Voting by Mail – it will likely be the Preferred Method of Voting in a Coronavirus-Riddled 2020

May, 04, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has changed virtually everything about the way we live.  It has changed where we work, where our children go to school…will it change where we vote?

I was one of thousands of voters who stood in line for over an hour in California to vote in the Democratic Primary.  Our state was in its infancy of dealing with the coronavirus then.  The people in line were apprehensive, but no one wore masks and we stood close together in long lines and voted in small, crowded and poorly-ventilated rooms.  In today’s reality, these conditions would be seen as life-threatening. In fact, as of today, nineteen coronavirus cases are connected to the April 7, 2020 Wisconsin Primary Election.

So, what are we to do?

Currently, five states conduct their elections almost entirely by mail:  Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington.  These states still manage to conduct fair and efficient elections – with both parties winning certain of these states in the most recent presidential election.

A study conducted by Stanford University published this month found that vote-by-mail moderately increases overall turnout rates.  The study also found that any partisan benefit gained by mail-in voting was minimal.

In California, any registered voter can vote by mail.  You must request a vote-by-mail ballot and apply to vote by mail.  Your application must be received no later than 7 days before Election Day.  Go to www.sos.ca.gov for more information.

As Americans, regardless of our political affiliation, we know that our democracy dies when we fail to allow fair elections.  Senators blocking legislation designed to require every state to allow its citizens to vote by mail cannot be tolerated – by any of us. Especially in an America where standing in line with your fellow Americans to vote can be life-threatening.