Earlier this week, Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep Earl Blumenauer, both Democrats from Oregon, introduced a bill that would expand their state’s vote-by-mail system to the entire country.
It’s not a new notion. Wyden has been pushing versions of the bill since 2010. But given the events of the past year — Trump’s narrow electoral-college victory, accusations of voter fraud, voter-suppression laws in various states — it is more relevant than ever. Its Senate co-sponsor list has grown to 19 and now includes leftie stalwarts like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
The bill has little chance of passage — one of the core truths of US politics is that anything that increases voting turnout hurts Republicans, so they inevitably oppose it. But at the very least it ought to kick up a national conversation about America’s abysmal voting system and one dead-simple way to fix it. 👉 US voting is an embarrassing mess
I spent the run-up to the 2016 election reading about people taking advantage of early voting, which is supposed to be more convenient than voting on Voting Day. Unfortunately, in the US, that’s a pretty low bar.
I read about people like Cynthia Perez, who stood in the hot Arizona sun for three hours to vote in Maricopa County, Arizona — the county that contains Phoenix, the state’s most populous city. Officials recently cut the number of polling places in that county by 70 percent.
Bill Jones, a 69-year-old African American, stood in line for two hours to vote in Charlotte, North Carolina, eager to cast an early vote in a state where Republican officials have worked tirelessly to restrict voting, especially among minorities.
Amanda Stephens tried two separate polling places in Corpus Christi, Texas, hoping to vote early on her lunch break. One said the wait would be two and a half hours. The other said three hours. She gave up.
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