Want to Vote By Mail? Anti-Corruption Group Launches Resource to Counter Disinformation and Confusion
FLORENCE, MASS. - Elections officials in the US are expecting a surge in absentee votes in the 2020 election as the US continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. To provide voters with the resources they need to request and send a ballot by mail, the national anti-corruption group RepresentUs launched a new toolkit to dispel disinformation and confusion ahead of November.
The interactive online tool, which launched Thursday, provides the information voters need in every state to vote absentee, including the application process and mail-in deadlines.
“Demand for absentee ballots is high during the pandemic. This resource gives voters the unbiased information they need to vote safely,” said Josh Silver, Co-Founder and CEO of RepresentUs.
There are still changes being made to how some states plan to coordinate and conduct their elections in November, and every state has its own rules for voting absentee. Here are some important things to keep in mind:
Eight states still require an excuse to vote-by-mail:
Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas require voters to give an excuse to request an absentee ballot - the requirement for which varies from state-to-state. Voters who wish to request an absentee ballot need to be aware of what the excuse requirements are in order to be able to cast a ballot by mail
Silver, however, said these states “should quickly allow voters to get an absentee ballot for any reason, so they can vote in the safety and security of their homes if they so choose.”
Thirty-two states require absentee ballots to be received by Election Day
Some states allow voters to drop their ballots off in person at elections offices or designated dropboxes. However, most voters will be mailing in their ballots via the US Postal Service, which has undergone changes that have affected delivery time during the pandemic, and will no doubt affect the delivery of millions of ballots.
“The USPS and the right to vote are sacred institutions,” said Silver. “We need the Postmaster General to stop undermining the agency and threatening the right of Americans’ votes to be counted.”
Eleven states require a witness, photo ID, or notary for absentee ballot submission
Voters in 11 states have to have their absentee ballot witnessed or notarized, and/or include a photo copy of their identification with their ballot. These states are Alabama, Alaska, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin require a witness.
The fact that each state has its own rules and these rules are still being adjusted in some places means voters