Vote at Home | Weekly Roundup July 27, 2020

Beth Hladick
Director, Research & Outreach
Unite America

Pennsylvania will cover postage for voters to VAH in the November general election(!). Under the plan announced today, voters will receive a postage-paid envelope to return their ballot (funded by the March CARES Act). Each county will have options to foot the cost of postage for voters: either through stamps, metered machines, or business-reply mail accounts linked to the state’s.

24 states have altered election rules for November, with most changes designed to promote mail voting. See the Fulcrum’s new map of where election rules have changed, and WaPo’s map of where Americans can cast ballots by mail in November. Changes soon to come in NY [see below] and CT will expand no-excuse voting for their primary.

The Senate GOP coronavirus package out this week did not include elections funding. That’s it. That’s the tweet. Republican election officials in MO, MI, UT, and CA co-authored an op-ed in Politico (highly recommend) summarizing their concerns ahead of November. Also not in the initial package: funding to rescue the USPS from a financial crisis this fall.

New York’s primary is still being described as a “train wreck,” though help is on the way. A package of bills passed by the state legislature will allow key changes in NY’s VAH system, including no-excuse absentee voting in November (S8015D). After the state’s June 23rd primary, thousands of absentee ballots were invalidated, prompting two federal lawsuits and severely delayed counts. Under another new law (S8370B), voters will be notified if their ballot has been disqualified and will have a week to address any challenges. Gov. Cuomo said he supports statewide system changes in the legislation, which will require his signature to become law.

New polling released yesterday (n=1,932) finds 70 percent of voters support a mail-in option, including 88 percent of Democrats, 71 percent of independents and 50 percent of Republicans. The polling also suggests bipartisan opposition to ballot harvesting, with 80 percent of voters agreeing ballots should be mailed and not collected by partisans. Also this week, polling finds over half of voters under the age of 35 say they don’t have the resources or the knowledge they need to VAH in November. However, 77 percent of voters under 35 said they were more motivated to vote than in any other prior election.

From our partners: Issue One’s bipartisan ReFormers Caucus (a group of approximately 200 former members of Congress, Cabinet officials, and governors) signed a letter to support additional elections funding for states and localities.

Up next: on Tuesday, August 4th, AZ, KS, MI, MO, and WA have state primaries, followed closely by TN (August 6) and Hawaii (August 8).

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