Tell Congress to Fund and Mandate a Vote-by-Mail Standard for All States in 2020

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Sponsor: The Veterans Site

All citizens deserve the right to vote safely.

As the COVID-19 pandemic circumnavigated the globe this spring, state and national leaders had to make the difficult decision whether to postpone presidential primary elections or to hold them and risk spreading the virus to more people.

Wisconsin is a particularly regrettable example. On April 7th, 2020, Wisconsin held its primary elections in the midst of the pandemic, putting its voters and poll workers at risk of infection and forcing some people—particularly vulnerable populations such as the elderly and immunocompromised—to skip voting altogether.1 People showed up in homemade masks and protested with signs, but the in-person voting went forward all the same.

A record-breaking 1.2 million absentee ballots were requested this year in Wisconsin alone,2 and it’s likely that this is only a preview of how the November elections will go across the nation. Numbers like this threaten to overwhelm the U.S. Postal Service—as evidenced by the large number of Wisconsin ballots that didn’t reach voters in time3—unless we implement and fund a vote-by-mail program.

We can’t allow COVID-19 to become an excuse for disenfranchising voters across the nation or forcing people to risk their lives at the polls. Some states are already looking into adopting vote-by-mail systems,4 but a national vote-by-mail strategy would ensure that all states have the financial and logistical means to make it a reality.5

Five U.S. states already primarily conduct their voting by mail, which eliminates long lines at the polls and allows people who work long hours to vote.1 In fact, in 2018, one out of every four citizens who cast a ballot did so by mail.6 As shown by a study conducted on hundreds of millions of votes in Oregon, which found fewer than 15 fraudulent votes by mail over the course of a decade, the process is safe and secure, as well as easier for many voters.2 Plus, a study of Colorado’s voting process showed that switching to voting by mail actually saved the state about $6 per voter.5

No one knows exactly when the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic will be over, nor do we have any idea when the next deadly disease will sweep across the globe. We only know that it’s happening now and that similar public health catastrophes will likely happen again in the future.

Sign the petition to tell the U.S. Congress to fund and create a vote-by-mail standard policy for all states so that no citizen will have to choose between their safety and their right to vote in future elections.

More about this issue:

  1. “In the Pandemic, Every State Should Vote by Mail,” Priscilla Southwell, The Atlantic; April 14, 2020
  2. “Wisconsin Proves It: Republicans Will Sacrifice Voters' Health to Keep Power,” David Daley, The Guardian; April 10, 2020
  3. “How to Vote by Mail in All 50 States,” Harry Cheadle, VICE; April 14, 2020
  4. “Texas Judge Set To Order State To Allow All Voters To Request Mail-In Ballots,” Ashley Lopez, NPR; April 15, 2020
  5. “Voting by Mail Could Be What States Need. But Can They Pull It Off?” Michael Wines, New York Times; April 11, 2020
  6. “Vote-by-Mail Should Be Having It’s Moment. Will It?” Taylor Hatmaker, TechCrunch; April 13, 2020
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The Petition:

Dear U.S. Congress,

We will not stand idly by while rights are taken away from voters due to the COVID-19 virus or any other future public health crisis. All U.S. citizens deserve the right to vote safely, no matter what catastrophe is happening in the world at the time.

There is one simple way to ensure that U.S. citizens will always be able to vote safely and easily from the comfort of their homes without any risk of illness or bodily harm. We must implement a vote-by-mail plan to make voting easier and safer for all.

We demand that you enact funding and legislation to make the opportunity to vote by mail easily accessible to all U.S. citizens in every state, starting with the 2020 presidential election.


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