Americans shouldn’t have to choose between their health and right to vote.
But as we are now fewer than 100 days until Election Day, President Trump and his allies seem determined to force more voters to make that impossible choice. And at the same time they are trying to confuse people about the coming election. The latest is Trump suggesting that he is considering delaying the election.
Let me be clear: Trump’s delayed election suggestion is nonsense. The president has no legal or constitutional authority to do that. Election Day is set by act of Congress and only Congress can change the date — even in an emergency.
This year’s general election will happen on November 3, and there is no tweet by Trump that will change that.
The timing of our election is not up for debate. The real question we need to be asking ourselves is not when we will vote, but instead how will we vote this November.
We — voters, election administrators, elected officials — have a choice in front of us: We can work together to ensure the 2020 election is accessible and secure like the American people want or we can spread lies about voting and undermine the integrity of our elections like Trump wants.
I think it’s safe to say we need to go with the first option.
This means we need state and local governments to adopt and implement election reforms to ensure every eligible voter can cast their ballot in a safe, accessible and fair way during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many states, under both Republican and Democratic control, have already started doing this by expanding vote-by-mail options.
We know from states that already use vote-by-mail like Oregon, Colorado, Utah and Washington, it is a system that can be efficient, convenient and secure for voters when administered and implemented correctly.
Expanding vote-by-mail options is extremely important, but we also need states to be prioritizing election security measures that make sure every vote in counted and working to adopt policies that ensure there is safe in-person voting options for November.
It also means Congress needs to allocate significant funding to the states right away to help them do this in the next coronavirus relief package.
Election administrators and elected officials have a responsibility to make our voting systems work for all voters so they can make their voices heard, regardless if they are voting in person at their local polling place or at home by mail. We can avoid and fix the issues we saw in several primary elections if we act now.
At the end of the day, though, elections are decided by us — the voters. Voting is both an individual act we do based on our political beliefs, but it is also something we do as a nation to help shape the future of our communities and country.
If a large portion of the people do not show up and make our voices heard this November, then the people in power trying to suppress our vote and confuse us about the timing of the election will claim victory. We cannot — and will not — let that happen.
This year’s general election will be on November 3, and there is no way for Trump to change that on his own. The only thing he can do is try to confuse and scare us, and deflect our attention away from the economic and public health crisis that he has ignored and his administration has failed to appropriately address.
This is his strategy to get us not to show up to vote, regardless if it is with a mail-in ballot or at a voting center. I, for one, refuse to allow him to suppress my vote and you shouldn’t either.