Vote at Home: How our democracy survives a pandemic
Coronavirus has upended nearly every aspect of American life, as American’s brace for the worst of the pandemic’s impacts yet to come.
With the historic 2020 elections coming up, it’s critical that our political leaders begin to think about how Americans can vote safely and securely come their primaries, and more importantly, come November.
In a new report, the Unite America Institute breaks down what each state must do in order to institute vote at home election systems by November.
From increasing the number of ballot drop off locations to expanding their capacity to deal with absentee voter requests, state election officials must work now in order to ensure that our elections are representative of all voters. Most importantly, 17 states will move to no-excuse absentee ballot requests, Congress will need to allocate funding to states switching to vote at home systems, and election officials need to invest now in the training and technology necessary to mail and count ballots at scale.
Without action, voter participation will fall, election results will be delayed, and election administrators will be overwhelmed. Already, states that have held their primary during the pandemic that don’t have vote by mail systems have seen their turnout drop by up to 20% -- compared to states that voted pre-pandemic who saw turnout increase by 25%.
Two states, Indiana and West Virginia, have shown that decisive action is possible as they moved to allow primary voters to cast absentee ballots without an excuse. Twelve states have delayed primary elections, a move that protects voters in the short-run, but which is not a long-term solution. Moving to vote at home systems is the only way for these states to ensure full voter participation.