Opinion: Senator Murkowski, protect voters now

This is about protecting American lives while also upholding our democratic institutions

  • Tuesday, June 16, 2020 10:30am
  • Opinion

States are the laboratories of democracy, and in the midst of a worldwide pandemic the spotlight is shining on them to see how they will handle the upcoming election. As we saw in Georgia last week, the complications of the pandemic eviscerated the existing structures supporting the primary election and resulted in voters waiting in lines stretching for blocks simply to exercise their constitutional right to vote. This is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue into the fall elections; fortunately, the solution is simple. Every American citizen should be given the right to vote by mail in the safety and comfort of their own home. We should call on Sen. Lisa Murkowski to support funding for vote-by-mail in the U.S. Senate because it has been proven to be the most secure, equitable, and simple solution to voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Universal vote-by-mail, a system already implemented successfully in states such as Utah, Colorado, and Washington, is the only plausible solution to conduct a nationwide election this fall while also protecting citizens from the dangers of the coronavirus. Not only does voting at home save yourself from the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 it also protects poll workers, many of whom contracted the coronavirus following the Wisconsin primary that was held in person. Furthermore, the security of vote-by-mail is indisputable with exhaustive studies estimating that the chance of voter fraud is 0.0000001%, according to the Brennan Center. meaning that an American citizen has a higher chance of being struck by lightning than they do of committing voter fraud. Furthermore, studies show that vote-by-mail does not favor one party over the other and instead increases turnout for both parties by 2%. This means that increased safety from the coronavirus as well as increased voter turnout can be simultaneously achieved through a universal vote-by-mail system in the fall election.

As such it is now time for the federal government to step up and guarantee vote-by-mail funding for states across this country, including in Alaska. Murkowski has shown herself to be willing to support commonsense causes such as this in the past, and we need her support now more than ever in order to secure vote-by-mail funding in the U.S. Senate. This is about protecting American lives while also upholding our democratic institutions, and the clock is running out.

• Eric Periman is a University student working for the organization known as Vote 2020 By Mail, a non-partisan movement working to ensure every American can safely cast a ballot in the fall elections. His hometown is Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

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