Today the Boston Globe published my op-ed about the urgent need for #VoteByMail legislation in Massachusetts. We cannot follow in Wisconsin's footsteps, where some 9,000 ballots were not sent to voters and thousands more were not counted. We must act now to enact universal, automatic vote-by-mail legislation in our Commonwealth.
My #2020VoteByMailAct calls for a robust automatic vote-by-mail system in both the primary and general statewide elections, preserves in-person voting, provides for personal protective equipment for poll workers, and makes Election Day in November a permanent holiday.
A universal, automatic vote-by-mail system for both the September primary and the November general election makes sense. Any legislation that reverts to an opt-in ballot-by-request-only system risks creating an undue burden on voters as well as local clerks and insufficiently reducing crowds at polling places. After the recent election in Wisconsin, we have a real-world example of how request-only vote-by-mail systems can fail.
The 2020 Vote By Mail Act maintains in-person voting at polling places on Election Day to allow for greater voting access, while making a few changes to ensure the safety of voters and poll workers. So many of our dedicated election workers are over 65 and therefore more vulnerable to the coronavirus. The legislation requires that the state provide adequate personal protective equipment to all election workers, for their safety as well as the safety of voters.
The legislation also establishes November Election Day as a new state holiday. Many people already have a tough time making it to the polls in person and often vote at the same times, especially before and after work. During a pandemic, it is critical to reduce large clusters of people showing up at the polls simultaneously, for the sake of everyone’s health. Making Election Day a holiday gives voters the widest flexibility and ensures polling locations at schools or town offices won’t have non-election-related traffic on Election Day.
During this time of such uncertainty, we must act quickly to enact legislation that automatically gets ballots directly into the hands of registered voters, making it as easy as possible for them to exercise the right to vote and avoid the health risk of large crowds at polling places. As we try to balance practicality with safety, the 2020 Vote by Mail Act is the best way to secure votes without creating extra red tape and unnecessary burdens for voters or clerks.
The time to act is now. Read more about the 2020 Vote by Mail act here: https://www.beccarauschma.com/2020-vote-by-mail-act