As Americans continue to social distance, Michelle Obama wants to make sure we aren’t forced to choose between our health and voting at the polls. Michelle’s organization, When We All Vote, has a plan to make voting safer and easier than ever.
Americans are facing a dangerous dilemma as primary election season continues: go to the polls, and risk exposure to COVID-19, or stay home and be unable to vote. In response, former First Lady Michelle Obama and her organization, When We All Vote, are asking the US government to implement easier access to safe options, like online registration, voting by mail, and early in-person voting. And they want you to join them in their fight to make sure the people at the top know: we shouldn’t have to sacrifice our health in order to exercise our constitutional rights. “No American should ever have to make the choice to risk their health or the safety of their family to cast their ballot. Supporting these efforts ensures that every American can participate in our Democracy without causing unnecessary risk to our public health or preventing voters from the opportunity to cast their ballot in the remaining primaries and general election,” When We All Vote wrote on their website.
The first, much-needed option is voting by mail. This means that registered voters can receive their ballot in the mail, which they can fill out at home, and return by mail when they’re done. It’s safe, easy, and supports social distancing guidelines. While all 50 states have the option to vote by mail, the process for getting an absentee ballot varies state by state. There are currently five states that exclusively vote by mail: Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Utah, and Hawaii. Elsewhere, you must request an absentee ballot in order to be sent one. However, some states require that you have an approved excuse for being unable to get to the polls, such as being ill or disabled, or living outside the country. To find out your state’s specific requirements, and learn how to request an absentee ballot, click HERE. What When We All Vote wants, is for all states to allow voting by mail, no excuses required. They’ve proposed all registered voters receive mail-in ballots with prepaid postage for mail return, as well as detailed instructions for how to cast their ballots.
Additionally, they believe that states should offer: “Multiple options for requesting, receiving, and returning mail-in ballots while maintaining the security of our voting system; Multiple ways to request mail-in ballots, including online, in person, by phone, and by mail; Safe and secure options for returning ballots by expanding deadlines for mail-in ballots to be requested and returned.” They’re also calling for the option of early in-person voting for those who still want to cast their ballot at the polls. Expanded early voting in the days, or potentially weeks before Election Day (November 3, 2020), would ensure that voters could spread out and adhere to social distancing protocols. It’s the way to prevent a repeat of what happened in Wisconsin during their April 7 Democratic primary. While many states have postponed their primaries amid the coronavirus crisis, Wisconsin’s Governor, Tony Evers, refused to close the polls. Millions of vulnerable voters were forced to stand outside all day in massive crowds, despite the majority of the country being on lockdown to stop the spread of the deadly virus.
Registering to vote online should also be the norm, When We All Vote says. “Online voter registration is a safe, accessible, and secure way for voters all across this country to sign up to participate in our Democracy,” they stated, adding that it also “follows the trends of conducting government business online, which helps save taxpayer dollars each election cycle while reducing errors and cleaning up their voter registration database.” That’s a win win. If you haven’t registered to vote yet, check HERE to make sure you haven’t missed the deadline in your state. After that, you can register to vote here on HollywoodLife by filling out the form below! Unsure if you’ve already registered to vote, or want to make sure you’re still registered? You can check HERE — it takes just a few seconds.