Thursday, August 13, 2020
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Opinion | Voting by Mail Is Essential for 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 alter the outcomes.

The actual purpose to make mail voting extensively accessible isn’t to assist one celebration or one other — it’s to assist the American individuals take part in their very own democracy as totally as attainable. 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 a minimum of feeding it right into a scanner. It’s comprehensible that folks could be cautious of or confused by a brand new methodology.

That’s why public-education efforts will probably be important over the subsequent few months. State and native officers want to clarify, 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. This can make the method safer and likewise 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 schooling on the earth gained’t assist if ballots are rejected or uncounted by way of no fault of the voter — say, as a result of mail backups delay their arrival. By one estimate, as many as four % 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 permit for every 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 normal, a Trump donor named Louis DeJoy, is making issues worse by slashing additional time and slowing the supply of standard mail. Maybe not coincidentally, Mr. Trump has began insisting {that a} winner be referred to as on election night time itself, and never a second later.)

The crush on the Postal Service will probably be actual, and it may be eased by offering extra locations for voters to drop off their ballots in particular person — like devoted drop packing containers, that are common in Colorado.

The strain on election employees to course of all these additional mail ballots could be alleviated by hiring extra of them, paying them a good wage and, critically, reminding voters to not get antsy when last outcomes aren’t instantly clear. Counting absentee ballots can take time. That’s not fraud.



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