Voting by mail could be way of the future

Screen Shot 2020-06-06 at 4.59.53 PM
“I voted” stickers. (File photo by Jim Mahoney) 

Local races in play along with national election


The Coronavirus has indeed turned our lives upside down, and nowhere will this be more evident than in upcoming presidential election, which will include the rep race here between Councilor Mike McLaughlin and Joe McGonagle.

House and Senate Democrats late last week released a proposal that would dramatically expand voting-by-mail this year in Massachusetts, in response to fears that many voters may shy away from voting in-person amid the Coronavirus crisis.

The mail-in plan would be coupled with in-person early voting and traditional voting in September and November.

Many thousands of Everett voters are believed to be expecting to vote by mail in the upcoming election, a vast number more than have voted by mail than ever before because of the social distancing requirements likely to be imposed during the primary and the election.

Because of the voting demographic which has many more elderly than younger people voting here and everywhere, fears of the virus will arouse the widespread voting by mail option.

President Trump claimed to his 80 million Twitter followers recently that mail-in voting is particularly susceptible to fraud, saying that ballots are stolen from mailboxes, voter signatures are routinely forged, and ballots are illegally printed. He also alleged, without any supporting evidence, that the state of California has sent ballots to undocumented immigrants in a move to allow “anyone” to vote.

The issue is of pressing concern to Secretary of State William Galvin. He has said he is ready to print ballots for fall elections next week.

“Voters should not have to choose between their health and their constitutional right to vote,” said Pam Wilmot, executive director of the advocacy group Common Cause Massachusetts on Radio Boston. Her take is that the best option is mail-in ballots.

Galvin’s proposed plan would allow any Massachusetts voter to request a mail- in ballot, and clerks could begin sending out ballots as soon as they are printed. He would also extend early voting at polling locations to an 18-day period ahead of the general election, and for seven days ahead of the September 1 primary.

Voters currently cannot vote by mail outside of the two-week early voting period before a general election, and there are no such early voting options for primaries. Nearly three out of four respondents to a Suffolk University/Boston Globe/WGBH News poll said they would support conducting all voting for the September primary and November general by mail. Everett’s election commission will be expected to follow guidelines issued by Beacon Hill.

In elections past, there have often been improprieties with mail in ballots, especially among the aged and the infirm and those unable to go outside.

Some candidates have used the opportunity to their advantage to bring paper ballots to those respective groups of voters and to have them sign them with the signee usually voting for the candidate bringing them the ballot.

Leave a Reply