NANR Summit: Ranked Choice Voting and Vote-At-Home are Election Day Solutions

Emily Baller
Senior Political Associate
Unite America

The current pandemic and the looming second-wave continue to threaten upcoming elections. However, there are solutions to effectively administer elections in the age of Covid-19. By embracing innovative voting methods early, states will not only create safer elections, but also reap the benefits of higher voter turnout.

In response to the changing needs of the electorate, the National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers assembled a dynamic panel of election experts and practitioners to discuss the impact of the current pandemic on the administration of elections. These leaders shared their experiences in implementing solutions that are proven to keep voters, poll workers, and elections safe and secure. 

Panelists included Amber McReynolds, CEO of the National Vote at Home Institute, Rob Richie, President and CEO of FairVote, Amelia Powers Gardner, Utah County Clerk & Auditor, and Vicki Hiatt, Chair of the Kansas Democratic Party.

Powers Gardner and Hiatt spoke to the bipartisan effectiveness of ranked choice voting, as well as mail-in voting in their states’ primaries, and both described the reforms as both successful and palatable to voters.

Both vote at home and ranked choice voting put voter participation and safety above partisan politics. By putting voters first, election officials have the opportunity to protect our democratic values. 

And while there is much to do to prepare for upcoming primaries and a presidential election in November, Amber McReynolds reminded us that “elections are about mitigating risk.”

Allowing voters to vote from home protects elections against the vulnerabilities of electronic voting machines, while protecting citizens’ right to vote, free from concerns of physical harm, natural disasters, or a global pandemic.

Covid-19 presents an unique opportunity to change how elections are conducted. This will not only benefit voters in 2020, but will increase the effectiveness of our democracy for years to come. 

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