Ready for a mail-in ballot

I had a scary moment on Monday, thinking that the run-off election was Tuesday, May 26. Don’t worry, the election has been delayed until July 14, with early voting to begin on July 6.

There are a few races that need deciding. For example, the Democratic race between former Air Force helicopter pilot MJ Hegar and state Sen. Royce West of Dallas is just one hotly contested race.

In Hays County, Democrats will be voting for the party chair between incumbent Donna Haschke and Angela
Villescaz.

On the Republican side, while it is not only in Hays County, Republicans will be deciding between attorney Kent “Bud” Wymore, former Hays High graduate, and Carrie Isaac of Wimberley.

But why should a run-off scare me? Because of COVID-19, nothing more.

COVID-19 cases in Hays County are certainly not stable. As of Saturday, the number of active cases in Hays County sits at 109. That’s up 49 cases from the previous week. Total confirmed cases? 270.

So it’s not without fear that any of us should want to stand in a long line, waiting to vote.

Even by the July date, there is still a probability the pandemic will remain and that COVID-19 will be prevalent.

So why not allow voting by mail-in ballots? That’s a big controversy and a dividing mark between most Democrats and some Republicans.

Republicans don’t want to allow any more mail-in ballots, while Democrats want to allow full mail-in balloting.

A lot of states already allow mail-in ballots. Ohio allowed all voters to cast their ballots by mail during its March 17
primary because of pandemic concerns. Maryland went ahead and sent paper ballots to all voters.

Other states with this kind of option? Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and North Dakota, to name a few.

California was set to try a mail-in system for the November election, but National Republicans have sued, trying to stop this option.

However, when you look at national polls, they show that a majority of Americans – including 57 percent of Republicans – want the option of a mail-in ballot during this pandemic.

The Republicans suing California argue that voting by mail causes more fraud.

But that is not true. Most states already allow mail-in ballots – for the elderly, for the sick, for those living out of the country, for college students living away from home, for those serving in the military. All of those citizens already use a mail-in ballot, so why the argument against mail ballots?

Those Republicans fear that mail-in ballots tend to benefit the Democrats. However, there isn’t really any evidence of that. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, Utah, considered a Republican state, allows mail-in ballots, as does Colorado, which swings back and forth between the two parties. In addition, many Republican secretaries of state want mail-in voting during the pandemic.

We need to be able to vote and we need to stay safe. We need to know that we will not have to stand next to someone who has COVID-19 and doesn’t even know it.

No matter how much election officials clean in-person voting machines between each voter, it is not perfect.

Nothing right now is perfect, but at very least the mail-in ballot system allows voters a chance of participating
in our government, without adding to the growing number of pandemic cases.

Allow ballot by mail. That’s what is needed this year.

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