The Time Has Arrived For a National Vote-by-Mail Option
The era of voting by mail has arrived.
In order to address the coronavirus pandemic and ensure an orderly election in November, Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar and Ron Wyden, along with more than a dozen co-sponsors, have introduced legislation to promote mail-in and early voting to provide a safe alternative to standing in long lines this Fall.
The bill, called the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act [NDEBA], would ensure that all US citizens have 20 days of early voting and the option to request no-excuse absentee ballots. 33 states already allow residents to vote by mail and the NDEBA legislation provides funding so that all states could establish a vote-by-mail electoral infrastructure before November.
The importance of the legislation is underscored by the number of states that have had to postpone their primary elections this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. There is simply no good reason for people to risk their health by standing in long lines on election day.
So far, no Republican has signed on to sponsor the bill. Some Republicans Senators are skeptical that Covid-19 will still pose a public health threat in November, but many health professionals have already warned that the coronavirus might well follow the pattern of past pandemics and undergo a fall resurgence. And, if we wait until October to see what happens, it will be too late to provide voters with a safe alternative.
It's likely that some Republicans, including President Trump, have a somewhat darker motive for opposing legislation that makes voting easier. They worry that a mail-in election would increase voter turnout, and several studies have shown that voting-by-mail does increase turnout among young voters who vote disproportionately for Democratic candidates. Still, if there is a chance that Covid-19 could return this Fall, Republicans will face immense pressure to keep voters safe. The NDEBA is an excellent vehicle to achieve that.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content