Roadblocks and Remedies: The State of Voting in 2020
2020 will be a historic election – with expanded participation driven by the successes of the democracy movement. As many as 160 million Americans are projected to vote in 2020. If achieved this will be the highest turnout in a presidential election in more than 100 years.
The democracy movement has successfully expanded access to the ballot, with more voting options now available than ever before. In 2018 and 2019 alone, voters and/or state legislatures approved voting reforms in 21 states.
Our success has helped prepare the United States for a pandemic election: In response to health risks linked to in-person voting, many states have adopted proven reforms long-advocated by the democracy movement, including Early Voting and Vote- by-Mail (or no-excuse absentee voting).
What we’ve achieved in 2020:
- Vote by mail is available in 45 states and the District of Columbia (DC).
- Early Voting is available in 43 states (and DC).
- 39 states (and DC) offer three voting options: Vote-by-mail, Early Voting, and in-person voting on Election Day.
- 20 states and DC with Same-Day Voter Registration (including North Dakota, where no registration is required).
Only one remaining state – Mississippi – still has in-person voting on Election Day as the only option available to all voters.
Roadblocks remain to successful voting: Common voter suppression tactics include ballots delayed by purposeful slowdown of the US mail; closed polling places, purged voter rolls, restrictive voter ID laws, ballot drop boxes decommissioned, and litigation to limit ballot access. In addition, those using a new voting option for the first time may confront an information gap about rules, deadlines, times and locations for Early Voting and Vote-by-Mail.
Remedies to assist voters: Many common roadblocks to voting can be overcome by a common remedy. Know the Rules, MAKE A PLAN and Vote Early. Additional resources for voters include:
- tracking mail ballots and ensuring that ballots are signed, sealed and delivered
- information about times and locations for Early Voting and vote-by-mail
- planning to vote safely if voting in-person on Election Day
- accurate and trusted information about election results, which will likely not be available on Election Day or the morning after. 2020 will have an election period, rather than an Election Day. Getting it right is more important than getting it fast.
Roadblocks and Remedies: The State of Voting 2020
Key resources for voters and field workers
Vote411.org: Starting at this site, voters can check their registration status in any state and link to quick and easy online voter registration, where available.
HealthyVoting.org: Starting at this site, voters can check key voting information in any state, including:
- registration deadlines
- times and dates for Early Voting
- deadlines for applying for a mail ballot
- deadlines for returning a mail ballot
- ballot tracking information where available.
Secretary of State websites for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Local election officials in cities, towns and counties in all 50 states and DC. Information on early voting centers and where to drop off mail ballots is available from local election officials.
The Election Protection Center, at 1-866-Our-Vote (866-687-8683), for any roadblocks or problems that might prevent a successful vote during Early Voting, vote- by-mail, or in-person voting on Election Day.