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COVID-19: Remote Voting Trends and the Election Infrastructure Subsector

CRS report via LC – COVID-19: Remote Voting Trends and the Election Infrastructure Subsector, June 10, 2020: “…Public health concerns about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have accelerated consideration of remote voting options as many voters have sought to avoid the possible health risks of crowded polling places. Elections authorities have invested in new physical and cyber infrastructures to reduce in-person interactions throughout all phases of the election cycle, including but not limited to the casting of ballots on Election Day. These efforts have focused on universal mail voting—the only form of remote voting in wide use. (Some states provide for electronic marking and return of ballots in certain limited cases.) The rapid pursuit of expanded mail voting and development of accompanying infrastructures during the pandemic has presented near-term technical, logistical, administrative, and security challenges to the election infrastructure subsector (EIS). State and local preparedness to transition to mail voting varies widely. Several states already use universal mail voting for elections. However, most states still rely primarily upon in-person voting, with varying eligibility standards for absentee ballot access. Elections experts have cautioned that introduction of universal mail voting is typically a multi-year process even in the most favorable circumstances, as it involves elements with long lead times, such as legislative changes, contracting, manufacturing, property acquisitions, interagency coordination, and systems testing…”

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