Wyden and Blumenauer Introduce Bill to Allow All Americans to Vote at Home; Legislation Makes Elections More Secure and Accessible with Oregon-Style Voting
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Representative Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., introduced an updated version of their Vote At Home Act today, to ensure American voters can vote more conveniently and securely at home.
The bill would allow all American voters to vote at home, provide pre-paid envelopes to return ballots and automatically register citizens to vote at DMVs.
“The United States is stronger when more Americans can vote,” Wyden said. “Our bill will make elections more accessible to seniors, students and working families that might not have time to wait at a polling station. Voting at home makes elections more secure as well, since there’s a built-in paper trail for every single ballot that can’t be hacked. Voting at home is just common sense.”
“Oregon has led the nation in defending the right to vote, which is the very cornerstone of our democracy,” Blumenauer said. “Vote at home laws have been extremely successful at increasing voter turnout all while upholding strong security standards. This critical legislation will bring Oregon’s model nationwide and strengthen the fundamental right to vote that is so central to our democratic process.”
The legislation follows the successful expansion of voting at home and by mail in recent years. In 2022, 39 million people voted at home - 35% of ballots - a major increase over 2018, when only 25% of voters used vote-at-home ballots. Nearly 50 percent of voters used a vote-at-home ballot in the November 2020 election, an all-time high in federal races. For the 2020 general election 30 states adopted or changed their laws, allowing voters to cast their ballots from home in order to provide greater accessibility and to protect public health.
The Vote at Home Act updates Wyden and Blumenauer’s Vote by Mail bill, first introduced in 2017, to build on innovative electoral reforms around the country. The legislation will:
- Promote the Ability of Voters to Vote by Mail – All registered voters would receive ballots in the mail weeks before Election Day, allowing them to carefully research candidates and issues well ahead of Election Day to inform their vote.
- Expand Options for Casting Ballots – All registered voters would have the ability to cast their ballot through the mail or a drop-off site. Voters residing in states with in-person, same-day registration would still have the option to vote at a polling station in lieu of voting at home.
- Fund the United States Postal Service – The legislation would provide the USPS funding to cover costs associated with mailing ballots both to and from voters in federal elections. This would allow states to save money by transitioning away from polling stations and reduce a major barrier for voters with the federal government absorbing the cost associated with USPS delivery.
- Enact Automatic Voter Registration – States would be required to ensure that each citizen who provides identifying information to the state motor vehicle authority is automatically registered to vote. Voters are given 21 days to “opt out” if they do not.
The Vote at Home Act of 2023 is endorsed by a who’s who of voting rights groups, including Common Cause, Fair Fight Action, Demand Progress, End Citizens United, Sojourners, Stand Up America, People for the American Way, and the National Vote At Home Institute.
“Americans lead busy lives and like having choices in deciding which method of voting works best for them,” said Aaron Scherb, senior director of legislative affairs at Common Cause. “At a time when certain state legislatures are reducing voting options, the Vote at Home Act would maximize the ways in which voters can have their voices heard, including from the comfort of their homes, and we commend Senator Wyden and Representative Blumenauer for reintroducing this important legislation.”
“Radical conservative lawmakers across the country are proposing and passing legislation making it harder for Americans to register to vote and cast a ballot. Senator Wyden’s bill would help reverse that alarming trend,” said Brett Edkins, Managing Director of Policy and Political Affairs at Stand Up America. “By requiring states to automatically register all eligible voters and provide all voters with the opportunity to vote by mail, this bill will ensure that all Americans can exercise their constitutional right to vote and bring new voters into our democratic process, especially young voters and voters of color. We applaud Senator Wyden for his leadership, and encourage the Senate to pass this bill to strengthen our democracy and protect our freedom to vote.”
"Fair Fight Action is proud to support Senator Wyden’s Vote at Home Act. The provisions of this bill help ensure every eligible American can vote by mail and cast their ballot in a free and fair election: whether they are an individual with a disability, a student attending college, or a single mother balancing multiple jobs,” said Fair Fight Action Executive Director Cianti Stewart-Reid. “It is incumbent upon Congress to pass legislation that encourages citizens to vote — not inhibits them. And the Vote at Home Act does just that by bringing Americans into the fold of our democracy through more efficient voter registration and mail voting access. We commend Senator Wyden and Representative Blumenauer for leading the fight to expand voter access, and we urge Congress to pass this bill without delay.”
“When we expanded access to voting in the 2020 election, there was record turnout across the country. It’s clear that when Americans have access to the voting booth and have the freedom to make their voices heard, it gives more people the ability to participate in our democracy." said Tiffany Muller, President, End Citizens United/Let America Vote Action Fund. "Senator Wyden and Congressman Blumenauer’s introduction of the Vote at Home Act is crucial to protecting the foundation of our democracy and ensuring every voter has a chance for their voice to be heard and their vote to be counted.”
"If you want to support and strengthen our democracy, there's no better way than to support Vote at Home election systems,” said Barbara Smith Warner, the Executive Director of the National Vote at Home Institute. “When every active registered voter automatically receives a mailed out paper ballot, several weeks before every election; can return them by postage-free mail or in person to a wide range of accessible, convenient and secure locations; and can track them online, in real time, to ensure their vote is counted, we all win.”
Joining Wyden in introducing the bill in the Senate are U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Cory A. Booker, D-N.J., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Tom Carper, D-Del., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., Peter Welch, D-Vt., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.
The text of the Vote at Home Act is available here.
Keith Chu (Wyden) / Hunter Spencer (Blumenauer)
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