Vote at Home – Frequently Asked Questions

Why vote from home?

  • Based on past experiences with pandemics, many public health experts believe that we may see a surge in COVID-19 cases in the fall. Everyone should be able to vote without fear of exposure to COVID-19 should there be a second wave of infection. They should also be able to have a vote by mail system that provides a secure and accurate election. 

  • According to the National Vote at Home Institute, the average age of our poll workers is over 60.  We need to make sure our elections are conducted in a way that is safe for all our election staff.  

  • Not infrequently, retirement homes and assisted living facilities are used as polling sites (National Vote At Home Institute).

  • The voting by mail system is a secure voting system that provides a paper trail. 

  • Voting by mail also eliminates many of the barriers that impede people from voting including transportation issues, the limitation of polling hours and work schedules, polling locations, and long lines, and childcare to name a few.

https://www.voteathome.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/VAHScale_StrategyPlan.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1rveiQtcn1YH71_NMQ8Aa4PB99PyTpdUXnYVY7wdid0Zav50VPW0KGz8U 

 

How will the process work?

  • Voting at home (mail balloting) is a safe, secure, time-tested way to make voting accessible and reduce administrative and staffing burdens on election day.

  • It can be accomplished by expanding the absentee ballot procedures already in place that allow registered voters to vote from home.

  • For example, many states that normally require a reason for a voter to receive an absentee ballot have removed that restriction in light of the pandemic. This is referred to as no-excuse absentee voting.

  • Registered voters receive their ballot in the mail. Ballot envelopes incorporate security measures like personalize barcodes that ensure that only one ballot is cast per person. Ballots are printed on specific ballot stock. Ballots are nonforwardable. For more information on ballot security, Vote at Home has a fact sheet.

  • The Vote At Home Scale Plan prepared by the National Vote at Home Institute provides a detailed review of how voting at home could be scaled up in all 50 states. The People endorsed this plan by a 70% vote of our House of Delegates.

https://www.voteathome.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/VAHScale_StrategyPlan.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1rveiQtcn1YH71_NMQ8Aa4PB99PyTpdUXnYVY7wdid0Zav50VPW0KGz8U 

 

Is there voter fraud? 

  • In the states that currently utilize a vote by mail system (CO, HI, OR, UT, WA) there has been no increase in the incidence of fraud (Brookings).

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2020/06/02/low-rates-of-fraud-in-vote-by-mail-states-show-the-benefits-outweigh-the-risks/ 

 

Does it advantage one party over another?

  • In a 2020 study conducted by the Stanford University Democracy and Polarization Lab, they found no discernible benefit to one party over another in a vote by mail system.

https://siepr.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/publications/20-015.pdf 

 

Does this mean I can’t vote in person?

  • No, even states with full vote at home programs, also have polling places where a voter can vote in person or drop off their ballot. Mail-in ballots increase the options people have for being able to cast their one vote. 

  • Vote at Home provides an option for voters when there is a health risk like the pandemic, other barriers as noted above or a preference to vote by mail.

 

What needs to happen in my state?

  • Most states have expanded their absentee ballot procedures to make it easier for people to vote from home this November, without compromising the security of the election. To find out the situation in your state, call or visit the website for the Secretary of State. They should have an elections division where information is readily available.

Quick Checklist of Questions:

  1. Can any voter request an absentee ballot without having to list an excuse?

  2. What is the deadline to request a ballot?

  3. If the state is rapidly expanding its vote at home provisions, what steps are being taken to guarantee the security of the system?  To educate voters on the vote at home option.

  4. Can a voter track their ballots?

  5. What is the deadline to mail in your ballot? What happens if you decide to vote in person?

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