Former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker says in a new interview that America has been able to hold elections in previous difficult times in our history, so we should be able to do so now amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“[There’s] got to be a national push to make sure that this election doesn't just happen, but that it is viewed by all as legitimate,” Pritzker said to me. “That's what this democracy is about. We've been able to do it in other times of crises. There's no reason we can't do it now.”
In an interview last Friday, Pritzker, a member of the billionaire Pritzker family and brother of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, also spoke of her support for former Vice President Joe Biden, whom she endorsed early in the election cycle.
‘We just have to get organized’
Pritzker, who served under Barack Obama, addressed concerns the election might be delayed or that it might be difficult for voters to get to the polls because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“We can do online voting, we can do voting by mail, we can do in person voting with the appropriate social distancing and safety for the polling judges,” she said. “We just have to get organized, and we have to be committed to it. And we need to make sure that every American who feels that their opportunity to express themselves in this democracy is easy. It's easy for them to do that, that they can. There are no barriers and that we're not discouraging them and we're not making it impossible. We're not throwing them off the voting rolls.”
A high-profile Chicagoian with strong ties to the Obamas, Pritzker could be in line for a top administration job if Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, goes on to win the election.
Americans need to feel secure in the upcoming election, Pritzker thinks.
“I think we as a country and both at the state level and the federal level need to assure that every American has the opportunity to vote,” Pritzker said. “And we need to make it a safe process. And there's no reason we can't use all of the capabilities this country has.”
Election day 2020 is 190 days away.
Andy Serwer is editor-in-chief of Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter: @serwer.