Mail-in voting pits one threat against another
No one should have to choose between their health and their right to vote, and no one needs to if local election officials are provided with resources to keep the process safe at the polls, while also ensuring everyone’s ability to get a ballot mailed on time.
We need to keep in mind our cherished senior citizens and remember that as they go, we go.
It is imperative that we look out for them and keep in mind their well being while protecting their rights.
So many times during this pandemic, we have heard the cries of people suffering because they have been cut off from loved ones.
It is just wrong, and we wonder why a solution cannot be found that allows relief from what those in nursing homes with visitor restrictions have been going through.
We also must look to preserve the democratic rights of our elders whose minds are sharp, even though their bodies may weaken.
Not only should we preserve their right to vote, we should look to their wisdom and appreciate this wisdom as a welcome gift.
So what can we do to show that we welcome their voices?
We are reluctant to endorse an all-out system of mail-in voting as that comes with many inherent dangers.
We also don’t believe the government should be paying for stamps to mail ballots.
Their must be a strict component of personal responsibility to exercise the right to vote in our democracy — and we believe most of our senior citizens would agree.
But during a pandemic, we should allow mail-in voting while continuing with standard polling place operations and perhaps even expanding them.
Rather than reducing the number of polling places, we should strive to keep polling places small enough to avoid crowds at any given time of day.
That also means the need for poll workers, and it’s time to recruit a younger generation for this essential duty.
We believe the polls must include social distancing and mandated mask wearing as safety precautions.
When it comes to mail-in ballots, we must admit that they are appropriate during a national pandemic in which large segments of society have been told to stay at home and self-isolate, when businesses and schools have been closed and struggle to reopen, when we all are asked to do our part to protect the greater good.
Mail-in ballots provide the most vulnerable among us a way to cast their votes without further risk to their health.
We also endorse a wider timeframe for ballots to be sent to those who request them and for election workers to receive, pre-canvas and count the ballots.
That said, we caution against mail-in voting as a matter of routine during a normal year when there’s not a serious health threat to consider.
That means taking seriously the risk of ballots that get lost in the mail or, worse, voter fraud.
There are any number of ways that could occur and it opens the door to too much risk of a post-election American nightmare for the courts to sort through.
And that threat should prompt the vast majority who want their votes to count to go to the polls in person.