 2020 5:02pm

The $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released Tuesday includes  $25 billion for the United States Postal Service as well as new federal requirements that states must meet for allowing citizens to vote by mail in the November election.

According to a roughly 1,400-page draft of the proposed coronavirus stimulus legislation, the measure also includes $1 trillion in increased federal assistance to state, local, territorial and tribal governments, an additional $75 billion for coronavirus testing as well as additional direct stimulus payments of $1,200 per individual and up to $6,000 for each household.

The legislation, titled the HEROES Act, would provide $3.6 billion to expand vote by mail and ensure that "every voter can access no-excuse absentee vote-by-mail." 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Senate would take not consider further coronavirus stimulus legislation until after Memorial Day.

Pelosi expects the House to vote Friday on the legislation.

The bill seeks to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to “ensure that all eligible individuals can register to vote on the same day that they vote,” which would take effect in the November 2020 election and remain in place for every future federal election. It would also require states to provide a minimum of 15 consecutive days for early voting.

The legislation would amend the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to “prohibit states from requiring voter registration applicants to provide more than the last four digits of their social security numbers.”

The change would also apply for the next election and stay in place for future elections.

Under the proposal, any “electronic blank absentee ballots transmitted to qualified individuals” must have prepaid return postage. State governments are prohibited from “refusing to accept and process an absentee ballot from a qualified individual based on notarization or witness signature, paper type, or envelope type requirements.”

The bill also addresses states that have voter identification requirements in place for in-person or mail voting.

“An individual may make a sworn written statement attesting to their identity to fulfill the identification requirement,” reads the legislation.

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