WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — While Congress continues to debate the next coronavirus relief package, lawmakers can’t agree on what additional federal funding states need to protect the voting process.
“We must vigorously defend our right to vote,” said Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-LA, during a House committee hearing Tuesday.
As many states transition from in-person to mail-in voting amid the pandemic, Richmond defended the practice against President Trump’s attacks.
“So no voter has to choose between their democratic rights and their health,” Richmond said.
The process is dependent on the U.S. Postal Service, which Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-MS, noted is also under attack from the Trump administration.
“Any tampering with the current system puts the process at risk,” Thompson said.
The agency recently cut overtime for mail carriers and clerks, which Thompson worries could jeopardize millions of votes. In 34 states, completed ballots are invalidated if they are not received by Election Day.
House Democrats included $25 billion in emergency funding for the Postal Service in their coronavirus relief bill, but Republicans are blocking it.
Instead, Rep. John Katko, R-NY, wants money focused on election security, specifically grants for state and local governments to hire cybersecurity experts.
“Ensuring that our election process is uncompromised during the upcoming election must remain a top priority for both sides of the aisle,” Katko said.
This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and WKRN.com for updates.