I was going to write about the proposed “Coronavirus” reaction bill, but the delayed primary in Louisiana kept staying on my mind.
With voter suppression happening all over the country by closing some precincts, limiting voting machines, reducing early voting days, and such, anything to do with voters always grabs my attention.
On Friday, March 13, 2020 Louisiana decided to postpone its primary until June 20, 2020. Although I can understand their rationale, I also think it was unnecessary and sets a bit of a precedent. Plus, in today’s political climate, I question most decisions as I’m not sure if this is a trial run to postpone other elections in the future. The Republicans always seem to be watching for reactions and then learn what they can, or cannot, get away with in the future.
I think Louisiana had another option other than postponing the primary. Should we have in-person voting right now. Maybe, maybe not. If one can get in and out quickly, then yes. If the process is set-up in certain precincts to have to wait seven hours to vote, then probably not. With record turnout in many states, it will be nigh on impossible to have social-distancing at the polls.
What Louisiana (and all of the upcoming primary states should do), could have decided to do, which would have provided for an even higher voter turnout, would be to have mail-in ballots.
It isn’t as if there was not advance notice Coronavirus may have an impact on voting. We’ve seen schools, businesses, and sports, close out-right, reduce hours or halt seasons over at least the past week. For me, it is very telling no one had created an alternative plan, other than postponement.
Other states use mail-in ballots quite effectively. There is no reason, other than not wanting everyone to have the opportunity to vote, to not vote by mail. It may even be more cost-effective to do mail-in ballots, and creates a paper trail in case of irregularities. Regardless, there is ample time to print, post and mail ballots to every single registered voter in all upcoming state primaries. There is also more than ample time for voters to complete the ballots and return them.
Would this mean we may not know the outcome of a primary within hours of the “polls” closing? Probably, but what is more important, keeping everyone safe, giving everyone the opportunity to vote, or getting voter decisions quickly so networks can light up states?
My vote is to get as many voter decisions over timeliness for networks.
So Georgia, Puerto Rico, Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Guam, Kansas, Indiana, Nebraska, West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon (well, not you as you already do mail-in only), Virgin Islands, DC, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Virgin Islands, start printing and mailing.
Coronavirus or not, Democracy must continue.