Calls for vote-by-mail rise with stay-at-home orders

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CNN: Election officials and voting rights groups are calling for a general move to an all vote-by-mail system for remaining primaries and the November general election as the spread of the novel coronavirus continues to shut down major cities and states across the US.

Ellen Weintraub, one of three current members of the Federal Election Commission and its former chairwoman, said this week that voting by mail is a “necessary and urgent” step in the face of the pandemic.

“As Congress and the White House race to save American lives and preserve America’s economy, they must also act swiftly to protect America’s democracy,” Weintraub said in a statement Thursday. “No one should have to risk their life — or the lives of their loved ones — to cast their vote.”

She joined a chorus of election officials and voting rights advocates across the country that have been pushing for a radical change to how American exercise their most fundamental right in the face of an unprecedented health crisis.

Voters in Illinois who participated in that state’s presidential primary this past week were met with health precautions like the use of social distancing, hand sanitizer and wipes that led to long lines and delayed start times at polling locations.

Currently five states — Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah — conduct elections entirely by mail, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, while another 28 states and the District of Columbia offer “no-excuse” voting by mail.¬† Read more.