Recent Stories Confirm the Importance of In-Person Voting This Fall

Policymakers and election officials are rightly racing to prepare for unprecedented levels of absentee voting this fall.  But it is also essential that we ensure a robust capacity for in-person voting this fall.    

Back in June, I explained why it remains important to focus just as much on the in-person voting option as on the absentee option.  Now that more information has come out about the primaries, I want to pull together a number of stories that illustrate concretely the major issues with the absentee process that make it critical to ensure the capacity for in-person voting this fall:

1.  The high rates at which absentee ballots are rejected:  see here and here.

2.  The problem of requested absentees not getting delivered to voters or not being returned on time to get counted:  see here and here and here.

3.  The fact that many voters prefer to vote in person, despite the virus, because they do not trust the absentee process to count their votes fairly:  see here, as well as all the stories about long lines even in states that have no-excuse absentee voting. Update: in CA, 30% still prefer to vote in-person, see here.

4.  The long, dangerous delays between Election Day and when a winner can be announced:  see here and here for recent examples

I have written on a number of policy changes that would make the absentee process run smoother than all this.  But even with those changes, a strong in-person voting option will still remain essential this fall.

To be sure, there have also been problems with in-person voting thus far, particularly the long lines due in part to polling place consolidations.  I’ll have another short piece coming out soon on one major change that would address that issue and enhance the capacity for in-person voting this fall. 

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