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All states should allow citizens to vote by mail

Last week, The News called for election reform after the national embarrassment of voters waiting in long lines, as well as the many efforts that took place to deny Americans their right to vote. The most obvious answer, among other possibilities, is to dramatically expand voting by mail. Every voter in the nation should be able to obtain a ballot to vote via the U.S. Postal Service. Oregon and Washington have vote by mail and they routinely get an over 80 percent turnout and voters don’t have to wait in long lines to cast their ballot. Many other states have various levels of early voting, often combined with voting by mail.

There is no corruption or voter fraud, because the ballots are handled by the most efficient Postal Service in the world, the federal agency that is the most trusted by the American people. The ballots are secure, accurate and recountable. New York State is among the most backward in the nation, with one of the lowest voter participation rates. The dirty little secret is that many politicians don’t really want you to vote. They only want to fight over each side getting out its base supporters.

For years, while Sam Hoyt was an Assemblyman, he introduced legislation to expand absentee balloting through the Postal Service and the Republicans in the State Senate blocked it at every turn. If you want an absentee ballot, you have to prove you’re sick or out of the state. It’s time that the entire country, and particularly New York State, joins the 21st century and makes voter participation a priority in advancing the cause of our democracy.

Robert J. McLennan

Amherst