Voting is a fundamental part of American society, but I’m deeply concerned that our ability to vote safely and fairly is at risk.

Even before COVID-19, voter suppression made it difficult for many to participate in our elections. In the current pandemic situation, the threats are even greater. We’ve already seen how unsafe voting practices in Wisconsin impacted voters, and we need to do better.

This is important to me not only as a citizen but also as a Unitarian Universalist. My faith tradition includes the use of the democratic process as one of its core principles, and it’s essential that our country also makes this a priority.

The good news is, we have a lot of options for improving this process. These include voting by mail, no-excuse absentee ballots, online voter registration and same-day registration. The election in November is critical to preserving our democracy, and improving access to the ballot will make sure everyone’s voices are heard.

If Congress doesn’t act now to support these measures, researchers have found that voter turnout is likely to drop enormously, and we could be left with contested election results, as well as an increased infection rate for those who risk voting.

I ask that those in office – Gov. Mills, Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Angus King, Rep. Chellie Pingree, Rep. Jared Golden and other elected officials – share what they’re doing to ensure the safety of voters and the protection of voter access, representation and turnout through primary season and this November.

Erica Bartlett


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