If you’ve been on the internet at all lately, you’ve probably seen the meme about Wisconsin’s primary: a gravestone embossed with the words, “I Voted.” The image is dark, but effective. As we have seen, holding elections during a pandemic is risky for voters and poll workers alike. In fact, several poll workers stationed in Chicago during Illinois’ earlier primary have since tested positive for COVID-19, including one who tragically died.
That’s why a growing movement of advocates such as the Just Democracy Illinois coalition, which I chair, is demanding an expansion of vote-by-mail to avoid more tragedy in November. Vote-by-mail is a system dating back to the Civil War that allows people to cast a ballot from the safety of their own homes. Best of all, we know that it works: In the last two federal elections, roughly 1 out of every 4 Americans cast a mail ballot.