National: GOP senator blocks bill to boost mail-in and early voting during pandemic | Maggie Miller/The Hill
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) on Tuesday blocked an attempt by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to push legislation through the Senate that would promote mail-in voting and expand early voting during the COVID-19 pandemic. Blunt, who serves as chairman of the elections-focused Senate Rules Committee, blocked Klobuchar’s attempt to pass the bill in a Senate by unanimous consent due to concerns that it would federalize the election process. “I just don’t think this is the time to make this kind of fundamental change,” Blunt said, pointing to concerns that passing the bill would lead to state and local election officials having less control over elections. The Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act, introduced by Klobuchar and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) in March, would provide $3 million to the Election Assistance Commission to implement new requirements in the bill. These include requiring states to expand early voting to 20 days prior to the election, and extending the time for absentee ballots to be counted.