Legislation & policy analysis

Senator Rubio’s ‘safe harbor’ election bill merits bipartisan support and action

  • Evan Ottenfeld

Last week, a group of 40 experts on elections and democracy released a letter imploring Congress to support a bill that would give states more time to tally election results. The letter noted that delays due to close races, legal disputes, and the unprecedented number of mail-in ballots expected during the COVID-19 pandemic could prevent states from being able to fully and accurately count votes by current deadlines, resulting in a constitutional crisis. The bill, introduced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), would extend the federal safe harbor deadline for such counts from December 8, 2020 to January 1, 2021.

“A full, accurate, and reliable count according to applicable laws is absolutely essential to protecting the integrity of our elections,” said Issue One Founder and CEO Nick Penniman. “As we grow closer every day to the election, action to prevent such chaos becomes increasingly clear. Issue One adds our voice to this call from experts in support of Senator Rubio’s commonsense bill.” 

“Given the magnitude of the challenges we face this year, we applaud Senator Rubio’s leadership to preempt a constitutional crisis,” said Issue One Executive Director Meredith McGehee. “We understand time is short before Congress goes on recess before the election, but this bill merits bipartisan support and action.” 

The letter, part of the “Uphold Our Democracy” initiative organized by New America and Fix the System, serves to create a renewed sense of bipartisan urgency around the measure, and notes that “the extension of these deadlines would not favor or prejudice either political party.”

Read the full text of the letter in support of the bill here. Read the text of the bill here.