Washington Post Editorial Board Endorses Portman’s Bipartisan Remote Voting Plan

March 24, 2020 | Portman Difference

A day after the first U.S. senator tested positive for the coronavirus, the Washington Post editorial board endorsed Senator Portman’s bipartisan resolution to amend the Standing Rules of the Senate to allow senators to vote remotely during a national crisis in an editorial titled “Congress Should Allow Its Members to Vote Remotely.”  

During certain crises, such as the current COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, guidelines from the CDC may advise against convening the full Senate in the Capitol. However, that should not prevent Congress from safely engaging in its constitutional responsibility to convene during a crisis, conduct its basic constitutional duties, and enact responsible legislation for the nation. Specifically, during a national crisis that makes it infeasible for the senators to vote in person, the resolution gives the Majority and Minority Leaders the joint authority to allow secure remote voting. Remote voting would then be allowed for up to 30 days. The Senate would have to vote to renew remote voting every 30 days. 

The Washington Post editorial states: “Given the scope and uncertainty of the novel coronavirus, Congress should put in place emergency procedures to conduct business. Instead of finding an alternate or more secure location for members to meet, as during the Atomic Age, the new imperative is to keep people apart to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which means allowing lawmakers to vote remotely. A bipartisan resolution to amend the standing rules of the Senate to allow senators to vote remotely during a national crisis was introduced Sunday. The measure, sponsored by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), calls for the establishment of a verifiable technology and procedure so members can vote in a time of national emergency.”  

Excerpts of the editorial can be found below and the full editorial can be found here.

 

Congress Should Allow Its Members to Vote Remotely
Washington Post

Editorial Board

March 23, 2020 

 

Given the scope and uncertainty of the novel coronavirus, Congress should put in place emergency procedures to conduct business. Instead of finding an alternate or more secure location for members to meet, as during the Atomic Age, the new imperative is to keep people apart to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which means allowing lawmakers to vote remotely. 

A bipartisan resolution to amend the standing rules of the Senate to allow senators to vote remotely during a national crisis was introduced Sunday. The measure, sponsored by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), calls for the establishment of a verifiable technology and procedure so members can vote in a time of national emergency. 

Underscoring the need for a relaxation of Senate rules Monday was the absence of six senators who either had tested positive for covid-19 or were self-isolating after having come in contact with someone who had been exposed... 

###