Four months from now Americans will be voting in state and national elections. From 2004 to 2016, voter turnout averaged about 56%. This November, with the magnitude of issues facing the electorate, many more people are going to want to vote than in past elections. An uptick of just a few percentage points means millions of voters. More than our current system can handle.
While I am confident that Alaskans will have the opportunity to cast their vote by mail or vote at easily accessible and locally available polling places, not so for the rest of the country. This will foul the election process, putting our democracy in great jeopardy and motivating cries from both parties questioning the results of our elections.
The nation must move quickly to voting by mail. The recent stimulus checks came to us through the mail. We file taxes, get refunds, credit cards, drivers licenses, etc. through the mail. If we have registered to vote in the Municipality of Anchorage, we receive ballots by mail and vote at home. Voting by mail is more equitable because it allows people with disabilities, health concerns due to COVID-19 or who are unable to get to a polling place to vote.
Some 300,000 Alaskans might vote in November, and that in no way compares to the rest of the country, where 300 million might want to vote. That is a lot of mail. But we can accomplish this if our leaders make it their foremost priority, fund it and shepherd it through their various jurisdictions. I personally do not need to know the results of an election immediately. I need to know they were fair, safe from foreign or domestic interference and available to all registered voters.
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