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Legislative Updates

Sen. Wyden: Bring vote-by-mail to the rest of the nation

With just three states in the 2016 general election using vote-by-mail (Colorado, Oregon and Washington), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) shared in a recent op-ed published by CNN the urgent need for a nationwide system to be implemented.

Wyden recently led an effort to introduce the Vote by Mail Act (S. 3214) with Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in the Senate after announcing a new campaign to use Oregon’s vote-by-mail as a model that to help tear down barriers to voting across the country. The plan includes an appropriations of funds for the Postal Service to assist with the mailing of ballots during federal elections. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and David Cicilline (D-RI) also introduced a companion bill in the House.

NALC President Fredric Rolando applauded the bills and stated that letter carriers “stand ready and eager to help make voting more convenient for millions of Americans.”

In his op-ed, Wyden notes how Oregon became the country’s first all vote-by-mail state in 2000 and has consistently had some of the highest voter turnout in the nation, especially among young voters and in midterm elections, when turnout is often considerably lower. The op-ed also highlights how nationwide vote-by-mail would protect citizens against growing voter suppression among states.

“This year alone, 14 states have erected new obstacles to voting, according to the Brennan Center for Justice,” Wyden said. “Just this month, a federal judge ruled that Florida's election law for disqualifying mail-in ballots amounts to ‘taking as many as 23,000 ballots, crumbling them into balls, and throwing them in the trash like dirty tissue.’”

For the full op-ed, click here.

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