This is the 18th installment in our What’s on your mind? blog series and was written by Field Coordinator Paul Fedore.
This election year is the first time Pennsylvanians will be able to at-will vote by mail to cast their ballot in the election. This could not have come a more critical time, with the risk of the COVID-19 pandemic in our communities. Due to the health risks presented by the virus, many people plan to get their voices heard this November by voting through the mail.
There has been a lot of rhetoric about the ability to trust the mail-in ballot process, but many states are already planning and preparing for a major influx of mail-in ballots this November. Local election offices across the state are working diligently to ensure that voters have access to voting and to protect against any voter fraud. The rhetoric against vote-by-mail ignores the various safeguards states like PA have put in place to prevent fraud. When you register to vote by mail, you get a specific code and can track your ballot through the process to ensure the election office has received it and has counted it. They are also developing systems to help prevent voter fraud by making sure that people who have received a mail-in ballot are not able to vote at the polls. With the increase in vote-by-mail this year, we may have to be a little patient in getting the results of the election. In the months leading up to the 2020 PA primary, 1.5 million registered voters were planning to vote by mail -17 times more mail-in voters than in the 2016 primary – but we still had the results of the primary election within a week. Elections officials nationwide are preparing their systems to make sure every vote is counted by hiring professional counters, further demonstrating their commitment to making the process efficient and secure.
Republicans and President Trump have not renewed needed funding for the Postal Service, and for small-town and rural voters, this could mean increased time for mail to be delivered. This is a direct attempt to reduce people’s access to voting by mail, and therefore we must work harder to ensure that, during a global health crisis, everyone’s vote counts. Ensuring access to mail-in voting will increase voter turnout, meaning more voices are heard, standing up for what matters most for the residents of this country. There are a number of benefits to mail-in voting that cannot be stressed enough. Vote-by-mail is expected to increase voter turnout, meaning that more people are involved in our political process, and more voices are heard regarding the issues that matter most for the residents of this country. The process of casting a vote by mail allows voters more time to review all candidates on the ballot, giving voters more time to research candidates and platforms. Some even suggest that vote-by-mail can reduce the amount of money states spend on elections in the long run.
One of our most basic rights in this country is our right to vote, and defending our democracy depends on the ability of all people to access the ballot. Vote-by-mail significantly increases this access for people – people who might be working long shifts, balancing busy schedules for their children, or who are at risk from COVID-19. We encourage everyone interested in vote-by-mail to request their ballots early and return them as soon as possible. If you have questions about vote by mail, please reach out to our Field Coordinator, Paul Fedore, at firstname.lastname@example.org.