The ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic threatens the ability of American citizens to vote safely in person this November. Congress must act immediately to pass vote by mail legislation and ensure all eligible voters can exercise their right to vote without risking their lives.
The majority of states already allow voters to vote by mail without requiring an excuse or justification, and five states have even adopted entirely mail-based voting. However, 17 other states require an excuse to vote by mail, such as a disability or illness. The Vote by Mail Act, originally introduced in 2019, would help resolve confusion over mail-in voting options by allowing no-excuse mail-in voting in all federal elections nationwide. The bill would also require states to mail ballots to all registered voters at least two weeks before every election and authorize automatic voter registration through state Departments of Motor Vehicles.
Despite Donald Trump’s repeated lies about this issue, mail-in voter fraud is extremely rare. Our government’s ongoing failure to ensure every American citizen can vote by mail to avoid coronavirus exposure is a much more real threat to both electoral integrity and public health.