FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VOTESAFE: PRIMARIES SHOW ABSENTEE BALLOTS WORK
Washington, D.C. (June 3, 2020): Following yesterday’s elections in eight states and the District of Columbia, VoteSafe Co-Chairs, former Secretary of Homeland Security and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, issued a joint statement:
Yesterday, in states across the country, Americans practiced their civic responsibility despite ongoing public health concerns, and a record number of voters made the choice to cast their ballot absentee. It’s true that some voters are still waiting for results and that’s okay. We must not sacrifice security for speed. Getting it right matters more than doing it fast. At least one result is clear already though—voters want choices in how they vote including secure absentee ballots and safe in-person voting locations. We can deliver that in November, and we must.
VoteSafe has identified 5 takeaways to inform election administrators’ work leading up to the November general election:
People want the option to vote absentee: Voters opted for mail-in ballots in huge numbers, showing that they want the option to vote safely from home during the pandemic.
People want the option of safe, in-person voting: Many voters chose to vote in person – both on Election Day and during early voting windows. Whether it is tradition or preference, they should have a safe option to do so.
Absentee ballots must be sent out in time: Some states, including the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Indiana experienced long in-person voting lines in part because absentee ballots did not arrive in time for people to vote in advance of Election Day.
There should be enough polling sites to accommodate safe voting: The public health situation poses special challenges for staffing and accommodating in-person voting, but states should take special care to avoid eliminating polling places and ensure that polling places are prepared to safely accommodate in-person voters and absentee drop-offs (where applicable).
Have a plan to count ballots: We know that a record number of voters want to cast absentee ballots – states must be proactive in planning for that influx. That could mean permission to begin counting before election day or additional staff to support the counting process. It is okay if results are delayed to securely count ballots, but states should anticipate and be prepared for an influx of mail-in votes.
VoteSafe is a cross-partisan coalition supporting the principles that all states and U.S. territories should ensure voters have accessible, secure mail-in ballots and safe, in-person voting sites, and Congress should ensure that states have the resources they need to protect their voters and elections.
In an open letter Ridge and Granholm call on election administrators to sign onto the VoteSafe principles.
For more information, go to VoteSafe.US.
VoteSafe is a cross-partisan coalition of elections administrators and organizations ensuring that every American has the right to vote safely and securely.