Nationwide vote-by-mail is not just a good idea, it's necessary
April 8, 2020
While the nation navigates a public health and economic crisis, many aspects of our daily lives have been put on hold. As we confront the challenges of stay-at-home guidelines and are forced to postpone family gatherings, birthdays, and sporting events, there are other parts of society that must continue. Chief among these is our democracy, which the United States cannot afford to put on hold.
We need vote-by-mail nationwide. It's no longer just a good idea, it's a necessity.
I've been fighting for years in Congress to bring the Oregon model of vote-by-mail nationwide. Oregon has seen vote-by-mail improve voter turnout and election security—it's a no brainer. Now, more than ever, the rest of America needs to follow suit. 58% of poll workers during the 2018 election cycle were over the age of 60, the primary at risk community for COVID-19. With a crucial election season approaching, we should not be putting individuals that are highly susceptible to contracting COVID-19 in danger by forcing them to vote in person.
I introduced legislation in the House weeks ago to require states to implement plans to safely conduct their elections amidst this pandemic, and to federally fund nationwide vote-by-mail. This language must be included in the next relief package. I'm fighting to ensure our elections are not only safe, but safe to participate in.
Over the past few weeks, several states have delayed presidential primary election voting, and as recently as yesterday, the Supreme Court shamefully shot down Wisconsin’s attempt to allow for expanded absentee voting. In clear defiance of public health guidance, Wisconsin is now forced to vote in the middle of a pandemic, putting citizens and the election at risk. Trump has publicly criticized our efforts to expand voter access during this crisis. Any opposition to prioritizing public health while expanding voter access is shameful.
We need to act responsibly and allow for absentee voting to keep our communities safe. Nothing should be overlooked during national emergencies, including the integrity of our democracy. I will continue to fight for the Oregon way nationwide, especially in these troubling times. Our democracy depends on it.