Part 3: Vote by Mail
Vote by Mail, Early Voting and Digitized Election Administration
Tuesday, July 21 | 1 – 3pm ET
Among the casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic are presidential primary elections, with renewed debate over whether Vote-by-Mail should be an available option in every state before the 2020 presidential election in order to help protect the health and well-being of voters and election workers. Over 16 states have delayed some elections or allowed citizens to vote by mail with an extension of deadlines, and many officials in both parties at the state and local level are pressing for these changes.
While the President has warned that such changes might lead to levels of voting that would hurt him and his party, charges of massive voter fraud are now being made in an effort to challenge the safety and reliability of the VBM option, setting up a classic conflict between strict insistence on in-person voting and the need to protect citizens from exposure to the deadly virus, a dilemma that was recently played out in the April 6, 2020 elections held in Wisconsin — with surprising results following intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Many jurisdictions, moreover, have implemented Early Voting as a means of broadening electoral access and participation in elections, a process that has grown dramatically over the past 35 years. With more than 2/3 of the states now providing some form of EV, its goal of higher turnout is often cited by election reformers, while it continues to be a subject for bitter partisan and legal disputes.
Finally, the digitization of elections has improved voting administration while opening elections to increased vulnerabilities and unintended consequences of bringing elections into the digital realm as our nation considers how to run free and fair elections with appropriate digital tools to assist in the adequacy and efficiency of election administration.
- Peter Miller, Democracy Program Researcher, Brennan Center for Justice, New York, NY
- Paul Gronke, Polictical Science Professor & Director of Early Voting Center, Reed College, Portland, OR
- Charles (Chuck) H. Bell Jr., Senior Partner, Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk LLP, Sacramento, CA
- Nicole Austin-Hillery, US Program Executive Director, Human Rights Watch, Upper Marlboro, MD
- Rebecca Green, Election Law Professor - Privacy Law & ADR, William & Mary Law School
- Benjamin E. Griffith, Principal, Griffith Law, Oxford, MS
- John Hardin (Jack) Young, Senior Councel, Sandler Reiff, Rehoboth Beach, DE
Co-sponsored by the ABA Government & Public Sector Law Division; the ABA Standing Commission on Election Law; and the ABA Civil Rights & Social Justice Section
Find America Votes! Challenges to Modern Election Law and Voting Rights (fourth edition)