The daunting prospect of holding a general election for over 130 million voters during the pandemic across the country is rushing toward us. But for once there are reasons to be optimistic after the first major round of primary elections featuring expanded mail voting options has generated plenty of success that states can build on before November.
Several states that held recent primary elections had expanded absentee voting and other options to make ballots more accessible and much safer for eligible voters. While it is easy to overlook, this is a success that states must learn from. Leaders who want to uphold the sanctity of Election Day saw that, with the spread of the coronavirus, providing eligible voters with the ability to vote safely required several temporary reforms. Importantly, such reforms came from leaders of both parties. As coronavirus does not differentiate between Republicans and Democrats, and both parties have come together to defend our elections against the disease.
Before the pandemic, some of our fellow Republicans resisted reforms like expanded early and absentee voting, and many still do. But with the worst public health crisis in a century, many Republicans have correctly realized that an emergency situation calls for the emergency response. Now is the time to break the glass. Utah, a reliably Republican state, has actually run its elections almost exclusively by mail for years. In the primary elections, ruby red Montana and South Carolina allowed voters an option of casting their ballots by mail so they can maintain social distancing.