Pandemic Changed How Americans Voted

by Jan Frazier

Washington, D.C. (Washington Insider Magazine) –  Even though the pandemic is receding in the United States, some of the changes that were prompted because of the pandemic are going to be retained. One example is the change in some of the states concerning voting.

Some of the states had expansions in the 2020 voting, such as absentee ballots and the extension of early voting. Other states, however, added restrictions to their voting.

Nevada and Vermont were two states that switched to “universal mail voting – mailing ballots to all active registered voters in each election” – and they will continue to use that practice permanently. There are a few other states that are going to move to no-excuse mail voting. This was used temporarily during the pandemic, and it will now be permanent.

In some of the blue states, there are “expansions of voting programs,” and in some of the red states, other changes have been made. Kentucky, for example, has a large majority of Republican legislators, and they had “in-person early voting for the first time this year.”

Kentucky Secretary of State, Michael Adams, a Republican, said, “We’re the only Republican state, the only conservative state, the only red state – however you want to put it – certainly the only state with a Republican Legislature that has made voting easier this year. I’m really proud of that.”

Millions more Americans will now get mail-in ballots in the future. It’s possible that California will change to a “universal mail voting system.” Mail-based election systems are now prevalent in seven states, including Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

Nevada Governor, Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, said, “The reason we did it is because during the pandemic we made the change – obviously, from the safety and the health viewpoint and whatnot – and it worked.” Now, ballots will be sent to voters not only for general elections, but also for primary elections.

Kentucky has added “three days of in-person early voting,” and, also, now counties can actually establish “voting centers” in which any and all of the voters can go to vote. They no longer have to go to a single local precinct.

Voting by mail in Kentucky will still ask voters to have an excuse in order to use this type of voting, and it will keep the absentee voting rates low. 

Louisiana – “which like Kentucky has a Republican-controlled Legislature and a Democratic governor” – is now allowing more early voting days, but this will be just for presidential elections. Oklahoma as well as Indiana both added an additional day for the people voting early. Georgia added early voting for smaller counties, “matching what larger counties already offered.”

“A bipartisan approach to election reform is best, because it gets you – I think – number one, a better product. And number two, it’s a better look,” Adams said. 


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