Mail-in voting is the way of the future

Mail-in+voting+is+the+way+of+the+future

Paulina Fenske

Due to COVID-19, voters this election had to consider the health risks of voting in-person. This resulted in voters turning to other methods of voting: absentee ballots and mail-in voting. Although some people use these terms interchangeably, they are different. An absentee ballot is generally used in every state and refers to a ballot cast by a voter who cannot physically be at the polls on Election day. Mail-in voting refers to ballots sent through the mail.

Voting by mail allowed people to do their civic duty and feel safe doing so. Although voting by mail has been utilized in the past, the number of people using this option increased dramatically in the 2020 election. I believe that this year demonstrates mail-in voting should be a more widespread option that is available to all Americans regardless of the reasons. In addition, implementing a better infrastructure will also make mail-in voting a more viable option as the USPS is still continuing to find ballots post-election. 

Mail-in voting should be a more widespread option that is available to all Americans regardless of the reasons.”

 New York Times experts estimated, before the election, that about 80 million mail-in ballots would enter election offices this fall, which is more than double the number of ballots in 2016.  With many Americans fearing the effects of the pandemic, this acceleration was expected. In past elections, certain states have required that voters need a reason for requesting an absentee ballot. 

Each state has different requirements that need to be met in order for a voter to request an absentee ballot. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, two thirds of the states allow any qualified voter to vote absentee. In the remaining third of states, an excuse is needed in order to utilize this option. Most states additionally require voters to submit an application in order to have the ballot mailed to them. Temporary modifications were made due to COVID-19 including options for deadline extensions, eligibility extensions and mail-in ballots sent automatically to all voters in many states including California, Delaware, Illinois and Iowa. Absentee ballots have made voting easier for immunocompromised voters, disabled voters, working voters and anyone who cannot make it to the polls on Election day. According to the Brennan Center For Justice, “Many states have mail in options, however they are ill-equipped and lack federal funding.” It is crucial that election offices get the funding that they need so that mail-in ballots can be counted. 

Specifically in the 2020 presidential election, President Trump has made his feelings clear about the expansion of postal voting. 

Mail-in ballots are very dangerous–there’s tremendous fraud involved” Trump told reporters in May.

The president’s theory has propelled numerous false accusations that mail-in ballots have been fraudulent and have discredited elections. This has been constantly disproved by government officials.  Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado responded to Donald Trump, stating, “Mr. President, we’ve had vote by mail in Colorado for years. We don’t have fraud. But we do have the second highest turnout in America.”  In Bennet’s response, he shows how the use of mail-in ballots has increased voter turnout and has allowed more Americans to cast their ballot. 

With the tremendous increase in mail-in ballots amidst the pandemic and the tedious processes of mail-in voting, it was going to take longer to add up the votes; some states couldn’t even start counting these ballots until election day. Although the procedure is longer, this does not mean that the authenticity of the votes has diminished.

Isn’t this what we want for our democracy? The highest involvement possible?”

 Colorado is one of the five states that use all-mail elections, this means that voting is mostly conducted through mail. The other states are Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington. If more states adopt this process it could encourage more Americans to participate in the election and make voting more accessible. Isn’t this what we want for our democracy? The highest involvement possible?

There is no doubt that alternate options for voting gives Americans more flexibility and choice. Our democracy is one of the most unique factors of our nation and every American deserves to cast their ballot, no matter the situation. Mail-in ballots should be more accessible to all Americans in all future elections.