As our voting rights become a focus of the COVID-19 crisis we have to create a Plan B. A plan that would cover all Americans in every state from cities to rural areas. We don’t live alike so we shouldn’t have to vote alike. We will review several ideas that have popped up around the country which could be viable options for states and municipalities The ability and our rights are intertwined and reliant on each other for a truly democratic process to occur.
A Plan B should include last-minute options like a ballot drop-off. Though senior citizens are the most susceptible to the COVID-19 virus they still love to go to the polls. We could protect their health by always having a distance maintenance option. Chicago’s 2020 primary was on March 17th, 2020 the same day the governor ordered a state shutdown due to COVID-19. Voters were frustrated that the primary couldn’t be extended to another day-post COVID-19. Unfortunately, one of the election poll judges lost their lives to ensure democracy occurred as businesses and schools shut down. The six-feet apart rule wasn’t enforced and put every voter and poll worker at risk. Had people been allowed to drop their pre-completed ballots in a box outside the doors with a poll worker stamping them as received and providing a receipt to voters, this death could have been avoided. If drive-thrus are the most popular way of picking up our meals, we should replicate this at the polls.
The governor of Virginia turned Election Day into a state holiday in light of the COVID-19 crisis while extending early voting. That’s great to finally have someone encourage people to vote since they have the day off anyway? Or do they? People still work on all of our national holidays like Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. Nearly 84% of businesses are open on Columbus Day while on President’s days we usually only see government buildings close. It doesn’t matter if people have the day off if they can get sick from going to the polls? Nice try.
Then there’s the mail-in vote option. Wisconsin recently had an issue with that option as thousands of absentee ballots weren’t delivered or time-stamped. In 2018 a federal investigation found nearly 10 million absentee or mail-in ballots were unaccounted for throughout the U.S. Almost every election the media has a story or two regarding misplaced, undelivered and missing mail-ins. It’s obvious that our postal service is not equipped for a deluge of mail-in ballots during a crisis or any regular election time. That option doesn’t guarantee our right to vote either. We could allow the option that mail-in ballots no matter if stamped, attached to an address or a week late can be counted. But that just opens the door for more corruptable competition.
Back to the future is our option-internet voting. We know that handicapped people are denied the access to vote, minorities are denied voting due to ID issues and locked polling places and our voting machines are decades old. With this information, we must find a relevantly safe and effective way to provide all the right to vote from their own phones. If we bank online, buy stocks, cars, clothes, order take-out and get college degrees online then why can’t we vote? We could eliminate disease, polling place debacles and voter complaints all while encouraging the future of America-Millennials and Generation Zs to vote en masse. Of course, we would continue to have mail-in ballots and open a small number of polling places on election day but it could minimize voter rights issues. The real cons of this option are the bidding wars for election app companies. Let’s remember not to hire the company that made the Democrats app for the Iowa Caucus. Sorry, but they have to be mentioned because they made a historical fumble. We need Hail Marys to ensure our rights are protected.
Plan B could be a slew of options but drive-thrus and internet are the easiest and best ways to ensure our rights are protected. They offer the unique convenience Americans have come to love while expanding abilities for the many different types of people we have in this great melting pot. Again, we don’t live alike so we don’t vote alike. Prepare for the future with optimal options that reflect our current societal norms. Let’s vote on Plan B options that are more of today’s American Way.
Coming in May 2020, We The People: Policy For Progress my first published collection of political solutions for the people. Look for it in the Kindle Bookstore.