Time to Prepare for Voting by Mail
6 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2020
Date Written: March 31, 2020
The general election’s timing is set by statute. Nonetheless, it would be irresponsible to require people to vote in person in the midst of a pandemic. Dramatically lower turnout would inevitably distort the results. Postponing general elections is much more problematic than postponing primaries because self-serving considerations of incumbency and partisanship play a greater role. In addition, many states lack clear electoral emergency laws, and the courts rely instead on “vague, subjective, ad hoc standards in rushed, politically charged proceedings.”
States need to start planning immediately to facilitate voting by mail. The good news is that a number of states have relied on such voting for some time now. Oregon’s experience serves as useful guide for states with less experience. There are some drawbacks of voting by mail, including the possibility of coercion and fraud. But some of these risks can be mitigated.
Keywords: healthcare, coronavirus, coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, public health, economics, quarantine, economy, economic crisis, voting, polls, election, elections, democracy
JEL Classification: D72, K16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation