Should people be forced to risk their lives, just to exercise their Right to Vote? Umm … No.
“Here’s the truth about vote by mail: It’s a proven practice that’s not only safe and secure and efficient for administrators, it’s tremendously convenient for voters and has helped increase voter turnout rates and not just in blue states like California, but in red states and purple states across the country. So to suggest that vote-by-mail is not inherently safe, is not only false, frankly it’s also an attempt to distract.”
— California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, May 15, 2020
Does mail voting increase turnout?
We asked Padilla’s office for evidence backing his claim. A spokesperson pointed to several reports, including one by Nonprofit Vote and the U.S. Elections Project called America Goes To The Polls 2018. The groups promote voter participation and research on the election process, respectively.
Their report refers to vote-by-mail as “vote at home.” It offers a look at the 2018 midterm election, including results from “blue states” that tend to favor Democratic candidates, such as Oregon and Washington; “red states” that favor Republicans, such as Utah; and “purple states,” or swing states, such as Colorado.
- Three of the four Vote at Home States – Colorado, Oregon, and Washington – ranked in the top 10 in turnout. These states send all registered voters their ballot two or more weeks in advance and provide secure and convenient options to return it.
- Utah, the fourth and newest state to implement Vote at Home statewide, led the nation in voter turnout growth over 2014.
- In the 2018 primaries, turnout in vote at home states outperformed states with traditional poll-based voting by 15.5 percentage points.
www.politifact.com — May 18, 2020
Michigan became on Tuesday the latest state to allow all voters to vote by mail during November’s presidential election, a practice that has been the subject of extensive debate since the coronavirus pandemic introduced new difficulties for the voting public this spring.
Governors in Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and North Dakota have said voters will receive vote-by-mail ballots for primary elections in June and July, and California Governor Gavin Newsom said earlier this month all California voters will receive vote-by-mail ballots for the general election in November. While many other states have loosened their restrictions for voting by mail, most still require voters to apply for a mail-in ballot, rather than send every registered voter an absentee ballot automatically.
www.newsweek.com — May 19, 2020
According to research compiled by the National Vote at Home Institute, 16 states limit the distribution of absentee ballots—which can be mailed or otherwise delivered to the voter’s home—to residents who present a lawful excuse for avoiding in-person voting, such as planned travel or a disability.
Of those states, five—West Virginia, Alabama, Indiana, Delaware and Massachusetts—have already waived these limitations for voters in upcoming primary and statewide elections because of public health concerns over the virus’ spread.
The abilities of these and other states to expand vote-by-mail options come November are alternately limited by political will, state law or the state constitution.
Government watchdog group Common Cause has called on all states to “expand vote-by-mail programs and absentee voting wherever possible.”
www.newsweek.com — March 31, 2020
As COVID-19 Spreads, Protecting Public Health And The Right To Vote Are Paramount
Common Cause — March 16, 2020
- Expand vote-by-mail programs and absentee voting wherever possible. This includes mailing absentee ballot applications to all active voters. It is critical that if election administrators expand vote-by-mail programs, that the state has the infrastructure and processes in place to ensure voters aren’t disenfranchised during the receipt, verification, and tallying of a larger volume of mail-in ballots.
- For states that require an excuse to vote absentee, issue executive orders or pass emergency legislation to allow public and private health issues related to COVID-19 to be used as a reason to vote absentee.
- Extend deadlines to allow late-arriving absentee ballots to be counted and to count all ballots postmarked by Election Day.
- Extend early in-person voting hours to help keep crowds and lines down at polling sites on Election Day.
- For states that have polling sites in assisted living facilities, senior community centers, or schools, election administrators should make every effort to move the polling place outside or to a new location and immediately contact the impacted voters to let them know their voting location has changed.
- Avoid moving to any email or internet voting system, as all of these systems have been proven to be insecure and votes cannot be protected from tampering or deletion. The intelligence agencies have widely documented that foreign governments are already targeting our election infrastructure and have in past years infiltrated local election boards and other election infrastructure.
