2020 was an extraordinary year for elections. Even as we were being crushed by the pandemic, we voted in unprecedented numbers. We needed to find safe ways of voting, so we took advantage of opportunities not widely used before, like having secure ballot boxes available to cast a ballot at any time. All of the government agencies that monitor the safety of elections said unanimously that 2020 elections were secure.

The For the People Act (S.1) articulates and addresses what have been barriers to voting. It addresses how eligible voters register, making voter rolls clean, addressing the longstanding issues of gerrymandering, standardizing the amount of time for early voting and voting hours at the polls, making early and mail-in voting available everywhere, confronting how elections are financed and making Election Day a national holiday.

Sen. Susan Collins said, “Absent a compelling need, the federal government should not be preempting the election laws of all 50 states.” Making sure more people vote; supporting the narrative that our elections are safe and secure; accepting that mail-in voting is a legitimate way to cast a ballot; having early voting locations and ballot boxes that are easily accessible – aren’t these all compelling needs? S.1 would guarantee these things.

By any calculation, 2020 was a difficult year. But to save ourselves from a pandemic, we diversified how we voted. We had huge voter turnout in a secure election. The lesson is when there is a system that supports voters, more voters will vote. And that is a compelling need.

Jo Trafford

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