Voters mustn’t have to select between their well being and taking part in democracy. As states transfer rapidly to adapt to a brand new COVID-19 surroundings, increasing absentee voting and vote by mail have to be an choice.
As the Secretaries of State of Colorado and Washington, we not too long ago participated in a bipartisan roundtable discussion with RepresentUs, a right-left anti-corruption group, to speak about the advantages of vote by mail.
Our message was clear: voting by mail is a protected, safe, and environment friendly methodology of conducting elections.
Vote by mail is not a partisan situation. We all need our elections to be truthful and to precisely signify the need of the folks.
In Colorado and Washington, we guarantee our elections are safe, truthful and correct. Both our states verify poll signatures in opposition to the registry and notify voters of discrepancies and errors. We use voting gear that is not related to the web, we maintain post-election audits, and we constructed a system to cease fraud and prosecute dangerous actors. We’re not afraid to maintain wrong-doers accountable, and it makes our whole system stronger. We take the safety of our elections extraordinarily significantly, and can guarantee you that vote at house will increase election safety.
Vote by mail not solely retains voters protected in a pandemic, it additionally leads to increased voter turnout.
Among all states which have held a presidential major so far, Colorado had the very best energetic voter turnout within the nation at 46 %. On March 10, Washington noticed turnout of 42 %, a whopping 11 factors increased than the subsequent highest major held on that day, though it was an early epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak on the time. Voting by mail can spare Americans the selection between staying wholesome and exercising a basic proper to vote.
Vote by mail advantages each Democrats and Republicans. A Reuters poll discovered 72 % of Americansincluding a majority of Republicansare in favor of increasing voting-by-mail choices throughout the nation. Significant parts of the citizens, significantly susceptible seniors, might select to forgo their proper to vote in the event that they’re too involved for his or her well being to present up on Election Day. Vote at house additionally advantages rural voters who might have to journey longer distances to polling websites.
Today, voting at house is the default in 5 states: Oregon, Colorado, Utah, Hawaii and Washington. In all different states, most voters have to request an absentee mail poll. And in 16 of these states, voters should present an excuse, corresponding to journey or hospitalization, to even obtain an absentee poll. A handful of states have offered essential momentary exceptions within the wake of the disaster, however because it stands now, many Americans could have no selection however to line up at crowded polling places in 2020 and put themselves in danger, or not vote. This is unacceptable in a rustic that prides itself on being progressive, adaptive, and combating for the best of each eligible American to vote.
Congress put aside $400 million to assist states develop voting by mail and early voting, in addition to improve security measures. This is a great begin, but it surely is not sufficient. The Brennan Center estimates we’d like as a lot as $2 billion to run free and truthful elections within the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
States should use these federal funds to develop voting at house for upcoming primaries. Congress ought to present extra funding so all states can undertake the safe elections resolution that has been confirmed to work in Colorado and Washington.
Voters throughout the political spectrum deserve to keep protected and have their voices heard.
Jena Griswold (D) is the Colorado Secretary of State. Kim Wyman (R) is the Secretary of State of Washington. Joshua Silver is Director and Co-founder at RepresentUs.
The views expressed on this article are the authors’ personal.