Civil Rights Today Blog_Vote By Mail_08_19_2020

Let’s talk about vote by mail (vbm) or absentee ballots this week. First, the two terms are interchangeable; no distinctions exist. When you request an absentee ballot, you will receive a ballot that allows you to vote in the comfort of your home. It’s a useful tool, but in areas that are unaccustomed to vbm, it shouldn’t be the sole source of participation. We need massive education on vbm to assuage fears. Here’s what you need to know to make a clear decision:

Currently, 5 states conduct all elections via mail, with high participation rates and no problems with fraud.

Around 30 states allow voters to request ballots for any reason, which is generally referred to as “no excuse” vbm.

It’s the remaining 15 that have requirements, such as only people of a certain age or witness requirements, that make it especially onerous to vote.

Generally, voters of color use vbm at a lesser rate than white voters. We like to vote in-person. We want to see our votes cast and counted. We also tend to have a higher rejection rate of our vbm ballots. Thus, the reluctance to use it. If people of color don’t use vbm, why all the fuss? Well, it increases turnout. Some politicians don’t want more people to participate, which is why we MUST vote. Make sure that you’re registered and learn your voting options.

If you are interested in more information on vbm, here’s a messaging guide from @adv_project and a report @demos that have good information.

A white person and a Black person vote by mail in the same state. Whose ballot is more likely to be rejected?

There is a LOT of noise surrounding vote by mail(vbm)/remote voting.  It’s important to note that racial disparities exist in the rejection rate of vbm ballots cast by people of color.  Also, the current shenanigans surrounding the USPS raise the level of distrust.  All of this argues for why areas that are trying to expand vbm, must have other ways to cast ballots, including utilizing dropboxes, expanding early voting, and in-person methods.  We need to increase opportunities to cast ballots, not limit them. Blogpost 08_12_2020

This week, I want to talk about voter registration.  In most states, voter registration closes 25-30 days before an election.  This year that means, in some states, October 4, 2020 is the last day to register.  You can go to to check registration deadlines.  This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic many voter registration outlets, like the Department of Motor Vehicles, was closed for several months. Additionally, other voter registration sites, such as libraries and social service agencies were closed.  In 2016, 33% of all registrations came from the DMV.  There are a few states (21) that allow you to register and vote on the same day, even through election day.  Here are a few websites where you can register to vote or check your registration:;;

If you’re not registered, you can’t vote.  Know before you go!!

Election 2020

As we count down to the election, we have important dates to keep in mind as we get closer to 11/3.  In fact, the election is not in less than 90 days.  In some states, it is less than 50 days away.  The election will begin as early as Friday, September 18, 2020, which is when early voting starts in Minnesota and South Dakota.  In Virginia, New Jersey, Michigan, and Wisconsin voting begin on Saturday, September 19, 2020.  You can find election dates and rules at  There are three things that everyone should do:  1.  Register to vote or if you’re already registered, encourage or assist others; 2. Confirm your registration and your polling place, and 3. Know the various ways that you can cast a ballot and the deadlines.  I have a timeline on my website (click the VIP tab) and other resources at

55 years after the Voting Rights Act was signed into law, advocates continue fight to close registration gap

Registrations are low.  We need to act before the voter registration window closes.  for the 11/3 election.

By Kelly Mena and Janie Boschma, CNN (CNN) — Before his death, Rep. John Lewis wrote a final essay urging people to exercise their right to vote and keep fighting.”Voting and participating in the democrati

Source: 55 years after the Voting Rights Act was signed into law, advocates continue fight to close registration gap