Mail-in voting is here to stay. But that doesn’t mean it should become routine.

Photo (cc) 2005 by Russ

Voting is a great civic exercise — a community coming-together. Which is why I disagree with the idea that the expansion of mail-in voting implemented this year as a response to the COVID pandemic should be made permanent, as this Boston Globe editorial suggests.

Yes, voting by mail is safe and secure, as none other than Attorney General Bill Barr has conceded. Yes, it should continue to be available for those who need it. And yes, we need to make voting easier.

But there are ways to do that that don’t involve sitting alone in your house and filling out your ballot. Early in-person voting has worked well. Moving Election Day to a Saturday, making it an all-weekend event, making it a holiday — all good ideas.

Voting by mail, though, should be an exception, not the rule.

Comments are open. Please include your full name, first and last, and speak with a civil tongue.

Early voting? No. Elections are about community.

Photo (cc) 1935 by kheelcenter
Photo (cc) 1935 by kheelcenter

Matt Viser reports in the Boston Globe that some people in Minnesota are already voting—before the first presidential debate has even been held. I don’t like it. I also don’t like absentee voting unless the voter can prove a genuine hardship. Online voting? Uh, no.

Yes, I know that most people have made up their minds about the presidential race, but that’s not the point. There are other races on the ballot. More important, voting is a time when we come together as a community to exercise our democratic rights.

There are ways to make the Election Day better. I’d make it a weekend-long event and ensure that there are enough poll workers in place so that it’s a good experience for everyone. But changing the system so that voting is something you do alone is not the way to go.

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