Senators Introduce Bill to Ensure Americans Affected or Displaced by Natural Disasters are Still Able to Vote
May 09 2019
Washington– Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to introduce legislation today that would help Americans affected or displaced due to natural disasters maintain their ability to vote through a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB). The Natural Disaster Emergency Ballot Act (S. 1397) would ensure a printable online ballot would be available to eligible voters affected by a natural disaster.
In addition to Feinstein and Klobuchar, the bill is cosponsored by Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).
The Natural Disaster Emergency Ballot Act would create a domestic version of the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) that is currently available for Americans abroad under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) by amending the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). An emergency ballot would be available to eligible voters residing in areas where an emergency has been declared, to those who have been displaced, and to professional or volunteer service emergency responders. In addition, anyone who expects to be hospitalized on Election Day, or isn’t able to receive a requested absentee ballot from their state or jurisdiction would also be eligible to receive an emergency ballot. The ballot would follow the same process of submission as absentee ballots in each person’s state/jurisdiction.