Letters: Should Tennessee allow voting by mail?

Johnson City Press • Apr 19, 2020 at 6:00 AM

With Monday’s Question of the Week, we asked readers if they believed our state should institute voting by mail or online. Here are some of the responses we received.

Fraud can be prevented

I sincerely doubt the people in charge will be willing to allow mail-in voting.

The political leaders we have elected are continuously engaged in efforts to make it harder to vote, and voter suppression tactics are prevalent across this country.

Mail-in voting would make it extremely easy for all to vote. Mailing voting forms to all registered voters would make it easy to confirm that only those registered cast their votes.

This leaves a distinct paper backup for all votes in case there is a need for recount in a close election. Mail-in would allow us to vote no matter the weather, how we feel, it would not interrupt work, and just in case the coronavirus is still with us, it could save lives.

We should do it without fail.

Piney Flats

Start planning now

Voting by mail should be allowed for our next elections. This is especially needed since we do not know how long the pandemic will prevent us from getting to the polls in person. And even if stay at home restrictions are lifted, voting by mail should be permitted to supplement votes cast at the polls.

We should begin now designing a process and communicating that process to all voters so there is no misunderstanding about how this will work.

We must allow everyone to have the opportunity to exercise their constitutional right and voting by mail could make that happen.

Thank you for allowing citizens to voice our opinion on this most important matter.

Johnson City

Wisconsin proves the need

The debacle of the primary election in Wisconsin demonstrates a clear answer to the question of voting by mail. In that case, with less than 3% of polling stations open in the largest city due to the pandemic, and a “stay-at-home” order, thousands were deprived of the right to cast a ballot for representation in their government.

That fundamental right is anchored in the Constitution’s Article I as to “be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof” and its 19th Amendment command that “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied.” At the same time, as President T. Roosevelt stated, in changing times and under vastly different circumstances, the interpretation of a constitutional matter “must turn upon the right apprehension of the living conditions to which it is to be applied.”

Severe natural disasters under climate change, as can afflict large areas for weeks, and health crises like the one we are under, call for widening of our options in the election process. What could be more appropriate under such difficulties – or even in these modern times generally – than to have absentee or vote-by-mail ability, as more than 30 states already have?

The same constitutional Article provides that “Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations (as to the) … manner of holding elections.” Fortunately, a bill introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate – Resilient Elections During Quarantine and Natural Disasters Act of 2020 – would effect quick action for mail voting options. We should seek help from our representatives to get it implemented. Urgency in this matter is now – not after more primary elections are upended, and potentially the November election, and our right to vote thrown to the winds.


Johnson City Press Videos