Preparing Your State for an Election Under Pandemic Conditions
Here’s a 50-state breakdown of what policies states already have and still need in order to best protect the November 2020 election from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Brennan Center has laid out steps election administrators should undertake to ensure that voting is accessible, safe, and secure in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. The tables below show where states currently stand on some of our key recommendations concerning:
Voters and advocates can assess how their state stacks up and where change is needed. For those who want a more general overview of how prepared your state is for the November election, please consult the first table directly below.
State All Voters Can Vote By Mail Without an Excuse Online Mail Ballot Request Available Statewide** Deadline for Receipt of Mail Ballot Request When Mailed*** No ID Requirement To Vote by Mail**** No Notary or Witness Requirement for Return of Mail Ballot Pre-paid postage Statewide AL ✗ ✗ 5 days before election (12 PM) ✗ (Application) ✗ (2 witnesses or 1 authorized official) ✗ AK ✓ ✗ 10 days before election (12 PM) ✓ ✗ (1 witness or 1 authorized official) ✗ AZ ✓ ✓ 11 days before election (5 PM) ✓ ✓ ✓ AR ✗ ✗ 7 days before election (12 PM) ✗ (ID or sworn statement with ballot) ✓ ✗ CA Vote by Mail* Vote by Mail* Vote by Mail* ✓ ✓ ✓ CO Vote by Mail* Vote by Mail* Vote by Mail* ✓ ✓ ✗ CT ✗ ✗ 1 day before election (12 PM) ✓ ✓ ✗ DE ✗ ✓ 7 days before election (12 PM) ✓ ✓ ✓ DC ✓ ✓ 4 days before election (12 PM) ✓ ✓ ✗ FL ✓ ✓ Postmark 10 days before election (5 PM) ✓ ✓ ✗ GA ✓ ✓ 4 days before election (12 PM) ✓ ✓ ✗ HI Vote by Mail* Vote by Mail* Vote by Mail* ✓ ✓ ✓ ID ✓ ✓ 11 days before election (12 PM) ✓ ✓ ✗ IL ✓ ✗ 5 days before election (12 PM) ✓ ✓ ✗ IN ✗ ✗ 12 days before election (12 PM) ✓ ✓ ✓ IA ✓ ✗ 10 days before general election; 11 days for all other elections (5 PM) ✓ ✓ ✓ KS ✓ ✗ 7 days before election (12 PM) ✗ (Application) ✓ ✗ KY ✗ ✗ 7 days before election (12 PM) ✓ ✓ ✗ LA ✗ ✓ 4 days before election (12 PM) ✓ ✗ (1 witness) ✗ ME ✓ ✓ 3 business days before election (12 PM) ✓ ✓ ✗
MD ✓ ✓ 7 days before election (12 PM) ✓ ✓ ✗ MA ✗ ✗ 1 day before election (12 PM) ✓ ✓ ✗ MI ✓ ✗ 4 days before election (5 PM) ✓ ✓ ✗ MN ✓ ✗ 1 day before election (12 PM) ✓ ✗ (1 witness or notary public) ✓ MS ✗ ✗ None ✓ ✗ (authorized official) ✗ MO ✗ ✗ 13 days before election (12 PM) ✓ ✗ (notary public) ✓ MT ✓ ✗ 1 day before election (12 PM) ✓ ✓ ✗ NE ✓ ✗ 12 days before election (6 PM) ✓ ✓ ✗ NV ✓ ✗ 14 days before election (5 PM) ✓ ✓ ✓ NH ✗ ✗ 1 day before election (5 PM) ✓ ✓ ✗ NJ ✓ ✗ 7 days before election (12 PM) ✓ ✓ ✗ NM ✓ ✓ 5 days before election (5 PM) ✓ ✓ ✓ NY ✗ ✗ 7 days before election (12 PM) ✓ ✓ ✗ NC ✓ ✗ 7 days before election (12 PM) ✓ ✗ (2 witnesses or 1 notary public) ✗ ND ✓ ✓ 1 day before election (12 PM) ✗ (Application) ✓ ✗ OH ✓ ✗ 3 days before election (12 PM) ✓ ✓ ✗ OK ✓ ✓ 6 days before election (5 PM) ✓ ✗ (notary public) ✗ OR Vote by Mail* Vote by Mail* Vote by Mail* ✓ ✓ ✓ PA ✓ ✓ 7 days before election (5 PM) ✓ ✓ ✗ RI ✓ ✗ 21 days before election (12 PM) ✓ ✗ (2 witnesses or 1 notary public) Unclear; Depends on SOS SC ✗ ✗ 4 days before election (12 PM) ✓ ✗ (1 witness) ✗ SD ✓ ✗ 1 day before election (5 PM) X (Notarized oath or ID with application) ✓ ✗ TN ✗ ✗ 7 days before election (12 PM) ✓ ✓ ✗ TX ✗ ✗ 11 days before election (12 PM) ✓ ✓ ✗ UT Vote by Mail* Vote by Mail* Vote by Mail* ✓ ✓ ✗ VT ✓ ✓ 1 day before election (5 PM) ✓ ✓ ✗ VA ✓ ✓ 7 days before election (12 PM) ✓ ✗ (1 witness) ✗ WA Vote by Mail* Vote by Mail* Vote by Mail* ✓ ✓ ✓ WV ✗ ✗ 6 days before election (12 PM) ✓ ✓ ✓ WI ✓ ✓ 5 days before election (5 PM) ✗ (Application) ✗ (1 witness) ✓ WY ✓ ✗ 1 day before election (12 PM) ✓ ✓ ✗
