Opinion

Opinion | Voting by Mail Might Save Lives and American Democracy

Republicans could also be interested by numbers like these once they rail in opposition to mail voting. However the turnout will increase from mail voting don’t seem to vary the outcomes.The true purpose to make mail voting extensively accessible isn’t to assist one get together or one other — it’s to assist the American folks take part in their very own democracy as totally as potential. That’s why voters of each events prefer it a lot, which can be one of the best proof of all that it has no built-in partisan bias.Second, public officers should educate voters.In 2016, practically one in 4 voters forged their ballots by mail. Nonetheless, voting by mail stays a novelty for many People, who’re used to strolling into their polling place on Election Day, registering their vote and handing their poll to a different human being — or at the very least feeding it right into a scanner. It’s comprehensible that folks can be cautious of or confused by a brand new methodology.That’s why public-education efforts will likely be essential over the subsequent few months. State and native officers want to elucidate, in clear and easy phrases, when and easy methods to request an absentee poll and easy methods to fill one out, signal it and ship it again. It will make the method safer and in addition scale back the variety of ballots rejected as a result of they weren’t correctly stuffed out or signed. When ballots are rejected, states should give voters a good alternative to repair any errors.After all, all of the training on the planet gained’t assist if ballots are rejected or uncounted via no fault of the voter — say, as a result of mail backups delay their arrival. By one estimate, as many as four p.c of all mail ballots went uncounted in 2016. At a minimal, states that don’t already settle for ballots that arrive after Election Day should replace their election legal guidelines and guidelines to take action. Whether or not they enable for per week or 10 days, the window must be lengthy sufficient to account for delays in mail dealing with and postmark mix-ups that led to the dumping of so many absentee ballots in New York’s main. (The postmaster basic, a Trump donor named Louis DeJoy, is making issues worse by slashing time beyond regulation and slowing the supply of normal mail. Maybe not coincidentally, Mr. Trump has began insisting {that a} winner be referred to as on election evening itself, and never a second later.)The crush on the Postal Service will likely be actual, and it may be eased by offering extra locations for voters to drop off their ballots in individual — like devoted drop bins, that are standard in Colorado.The strain on election staff to course of all these additional mail ballots may be alleviated by hiring extra of them, paying them a good wage and, critically, reminding voters to not get antsy when remaining outcomes aren’t instantly clear. Counting absentee ballots can take time. That’s not fraud.

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