States Moving to Vote-By-Mail During Epidemic

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States Moving to Vote-By-Mail During Epidemic

Most states held their primary elections prior to the onset of social distancing restrictions related to the coronavirus. For states which have yet to conduct their primaries, many are pursuing voting-by-mail as the only viable option in this time when large gatherings are banned.


Currently, five states conduct all their elections by mail: Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and Utah. In these states, all registered voted receive a ballot and must mail them back by Election Day. There is also limited in-person voting locations where voters can visit during early voting or can drop off their ballots on Election Day.


Many states have enacted bans on large groups gathering in public and have restricted travel outside the home due to the coronavirus. This has put in jeopardy the ability of these states to conduct any primary elections that have yet to occur.

In response, these states are expanding their absentee ballot process to conduct primaries. Under these procedures, people will still have to request an absentee ballot. There will be no in-person voting locations. States conducting primary elections in this way include Ohio and Idaho.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing for greater federal aid for states to assist in ramping up vote-by-mail efforts. She says the coronavirus epidemic has shown that states need to move towards allowing this type of voting in more circumstances. President Trump is pushing back, however, arguing that holding elections exclusively by mail will result in more vote fraud.


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