At County Level, Many in GOP Favor Mail-in Voting

By: - April 24, 2020 12:00 am

Jim O’Bryan deposits his ballot in the drop box at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in Cleveland, Ohio, this week. Republican election officials in a handful of states are encouraging absentee voting. Tony Dejak/The Associated Press

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Despite opposition from President Donald Trump, many local Republican election officials across the country are continuing to push for expanding mail-in voting ahead of November’s election.

The novel coronavirus outbreak has made voting in person a health hazard: Wisconsin health officials have linked at least 19 new COVID-19 cases to the state’s primary election earlier this month.

Election officials of both parties have turned to mail-in voting to alleviate those concerns. Indeed, leading Republican election officials in states such as Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Ohio are encouraging voters to cast absentee ballots by mail ahead of their respective primaries.

However, in other states, state GOP leaders are following Trump’s lead. Republican lawmakers in Arizona, Arkansas, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico and Virginia have fought attempts to expand mail-in voting systems. Democrats remain supportive of the voting method.

Voters in 28 states can vote absentee without providing an excuse. Among the states that do not require an excuse to vote absentee are many of the swing states needed to win the presidency, such as Florida and Michigan.

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Matt Vasilogambros
Matt Vasilogambros

Matt Vasilogambros covers voting rights, gun laws and Western climate policy for Stateline. He lives in San Diego, California.