Congressman Charlie Crist (FL-13) and Congressman Anthony Brown (MD-04) released the following statement on introduction of their amendment to guarantee Sunday early voting. The amendment will be voted on this week during consideration of H.R. 1, House Democrats ethics and voting protections legislative package.
"Souls to the Polls is the most important voting day for many communities in Florida and across America," said Congressman Charlie Crist. "Our amendment protects Sunday early voting from any misguided voter suppression efforts. When more people vote, our democracy wins!"
Early voting has grown in popularity over the last 25 years, and more than two-thirds of states offer some sort of early voting. In 2018, 40 million Americans cast their votes early, and early voters comprised one-third of all Americans who cast a ballot. In addition, state data shows that minorities are more likely to vote early; African-American churches often promote "take your souls to the polls' programs that take church parishioners from Sunday services to the voting booth. However, since 2011, more than six states have cut back on early voting. A number of other states attempted to curb early voting; however, their efforts were blocked by the courts.
H.R.1 creates federal requirements for the length of the early voting period, number of polling places, and the duration of early voting days. However, it does not require early voting to take place on Sundays for the same amount of time as the rest of the calendar week. This amendment ensures uniform early voting hours every day, Monday through Sunday.
"Congress must ensure every eligible American citizen has the right to vote, the opportunity to vote, and unfettered access to the ballot," said Congressman Anthony Brown. "Guaranteeing fair and flexible early voting - especially on Sunday - is not just matter of inconvenience, it is critical for minority voters who disproportionately take advantage of it and often face higher barriers and disparate burden when deciding to cast a ballot - in lost pay, childcare and transit costs."