The United States has an infamously disjointed election system with each state, county, and even sometimes individual cities having different election processes. As we continue to face down this pandemic, election day nears ever closer and we need to act decisively, and at a large scale, to help voters register for absentee or vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots and understand how they work. Countless studies have shown that voting by mail is incredibly safe and overall instances of voter fraud are incredibly low in the United States. However, many on the right have been casting doubt on these options to suppress turnout in the November elections. We must counter this messaging, and do so swiftly, because once certain perceptions are ingrained in people's minds, they are difficult to reverse.
There is no issue more important than equal access to the ballot box in our democracy. Without the ability to vote, advocacy for every other political issue becomes moot. Americans living in hot spots should not have to jeopardize their life for their voices to be heard. Already, we are seeing instances of mail-in ballot disparities across the political spectrum as right-wing voices cast doubt on voting by mail. In last month’s special election in New York’s 27th congressional district (voted +25% for Trump in 2016), Chris Jacobs (R) led his Democratic challenger Nate McMurray 70%-28% on election night, but now only leads 53%-45% as most absentees ballots are counted. This issue is not partisan—most states currently with high numbers of cases are Republican-led. Residents of those states should not have to choose between voting in this extremely important election and their lives. We need to make sure every American—whether they are Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian, or Independent—can vote in this election, and voting by mail is the safest option.