States rush to prepare for huge surge of mail voting
Politico — April 25, 2020
But election experts warn that states don’t have time to wait for Congress to appropriate more money for election aid, so secretaries of state have started seeking advice and guidance from counterparts in states that run predominantly mail-in elections, like Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
“Colorado has had time to really perfect our system, and now we’re here to lend a hand,” said Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat who said she’s texted with Ohio’s Republican secretary of state, Frank LaRose, and that her staff has been in communication with other states. “We want to see all secretaries of state in all these states succeed. So we want to share our expertise and help states put together their mail ballot systems as quickly as possible.”
The National Association of Secretaries of State, composed of top election administrators from across the country, has started holding weekly conference calls to discuss tackling elections during a pandemic.
“The secretaries are pretty good about being on the phone, shar[ing] a few war stories,” said Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican and the president of NASS. “And also to talk about some best practices and vendors that might be out there that we can tap into.”
New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver jokingly referred to Kim Wyman, her counterpart from Washington state, as “the most popular girl at the dance right now,” saying the longtime Washington elections official has been indispensable to others trying to rapidly accommodate more voting by mail. LaRose said he’s talked to other secretaries of states about the importance of postage-paid envelopes and having drop boxes for voters who wanted to drop them off in person.
Some states are taking legislative steps to expand mail-in voting in their state and otherwise protect voters from the virus. Virginia became a no-excuse absentee voting state after Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam signed a series of voting access laws in mid-April, which were already making their way through the state Legislature before the pandemic.
Other states are making temporary changes. The secretary of state and attorney general in New Hampshire, which requires voters to provide an excuse to vote absentee, co-authored a memo announcing that they would treat concern over coronavirus as a valid excuse in this year’s elections.“Voters should not have to choose between their health and exercising their constitutional right to vote,” they wrote.
NASS President Paul Pate & President-elect Maggie Toulouse Oliver Open Letter to Congress and American Voters on COVID-19 Election Preparations — March 25, 2020
— — — —
One has to seriously question the patriotism of anyone actively working to restrict the constitutional right to vote — instead of expanding it — for pandemic-weary Americans.
How can America EVER truly be great — if Americans are NOT given every opportunity to Vote —
Instead of every obstacle ?
COVID deaths — 100K and counting.