Policy: Universal Vote-By-Mail
Minnesotans have long set the standard for voter participation in this country. In both 2016 and 2018 we led the nation in the metric. To further reinforce this value we hold dear, we should implement a universal vote-by-mail system.
Currently Minnesota is one of 29 “No-Excuse” vote-by-mail states. That means any registered voter can request an absentee ballot and doesn’t need to give a reason why. What I am proposing is a relatively small change. We join states like Colorado and Utah in automatically sending ballots to all registered voters.
This system has a huge number of benefits Minnesotans already recognize. It helps our seniors be able to vote safely. It allows our more rural counties to be able to vote without driving an hour. It allows someone to research lesser known candidates from the comfort of their own home rather than feeling confused in a voting booth.
Minnesota also already has a robust voting security system in place to handle this exact type of system. Handling the votes coming in by mail is no different than the current type of “No-Excuse” system we currently have. The 2016 election saw 2,968,281 Minnesotans vote and there were only 11 cases of voter fraud.
The research into the states that already have this system has also demonstrated that this doesn’t help either political party. There is a marginal increase in voter turnout for both parties. States with politics as far apart as California and Utah both use this method, and it’s also how our deployed Armed Forces vote. The goal here is to help everyone exercise their constitutional rights as safely as possible.
All of these things still would have been true without COVID-19, but the Coronavirus does add another reason we need to implement this soon. Our neighbors in Wisconsin traced 52 cases of COVID-19 to working at and voting in their primary. No one should be forced to consider whether voting might cause either themselves or someone vulnerable they have contact with to die.
Minnesota has long set the standard for voter participation and it’s time we start setting the standard for voter accessibility too. A universal vote-by-mail system is just one of the ways we can do that.
You can request your ballot for the August 11th primary right now. I’m including a link to the Minnesota Secretary of State website which will answer any questions you have and provide you the information you need to get your ballot sent to you by mail.