Tennessee needs to expand voting by mail to any Tennessee voter who wants it as an option, and the state needs to have this in place before the November election at the latest. Our governor and legislators should work to expand voting by mail in time for our next election Aug. 6.
The fears some have of expanded voting by mail are myths. Voting by mail isn’t a new, radical idea that will result in voter fraud. Many states have had no-excuse voting by mail for decades and have found voting by mail to be secure, efficient, less expensive (after the initial outlay) and safe. These states also have far better voter turnout than Tennessee.
In the 2018 election, Tennessee ranked 50th in voter turnout. That’s dead last for voter participation. Would voting by mail help voter turnout? It certainly couldn’t hurt.
We need to make voting as easy as it can be, and we especially need to make it safe during this worldwide pandemic. Voting by mail is the first way Tennessee needs to help voters this year. Having ballot drop-off boxes and expanded early voting days and hours are other ways to make voting safe.
Gov. Bill Lee, Secretary of State Tre Hargett, Sen. Jon Lundberg and our other legislators in Nashville and in Washington, D.C. need to help Tennesseans vote, not hinder us. We should never have to choose between our health and our fundamental right to vote.