Voting rights experts agree: Americans must be able to cast a ballot by mail to ensure that they can safely and securely vote this year.
Congress has already passed some funding for states to implement vote-by-mail, but the amount is a fraction of what’s needed to prevent COVID-19 from disrupting the 2020 election. In this election, perhaps more than any other, voters deserve the chance to elect leaders who will protect their health and safety, governing with their interests in mind.
While no voting system is perfect, the fact that multiple states already conduct their elections almost entirely by mail demonstrates vote-by-mail as an option can be successfully adopted around the country. We also know that vote-by-mail increases voter turnout across the board. According to the New York Times, in the 2018 midterms, states that allowed voting by mail had, on average, a 15.5 percentage point higher turnout than states that did not.
We also need other options for registering to vote and casting a ballot, like online voter registration and early voting, in states that don’t already have them. Election experts have calculated that states will need an additional $4 billion to implement these voting reforms to hold a safe and secure election in November.
I commend lawmakers for allocating some funds to expand vote-by-mail and other election assistance, but I am counting on Congress to recognize the magnitude of the threat that COVID-19 poses to our elections and provide the full $4 billion in funding that states need.
We must expand vote-by-mail before it’s too late.