VOTING BY MAIL IS A possibility in every state in the nation, but a months-long political battle has made the process a central issue heading into the 2020 election.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, a majority of states have allowed registered voters to receive absentee or mail-in ballots with no excuse required. Some states have now added the pandemic – even, simply, a fear of becoming infected by COVID-19 – to its list of excuses. Other states, such as Indiana, Louisiana and Texas, do not allow the coronavirus to be an excuse for voting by mail.
The debate over voting by mail was launched largely by President Donald Trump, who frequently attacks the concept of “universal” mail voting through his Twitter account and during news conferences. The president and the Republican Party have sued a number of states, such as Nevada, over new relaxed voting measures.
The U.S. Postal Service came to the center of the debate more recently, with Trump opposing billions of funding for the agency and linking this with his opposition to mail voting. The agency, headed by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, recently warned all states that it might not be able to meet the current deadlines for mail-in ballots for the November election.
How the battle plays out over voting-by-mail is uncertain. But the current processes and requirements are largely different in each state, and even the terms are used differently.
What’s the difference between absentee voting and voting by mail?
Operationally, the practices are essentially the same. Some states use the term “absentee ballot” and others use “mail ballot,” or even other, similar terms, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The differences mainly have to do with how each state handles its absentee voting system. All states provide an absentee or mail ballot for voters upon request, according to the NCSL. But some states require an excuse for requesting an absentee or mail ballot, while others allow voters to request an absentee ballot without an excuse…Read more>>