Nearly 75 percent of US voters can vote by mail in 2020: NYT

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Almost 75 percent of U.S. voters will be able to vote by mail in the 2020 presidential election, The New York Times reported on Tuesday. 

The highest percentage of Americans in U.S. history will automatically be eligible for mail-in voting without an excuse, as several states have adjusted their election systems amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Experts forecast that turnout will increase, leading to about 80 million mail-in ballots being sent to election offices, more than double the amount in 2016, according to the Times. 

All states will permit a form of mail-in voting, but the accessibility for voters will vary. Nine states and Washington, D.C., plan to send a ballot to every registered voter ahead of the election.

The analysis found 33 states will allow voters to send in an absentee ballot without a submitted excuse or listing the pandemic as an excuse. Out of those, eight states will automatically send an application for a ballot to registered voters. In half of the states, voters will need to obtain the application for an absentee ballot themselves.

Voters will need to provide an excuse to get an absentee ballot in eight states: New York, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

A total of 24 states and D.C. made adjustments to make mail-in voting easier in the midst of a pandemic. Some counties within other states have adopted similar measures too. Last-minute changes, including legislation and court rulings, could bring more changes in the weeks to come. 

With about half of the states not making any changes for this election so far, election experts said voters in these states will take advantage of existing options. 

The Times analysis also discovered that out of the 31 states that saw increased turnouts in their primaries or caucuses compared to 2016, 18 sent either ballots or ballot applications to voters for the elections. In states that required an excuse for the absentee ballot, turnout stayed about the same as the last presidential primaries. 

But mail-in voting during the primaries and caucuses also had its problems, with long lines, technical difficulties, a large volume of ballots and concerns about missing and rejected ballots, the Times noted.

President Trump has spoken out strongly against mail-in voting, asserting without evidence that the practice opens up the election to fraud.

Election officials say the amount of ballots and potential issues with the U.S. Postal Service will cause obstacles in November, leading to delays in announcing the winners in each state by days or even weeks, according to the Times.

Tags 2020 election 2020 presidential election absentee voting Coronavirus Donald Trump mail-in voting Pandemic Vote by Mail Voting

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