As we work fast to protect the health of our citizens, and mitigate the damage on the economy, so must we work to protect the heart of our democracy: the ability to vote.
Until we get a vaccine, the coronavirus will make it difficult for us to gather in large groups or be very close to one another. Which, of course, means that going to a polling place to vote in-person is not a great idea.
Naturally, we’ve seen a lot of states postpone their primary and special elections. Here’s the latest list of postponements, courtesy Stephen Wolf’s Voting Rights Roundup at Daily Kos:
There has also been a steady and growing drumbeat that all citizens should have the ability to vote by mail. (It is also a central feature of the Brennan’s Center wonderful plan for the this November’s elections as outlined in their report, How to Protect the 2020 Vote from the Coronavirus.)
Including funding for the states to be able to administer voting by mail (among other protections) has been a key part of the the third coronavirus bill that Congress has been negotiating for the past week. Hopefully those measures stay in the final bill.
There are a lot of moving pieces, and I will continue to bring periodic updates here at Political Charge. I have been heartened to see that while some states that still require a valid “excuse” in order for a voter to get an absentee ballot, some have said that the coronavirus pandemic will be considered a valid excuse for 2020. But not all of them.
These are the states that require an excuse to request an absentee ballot:
If you are in one of these states, or you know anyone who lives in one of these states, the time to pressure state elections officials is now. In addition to your state legislators (contact info HERE), I recommend contacting your state election officials (that info is HERE), and finally, your state Democratic party officials (contact info HERE.)
We need to pressure the states to immediately prepare to provide their voters with the ability to vote by mail (or absentee.) Consider using the hashtag #VoteByMail whenever you can on social media to help build awareness. Some states are making it easy on their voters (like Georgia who is mailing absentee request forms to every voter) and others aren’t doing one thing to prepare.
Thank you for helping in this nationwide effort to make sure every voter has access to the ballot in the healthiest possible manner.