The recent letters from Mr. Schwartz and Mr. Clarke discuss residents who vote (fewer) and residents who don’t (more), among other local electoral issues. This imbalance extends from the local to the national level and is one which weakens our democracy and therefore our communities.
This impels me to reply as an active participant in the Americans of Conscience Checklist (AOCC) July Voting Project (https://americansofconscience.com/voting2020/). The July Voting Project’s premise is that voting in the United States should not be hard or costly and should be protected, so we must act to ensure that every eligible American can participate safely in November’s election.
One of the 22 actions in the July Voting Project is to share fact-based information about voting by mail, which is one of the voting solutions at our disposal for preventing the spread of Covid-19.
Voting by mail is popular, safe, and vital to voting participation amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the U.S. Federal Election Commission and nonpartisan National Vote at Home Institute:
· States with higher use of mailed-out ballots see a materially higher voter turnout.
· Voting by mail increases voting participation in local elections.
· Mail-in ballots increase voting participation among voters with disabilities.
· Both “red” and “blue” states utilize mail-in ballots.
· Vote-at-home is less expensive than in-person voting.
· Ballots are only sent to registered voters.
· Ballot envelopes are barcoded to one individual voter and validated by voter signature verification.
· Tampering with or diverting a mail ballot is a felony punishable by large fines and years of jail time.
· Voters can track their ballot in real time using USPS mail-tracking tools.
I’ve already contacted our county election official (Dean Logan, [email protected]) and state election officials (sos.ca.gov/elections/contact/email-elections-division/), encouraging them to take action to make sure that vote-by-mail is a viable option for all Californians. To ensure a healthy and safe, fair election this November, I hope you’ll consider doing the same.