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How Libraries Can Save the 2020 Election

The New York Times Opinion – : “As states rush to adapt their election systems amid the coronavirus pandemic, officials estimate that 80 million Americans plan to vote by mail this fall, twice as many as in 2016. Because of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s decision to remove or cripple key components of America’s mail system just weeks before Election Day and President Trump’s open efforts to discredit mail-in voting, millions are worried their ballots won’t be counted in time, or even counted at all. Last week, congressional Democrats and several governors from both parties called for Mr. DeJoy to reinstall the high-speed sorting machines and mailboxes that he removed in an inexplicable hurry. He flatly refused. The House passed a $25 billion bill to revive the Postal Service before the election. The Republican-controlled Senate refused to consider it. New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, called the Postal Service system overhaul “nothing more than a voter suppression tactic.” But a speedy judicial resolution is unlikely. Fortunately, there is a largely overlooked part of the civic infrastructure that is ready and able to help Americans exercise the franchise, even under these troubling circumstances: libraries. Libraries already serve as polling places on Election Day throughout the country and, crucially, they provide secure, monitored ballot boxes where absentee voters can drop off their ballots before Nov. 3 and know that it will count. Secure boxes for absentee ballots are already available at some libraries in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Utah and Washington. Other states should follow suit…”

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