Mail voting is essential
Published 5:55 pm Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Editor, The Smithfield Times:
This election is one of the most important in my lifetime, but this worsening national crisis will make it difficult for many to participate in it.
That’s why voting rights experts agree: Americans must be able to cast a ballot by mail to ensure that they can safely and securely vote this year. Trump and his cronies are wrong: Mail-in voting is not a means to rig the election. In fact, Trump himself has voted by mail numerous times while in office.
Funding for elections has already been approved by the House, so it’s far past time for the Senate to step up and make sure that voting is safe, fair and accessible for everyone across the country.
While no voting system is perfect, we already know mail-in voting works. Multiple states conduct their elections almost entirely by mail, with incredibly high turnout rates. According to The New York Times, in the 2018 midterms, states that allowed voting by mail had, on average, a 15.5% higher turnout than states that did not.
Increasing voter participation is a universal good that benefits everyone — and our elected leaders should want everyone who’s eligible to vote.
I’m grateful that my representatives allocated some funds to expand vote-by-mail and other election assistance measures like early voting, but I am counting on Congress to recognize the greater need to protect our democracy and the health of their constituents. We can’t afford to wait any longer. States need an additional $3.6 billion in federal funding right now.
We have to protect our elections before it’s too late.