Today, it’s dangerous to leave your house without a mask on. Most people are working and studying from home. Life as we know it has changed in so many ways. If we’re changing every other part of society, the way we vote this year should change too.
President Donald Trump is not a fan of universal mail-in voting. During a news conference at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, he expressed his dislike for ballots being supplied to voters without requesting them.
“Universal mail-in voting is going to be catastrophic, it’s going to make us a laughingstock all over the world,” he said.
Despite voting by mail this year himself, our president insists this method is unsafe and unverifiable but come November, voting by mail will be by far the safest and most inclusive form of voting.
In-person voting presents the perfect conditions to spread COVID-19, and updates to Florida voting precincts have been inconsistent.
While Hillsborough is preparing protective measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Pinellas, just one county over, still uses paper ballots and doesn’t require masks indoors, according to the Pinellas County supervisor of elections website.
While the in-person voting process could change this year to combat coronavirus, in-person voting methods vary by location, making it nearly impossible to make sure all voting locations follow safety regulations. Mailing your ballot from home eliminates this problem.
Danielle Roote, associate director of voting rights at the Center for American Progress, expressed her concerns regarding voting in a May article for the center.
“Conducting elections in the usual manner will jeopardize the health of many Americans,” Roote said.
Not only will universal mail-in voting help prevent the unnecessary spread of COVID-19, it is inclusive to a much wider audience.
According to the United States Election Project, older people vote more. Coincidentally, in Florida, 83 percent of those who have died of the virus were over 65 years old, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
In 2002, the federal government passed the Help America Vote Act which distributed $3.9 billion nationwide to states for the purchase or update of voting machines, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. The issue is that the funds were used differently within states.
Two decades later, there is still no regulation voting machine. As of 2019, according to the policy institute Brennan Center for Justice, only 11 states have completely shifted to paperless voting machines.
Voting needs a standard option that works for everyone. People shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not their precinct will accommodate them when voting in person. Universal mail-in voting would make the process standardized and safer for all American voters.
It’s no secret that this debate has become a divisive issue, but America should put the safety of citizens above all else during this time of uncertainty.