Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) is the latest high-profile political figure to push vote-by-mail in the wake of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, writing in an op-ed on Thursday that, come November, we must “bring the ballot box” to voters.
The former presidential candidate detailed her call for a vote-by-mail option for November’s general election in an op-ed for the Washington Post on Thursday.
“The coronavirus should not stop our citizens from casting their ballots,” she said, outlining the stakes in November’s elections, which involve 11 gubernatorial elections, seats covering the entirety of the U.S. House of Representatives and over one-third of the Senate, and, of course, the presidency.
Citing the election delays in both Louisiana and Georgia and warning of an event where “Americans might have to choose between casting a ballot and protecting their health,” Klobuchar formally called for vote-by-mail to be made available to every eligible voter in the country, come November.
The best way to ensure that this virus doesn’t keep people from the ballot box is to bring the ballot box to them. We must allow every American the ability to vote by mail. And we must expand early voting so that voters who are not able to vote by mail are not exposed to the elevated infection risks of long lines and crowded polling locations.
The lawmaker added that they will introduce the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act of 2020, which she says will “help election officials meet this pandemic head-on.”
“Our legislation will guarantee every voter a secure mail-in paper ballot and help states cover the cost of printing, self-sealing envelopes, ballot tracking and postage,” she explained, calling vote-by mail a “time-tested, reliable way for Americans to exercise their constitutional rights.”
“Our legislation would also expand early voting to avoid lines where the virus could spread and help states recruit young poll workers so that older Americans who typically step up on Election Day can stay home,” she added.
Klobuchar’s call for vote-by-mail follows Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) requesting state lawmakers to authorize all-mail elections for August and November — a request fully backed by Arizona Senate Democrats:
We wholeheartedly agree, @SecretaryHobbs, and we already have a bill by @seanbowie that would do just that. Let's work with @FannKfann to send it straight to the floor and fast track this important legislation. Read the bill here: https://t.co/KMOcluzpEK
— Arizona Senate Dems (@AZSenateDems) March 18, 2020
Failed Trump challenger Hillary Clinton took it a step further, proposing that Congress make voting by mail “the norm going forward”:
Congress needs to act to make voting by mail the norm going forward, with the specifics outlined by election expert Marc Elias below to make it accessible for all. https://t.co/K2TlHIJx2d
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 18, 2020
Vote by mail, while practiced in some states, arouses skepticism and fears associated with fraud.
As Breitbart News detailed:
Several states already allow voting by mail, though Republicans have warned that California’s system is vulnerable to fraud. There, Democrats legalized a system called “ballot harvesting,” which allows unverified third parties to deliver each other’s ballots — effectively allowing party organizers to bring thousands of ballots to be counted.
Republicans blamed some of their 2018 losses in California on “ballot harvesting.” And Republican efforts to copy Democrats’ tactics have failed because Republicans are generally more reluctant to give their ballots to others.
Five states have postponed their primary elections. Those include Georgia, Louisiana, Kentucky, Maryland, and Ohio.