An Urgent Call to Make Voting Simpler and Fairer: “The Safest Way to Vote Is From Your Home”

Mother Jones’ voting rights reporter Ari Berman explains how states can ensure fair elections amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

The coronavirus is a rapidly developing news story, so some of the content in this article might be out of date. Check out our most recent coverage of the coronavirus crisis, and subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

On a day when four states were scheduled to hold their presidential primary elections, the coronavirus outbreak has threatened a key pillar of our democracy: the right to safely cast a ballot.

While Ohio has postponed in-person voting slated for today, three other states—Arizona, Florida, and Illinois—are proceeding, raising concerns among voting rights advocates that not everyone who wants to vote will feel safe, or be able, to do so. But, as Mother Jones’ voting rights reporter Ari Berman explains, there are a number of ways officials could make it easier for people to vote amid a public health and economic crisis.

“The safest way to vote by now is from your home, and the way to do that is to vote by mail,” Berman says. Some states make voting by mail harder than others, he explains, by requiring an excuse to request an absentee ballot. “You would hope that fear of dying from a global pandemic would be enough of a reason to request an absentee ballot. But I think every single state if they can’t move to universal mail voting can at least say ‘We’re going to make it so that you don’t need any sort of an excuse to get an absentee ballot, and that we’re going to encourage people to vote by mail as much as possible.'”

Meanwhile, the Brennan Center for Justice has issued a new report recommending a five-pronged approach to protecting the vote from the coronavirus: ensuring social distancing and sanitation at polling places, allowing early in-person voting to reduce crowds, extending a vote-by-mail option to all voters, boosting voter registration efforts, and increasing public education about these efforts. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights has encouraged Congress to enact similar measures.

The states voting today have taken some preventative measures. Arizona will allow curbside voting at many locations, and all three states voting today permit early voting and no-excuse absentee voting.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate