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Pro-Voter Reformers: George's Primary Debacle Underscores Need for Vote-By-Mail Nationwide

Created: 10 June, 2020
Updated: 15 August, 2022
2 min read

The Georgia elections Tuesday were characterized as “catastrophe.” A new $104 million voting system broke down, many voters couldn’t vote as a result of a ballot shortage, and those who could ended up waiting hours in line to exercise their right to vote.

Slate, 10/09/2020

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has called for an investigation, but leading advocates for systemic reform say what happened underscores the need for change, including accessible vote-by-mail ballots.

“How many democracy debacles do we have to witness before every elected official and election administrator does everything in their power to ensure that every American can vote safely amidst this global pandemic?” said RepresentUs CEO Josh Silver.

“Congress must approve more funds to the states to expand absentee voting, while also ensuring that every polling station is up and running and sanitary. Despite anything the president or his proxies might say, both political parties are realizing they have to embrace absentee voting and safer in-person voting in order to have any hope of well-run elections this year. This is just common sense.”

Though Georgia has a history of problems, it is not the only state that has faced issues in 2020. Wisconsin faced similar issues in April. Washington DC and Pennsylvania were also plagued by problems on June 2.

As the conversation on how to conduct elections in the middle of a pandemic continues, former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm say the country has a lot of work to do to ensure voters have safe and secure access to the ballot in November.

“Election administrators at the local, county, and state levels must act immediately and take seriously the threat of a second wave of Covid-19 to safeguard our elections this fall,” they said in a joint statement for VoteSafe.

Many states have taken great strides to increase access to absentee and mail-in ballots in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact that this has had is record breaking turnout in several areas:

WBOY, 06/08/2020
Missoulian, 06/05/2020
The Hill, 06/07/2020

As Unite America Executive Director Nick Troiano said in a recent discussion on administering elections in a pandemic, this "is not theoretical." There are successes and lessons states can learn from to guarantee all voters have access to the ballot, no matter what crises or circumstances might arise, and elections administrators who have conducted all-mail voting say it is what the rest of the country needs to protect the right to vote in November.

Photo Source: AP