Vote by Mail: From Mailbox to Ballot Box

vote by mail

This year’s election in the United States is arguably the most important election in modern times, for several reasons. With the 2020 general election just 20 weeks away, and with no relief in sight for the coronavirus pandemic, we all need to set up our contingency plan now: vote by mail.

Vote By Mail

Election turnout in the US is abysmally low. Since the 1970s, barely half of eligible voters bother to exercise their most fundamental democratic right: to choose their representatives. But this year, when the stakes are so high, we can hope that this time will be different.

As luck would have it, we have a brilliant technical innovation that has been shown to drastically increase voter turnout: a mailbox! Despite a lot of (mostly) undeserved bad press, the US Mail system is really the only solution for remote, secure, reliable voting. If we had a COVID19 vaccination pill right now that we needed to get to every household in the United States, there is literally only service today that could deliver it: the US Postal Service. Even Amazon and UPS don’t reach every house in the US – they use the USPS to reach those remote homes, too.

Several states have been considering online or mobile voting as a secure alternative to voting in person or even voting by mail, but security experts vehemently disagree. While we can safely do all sorts of private things online like shopping, banking and interacting with our doctors, voting is a completely different scenario.

Request Your Absentee Ballot Now

There’s no time like the present, as they say. But they never tell you why. I guess that’s the beauty of platitudes – they can apply to whatever you want them to. But in the case of voting by mail, the sooner you request your absentee ballot, the more heads up you give to your state and county election boards so they can be prepared to count them. It will also make our desire for safe elections clear to the powers that be. There’s no reason to wait – in most cases, you can request your mail-in ballot form now. And note that if you change your mind, you can still vote in person.

To request your absentee ballot, you’ll need to find the proper form for your state. You can search the web for “absentee ballot request form” plus your state name. Or you can let the folks at Vote.org do that for you. This site will ask you for personal information so they can actually fill out your state’s form for you, and then give you a downloadable version complete with instructions on where to mail it.

But it gets better. (Okay, some people won’t see it that way.) Once you sign up at Vote.org, they will nag you repeatedly to actually send in that absentee ballot form. They will also send you election reminders, help you to register to vote, and much more. They’re not screwing around. When you sign up at this site, they’re going to go to great lengths to make sure you actually get off your butt and vote. But given the statistics, it’s quite obvious that US citizens need a kick in the butt (or three). GO DO IT NOW!

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