The scenes last month during the Wisconsin Primary Election should enrage us all. In Milwaukee, as the polls were closing, there remained lines wrapped around several blocks, voters spaced a comfortable 6 feet apart, some wearing masks, waiting to get inside their polling place. It was cold. It was raining, yet still, people waited to have their say in the democratic process.
Every time we vote, it should be safe, efficient and easy. How can we ensure that criteria is met? Offer a variety of opportunities to vote, from at the polls on Election Day, early voting and, likely the safest way of all, vote by mail.
The Nov. 3 election is just seven months away. How prepared are states for an increase ― or demand ― from the electorate to vote by mail? Lawmakers and election officials nationwide need to know that answer soon and prepare for it.
It is likely come November, if we are still battling the coronavirus as we do today, a good portion of our electorate will not want to venture out to public places, including the polls on Election Day. And if a registered voter wants to cast a ballot, our county, state and federal governments better make it easy for them to do so in any manner.
Some election officials in Illinois says vote by mail could increase the number of voters and provide a safer election during the coronavirus pandemic. That’s great news. But Illinois is likely not where voters will experience obstacles to vote by mail. Still, Democrats and Republicans nationwide are preparing for a state-by-state legal fight over how citizens can safely cast their ballots should the coronavirus outbreak persist toward November.
The outcome of the court battles — expected to litigate mail-in voting rules, voter identification requirements and safe access to polls — may have a significant impact on the presidential election.
We can’t allow that to happen. We need a bipartisan push nationwide to prepare all states to plan and allow for a greater opportunity for voters to choose to vote by mail.