Coronavirus crisis forces states to prioritize mail-in ballots

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Axios: Mail-in ballots are becoming states’ saving grace for their 2020 primary contests as the coronavirus crisis deepens in the U.S. Why it matters: Amid CDC guidance that gatherings shouldn’t exceed 50 people, the states voting today — Arizona, Florida and Illinois — all have multiple confirmed cases of the illness and are pushing citizens to consider their mail-in options. Ohio was also set to vote on Tuesday, but has declared a public health emergency, postponing its primaries because of concerns about coronavirus. Its state Democratic Party chairman David Pepper released a statement that included another alternative: conduct the primary entirely by vote-by-mail. … Read More

The race to change how America votes

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Axios: With in-person elections on Nov. 3 the hope but no longer a certainty, states are racing to chip away age-old barriers to alternatives in time for the general election. Why it matters: State laws and political calculations remain formidable obstacles to expanding voting options. And the price tag for changes could top $2 billion. “The more people who vote early or vote by mail means fewer people standing in line on election day,” California Secretary of State Alex Padilla told Axios.  Read more.

“Time Is of the Essence”: How States Can Shore Up Mail Voting

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The Appeal: As many states postpone primaries due to the coronavirus outbreak, Oregon still plans to hold its May elections. “Because Oregon votes by mail, we do not have to be concerned about social distancing issues at polling places that so many other states are struggling with,” Secretary of State Bev Clarno said last week. “Many states are looking to implement our vote by mail system as a safer way to conduct elections in November.” Oregon adopted a vote-by-mail system in 1998, and four other states have followed since (Colorado, Hawaii, Utah, and Washington). In these states, all registered voters … Read More

Preparing for an Election Under Pandemic Conditions

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Here’s a 50-state breakdown of what systems election administrators have and don’t have in place to protect the 2020 election from the Covid-19 pandemic Brennan Center for Justice: The Brennan Center has laid out steps election administrators should undertake to ensure that voting is accessible, safe, and secure in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. While significant changes across the country are needed, not all states are starting from the same place. The table below shows where states currently stand on some of our key recommendations concerning voting by mail, early voting, use of vote centers, and voter registration.  Read … Read More

The Coronavirus Could Change How We Vote, In 2020 And Beyond

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FiveThirtyEight: The 2020 election will likely be different thanks to the new coronavirus. In fact, COVID-19 has already left its mark on the Democratic nomination race, with many states postponing their primaries. So it’s likely that in the coming months, states will begin to move toward allowing more voters to mail in their ballots, or at least cast votes early to spread people out. It’s entirely possible that Election Day 2020 will be more like Election Month (or perhaps months, depending on how long it takes to count the ballots). That means between now and November, states and election administrators are … Read More

Democrats throw down the gauntlet on vote-by-mail

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Washington Post: Here’s a good piece of news amid the parade of horrors: House Democrats are set to introduce their own version of the stimulus, and importantly, it includes a set of provisions that would potentially prevent coronavirusfrom scuttling this fall’s elections. The provisions in question would make it possible for every eligible voter in the country to cast a vote by mail. This would spare them the excruciating choice between practicing social distancing — thus protecting themselves and the rest of us from the spread of the disease — and exercising their right to the franchise. The new House … Read More