The phrase “new normal” thankfully died out a few months ago as it became less important to emphasize the “new” part of our lives in 2020. However, I would like to bring the phrase back and apply it to voting. Mail-in voting and early voting have been at the forefront of this election. It has enabled more people to vote and to do it safely, and it should become the norm from here on out.
Many of us have seen the reports across various news outlets regarding turnout in this election, which is still on historic pace. Some states even surpassed their 2016 voter turnout prior to Election Day for 2020.
It’s clear that the heavy push for voting through ads, the tumultuous year and the two very contrasting candidates have increased voter turnout, but so has the increased amount of options. People can now choose how they want to perform their basic civic duty more than ever before.
Colorado passed a law in 2013 requiring the state to mail ballots to every registered voter. Voters are still allowed to vote in person if they wish, but the law was designed to give them the option. Voters can mail the ballots back or drop them off at a designated location. The system is a more extensive version of the one many states have adopted for this election. Breaking news: it works.
This law not only increased turnout but has also increased voter satisfaction and decreased costs for the state as a whole. And, of the millions of ballots cast in the state, there were only 48 reported cases of voter fraud in the 2016 election in Colorado.
It’s a no-brainer to almost everyone that mail-in voting works and that it is safe from fraud, except, of course, to President Donald Trump. Trump has repeatedly attacked the voting system in America and mail-in voting as a whole.
He’s clearly trying to cast doubt on a system that has resulted in his projected loss as official counts finish. It’s important to note that Trump does not in fact practice what he preaches — shocker. The president and first lady have both voted by mail in the state of Florida, but I’m sure Florida has never had a history of ballot counting woes.
The simple fact is that the more people who have access to vote, the more the system works. And while the president and the Republican Party have been on a mission to suppress voters, we are still seeing record turnouts.
Voting has been stuck in the past for far too long. We still hold elections on a Tuesday even though the original reason for selecting that day was due to the time it would take to travel to a polling location by horse and buggy. Election Day is not a national holiday, meaning that many still have to try and find time to vote during a normal workday. And many places still do not offer online registration.
While many reforms certainly need to be made, allowing widespread mail-in voting and early voting will help increase voter turnout, and if that’s not what you want, then maybe you aren’t on the right side of history.