One Big Thing: If given the option, would you vote by mail in November?
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What is it?
- Since the outbreak of COVID-19, states around the country have had to postpone or make changes to voting processes in primary elections.
- On Friday May 8, California, the most populous U.S. state, announced that it would universally provide mail in ballots for registered voters all across the state. Although the ballots will be sent out, Californians will still have the option to vote in person at a polling station.
- Other states including Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Indiana have encouraged voters to use mail-in ballots for the upcoming primary elections. These changes come in the wake of Wisconsin’s primary election where voters were forced to stand in long lines to cast their votes in person, but many also mailed in ballots.
Why is it important?
- Five states already conduct elections entirely by mail: Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Utah according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
- California’s move to mail in ballots is a step in the right direction to prepare for the fast-approaching presidential election with respect to COVID-19. Still, more is needed in terms of funding and election preparedness to make the switch – for example, ballot printers across the country have increased production in anticipation of the heightened need.
- While over 20 states have postponed their primary elections, ensuring the November election goes forward on time is essential to American democracy. The only constitutionally legal way to postpone the election is by majority support both houses of Congress.
- A Pew Research Center poll released last month showed that 2/3 Americans believe that it is likely that the presidential election will be disrupted by COVID-19. Despite this, it also showed that broad support for vote-by-mail options in November.
What can you do?
- Check out a list of states that allow mail in ballots to see if you can receive yours already!
- Learn more about legislation in the U.S. Senate aimed to make mail-in voting widely available and appropriates $500 million to help election officials around the country prepare.
- Make sure you are registered to vote and sign up online from Vote.gov
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