Election law in a pandemic

Ballotpedia ran a mini-symposium on the strain placed on election law and procedure by the COVID-19 virus. An excerpt from my short contribution:

Whatever your previous thinking on absentee and vote-by-mail procedures, minimizing the need for in-person voting is now the need of the hour. Every vote cast by mail is one that doesn’t add to waiting lines (already a headache even before social distancing) and the need for interaction at sign-in tables.


  • Strict laws requiring proof of US citizenship (passport, certified birth certificate or naturalization papers) must be shown in order to become a registered voter and to vote.Only way to prevent a wave of noncitizens and illegal aliens from voting in states like CA and NY as well as the destruction of the Republican Party as a national party

  • All voting and ballots must be subject to an equivalent level of verification. This is likely not possible in any hybrid system of voting where some ballots are in-person (which includes in-person absentee balloting), and other ballots are mail-in.

    With in person voting with picture ID verification is simple, transparent, and open to public observation in real time as voters stream through the polling place. I can see that the voter before and after me get the same scrutiny as I do.
    -In contrast, verifying that a mailed ballot comes from the actual voter to whom the ballot was intended is difficult to do with the same level of certainty, is opaque, and not open to public observation.

    • We already allow absentee ballots, though. The only difference here is that so many more people are doing it.