Voting to Restore U.S. Postal Operations

August 28, 2020
Enewsletters

Dear Friend,  

This week, I returned to Memphis after the House vote last Saturday to restore U.S. Postal Service operations dismantled by the Trump Administration. I also commemorated the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote; condemned a likely unconstitutional Tennessee state law prohibiting peaceful protests at the state Capitol; urged constituents to fill out the 2020 U.S. Census; remembered the 1963 March on Washington as Black Lives Matter voices echo across our land; announced significant federal grants to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, three Memphis-based community health centers and Porter-Leath’s Early Head Start programs; and suggested a coronavirus-related health tip. Keep reading and follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see what I’m doing as it happens. 

Voting to Restore U.S. Postal Service Operations 
Clarifying Voting Procedures in Advance of November Elections 
Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment 
Condemning a Likely Unconstitutional State Anti-Protest Law 
Urging Constituents to Fill out 2020 Census Forms 
Remembering the 1963 March on Washington and Black Lives Matter 
Announcing Hypertension Research Grant to UTHSC 
Announcing Grants to Three Memphis Community Health Centers 
Announcing $1.9 Million Early Head Start Grant to Porter-Leath  
Weekly Health Tip 
Quote of the Week 


Voting to Restore U.S. Postal Service Operations 

Last Saturday, I voted to reverse Trump Administration efforts to hobble the U.S. Postal Service by dismantling its critical infrastructure in the run up to November elections, in which many will vote by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic. The post office is critical to binding our nation together and the harms already done have resulted in late delivery of critical prescription drugs and benefits payments. President Trump has said that these efforts were motivated by a desire to make voting by mail unworkable, effectively disenfranchising millions. There’s one clear lesson: It’s critical to get registered and to vote early. 

Clarifying Voting Procedures in Advance of November Elections 

New voters have three options to register to vote in Tennessee. You can apply online here, print and hand-deliver your completed application to the Shelby County Election Commission office (located at 980 Nixon Drive, Memphis, TN 38134), or register in person at any of the following agencies: County Clerk’s Office, County Election Commission Office, Department of Health, Department of Human Services, Department of Mental Health, Department of Safety (DMV), Department of Veterans Affairs, a public library or the Register of Deeds Office.   

Early Voting begins on Wednesday, October 14 and ends Thursday, October 29.  See the Shelby County Election Commission’s page on upcoming elections for election dates, offices to be elected, Early Voting schedules (locations, dates, hours), Election Day polling locations, sample ballots and an absentee application.   

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Tuesday, October 27. Due to delays at the Postal Service, it is strongly recommended that you request an absentee ballot as soon as possible. Request your ballot here, and once you’ve received it and cast your votes, immediately send it back to the Election Commission. See the Shelby County Election Commission’s page on voting absentee for a full list of circumstances that qualify you to vote absentee by mail. Mail-in ballots must be received at your county election commission by Election Day to count. Mail-in ballots CANNOT be hand delivered to election offices. The only acceptable way to submit a mail-in ballot in Tennessee is by mail (USPS, FedEx, UPS, et cetera).

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this newsletter stated that once a voter has requested an absentee ballot, they cannot vote in person for that election. In fact, if a voter does not receive their absentee ballot in time to vote, they can can cast their vote in person as as a provisional ballot.

Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment 

On Wednesday, I commemorated the 100th anniversary of the formal certification of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote. Last week, on August 18, I celebrated Tennessee’s General Assembly vote in 1920 to become the 36th state to ratify the amendment, which gave it the required approval of three-fourths of the states. The women’s vote has transformed America, changed our legislative and policy priorities, and brought us closer to that elusive goal of “a more perfect union.” It is also crucial to remember that ratification of the 19th amendment did not lead to universal suffrage — many of the women of color involved in the suffrage movement continued to be denied this right due to discriminatory voting laws. We should take this time to recognize the obstacles to voting that many continue to face in our country, particularly communities of color and underserved communities.  

This month’s commemorations should remind us all of how important it is to register and vote. See my release here

Condemning a Likely Unconstitutional State Anti-Protest Law 

On Monday, Tennessee State Senator Raumesh Akbari and I released a statement condemning a new Tennessee law that makes it a felony for protesters to camp out overnight on state property. If convicted, protesters could lose their voting rights and face up to six years in prison. This law targets ongoing protests at the Tennessee State Capitol for racial justice and against police violence. See our statements here

Urging Constituents to Fill out 2020 Census Forms 

I want to call your attention to the need for our constituents to fill out the 2020 U.S. Census. The Trump Administration abruptly shortened the deadline for participating by a month, so forms must now be filled out by September 30. Memphis has historically been undercounted and, as a result, underfunded. An accurate Census count is needed to ensure that our community receives the federal resources it needs and deserves. If you haven’t already, please consider filling out the form today. If you need help filing your Census questionnaire, call the help line at (844) 330-2020.

Remembering the 1963 March on Washington and Black Lives Matter 

Today is the 57th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Each year, we remember and celebrate the soaring oratory of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. This year, we pay a special tribute to the youngest speaker that day 57 years ago, my friend and Congressional colleague, John Lewis. He left us last month with our final marching orders: “Answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe.” As our country continues to reckon with its history of slavery, Jim Crow and the unmet ideals of the Civil Rights Movement and the Great Society, let us stand in solidarity with the peaceful demonstrators nationwide calling attention to our nation’s shortcomings and uplifting the message that Black Lives Matter. I look forward to hearing the remarks of the Reverend William J. Barber of the Poor People’s Campaign at this year’s event. See my release on the anniversary here.  

Announcing Hypertension Research Grant to UTHSC 

On Wednesday, I announced a significant research grant to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) for work on hypertension, a persistent disease in Memphis, particularly among Black Americans. See my release here

Announcing Grants to Three Memphis Community Health Centers 

The Department of Health and Human Services awarded significant grants to Christ Community Health Services, Tri-State Community Health Center and the Memphis Health Center this week. See my release here

Announcing $1.9 Million Early Head Start Grant to Porter-Leath  

On Thursday, I announced a $1.9 million grant to the Early Head Start programs operated by the dedicated people at Porter-Leath. See my release here

Weekly Health Tip 

Again this week, I want to call attention to the high number of coronavirus cases, in Tennessee and across the country, that are likely the result of reopening prematurely without implementing basic precautionary measures such as wearing masks and adhering to social distancing guidelines. Please follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols and those adopted by Memphis and Shelby County for staying safe in this ongoing pandemic: Wash your hands frequently for at least 25 seconds; keep a minimum social distance of six feet from others; wear a face mask when out in public; and avoid being in crowds of more than 10. When you’re indoors, six feet might not be far enough, according to recent studies; 14 feet might be better. It is best to wear a mask, particularly when indoors in close quarters. We must work together to get through this.    

Quote of the Week 

"To those who have said, ‘Be patient and wait,’ we have long said that we cannot be patient. We do not want our freedom gradually, but we want to be free now. We are tired. We are tired of being beaten by policemen. We are tired of seeing our people locked up in jail over and over again. And then you holler, ‘Be patient.’ How long can we be patient? We want our freedom and we want it now. We do not want to go to jail. But we will go to jail if this is the price we must pay for love, brotherhood, and true peace.” – Future Congressman John Lewis at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, 57 years ago today.   

As always, I remain.
Most sincerely,

Steve Cohen
Member of Congress