FairVote: Every American voter has the right to participate in elections, but not everyone can get to their local high school gym, spend an hour in line, and fill out a ballot on a work day in the middle of the week. Access to alternative voting pathways is key to bringing more voices into the process. Absentee voting laws in most states are intended to do just this, providing an avenue for voters to participate even if they cannot appear in person at the polls on the day of the election.
Unfortunately, many still miss the mark. In the most recent primary voting states, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island all maintain strict excuse-required absentee voting. In these states, only select groups of qualifying voters are eligible to receive absentee ballots. Voters must legally certify that they are not able to vote in-person for one of the pre-approved so-called “excuses”. While religious objections, travel, disability, and military service are covered, a variety of other categories are not. Voters with work obligations, responsible for child-care, or experiencing unexpected illness on the day of voting, for example, are effectively disenfranchised as none of those barriers qualify them to receive absentee ballots. Read more.