California Governor Gavin Newsom just passed a large measure that will ensure every registered voter in the state gets a ballot in the mail for the November election. This will make them the first state to make it an automatic mailing in light of the coronavirus pandemic. It won't replace in-person voting, but it should ultimately make things both easier and safer when the time comes. California is the biggest state in terms of electoral college votes, and it's also got just as many challenges for its voters getting to the booth, so every other state should look at this and make vote-by-mail a priority.
California has every obstacle you can think of to prevent people from voting. Rural areas where the nearest booth is miles and miles away? Check. Crowded urban voting centers where the lines can be longer than the one at Space Mountain? Double-check. An unjust amount of people working ungodly hours that prevent them from getting to a booth? Triple-check. These problems exist around the country, so voting by mail would give people a chance to sit down at home, make sound, informed decisions, and then feel good about doing their civic duty.
The problem here is that the people who can reliably get to a voting booth for down-ballot elections tend to skew conservative -- the elderly/retired, those wealthy enough that they can take off work, and your crazy uncle that blames Obama for the existence of the Soviet Union. The in-person voting stations will also likely take a hit in November, because if the Wisconsin primary is any indication, those same old/rich/nutjob people are also the main people volunteering to man the voting stations, and will likely stay home if/when the coronavirus still presents a threat.
Except that's not necessarily the case. In CA-25, where there was just a special election to replace Rep. Katie Hill, Republicans outgunned Democrats with mailed-in ballots. The state of Utah, a Republican stronghold, does a lot of voting by mail. And despite the President's attacks on the idea, it looks like Republican-led states are looking real hard into this as an option come November.
There's really no good reason to do things to suppress voting, especially in a time when it's so important to our country. Who wants to be looked at by history as making things harder or worse? Hahaha, j/k they know history won't remember.
Top Image: Chris Phan/Wikimedia Commons