NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Concerns over coronavirus will likely have thousands of Americans avoiding polling places on Nov. 3, and experts want people to start educating themselves on alternative voting options.
There are multiple options this year for voters. They can vote on Election Day, vote early or vote by mail.
While the results might be delayed if so many people choose the final option, experts say it’s still important to cast your ballot.
“I think what matters most is that it’s accurate,” says Elizabeth Matto, a political science professor at Rutgers University. “I think what matters most is that people walk away from this election confident in the outcome of this election.”
More people than ever before are expected to vote absentee and some have concerns about the integrity of the election – but David Becker, executive director and founder of the Center for Election Innovation & Research, says voting by mail is nothing new.
“We've been voting by mail since before the Civil War,” he explains. “In 2016, about 25% of all ballots were cast by mail.”
Matto notes that hundreds of Americans vote by mail every election year.
“American military personnel who are serving overseas have successfully voted absentee, or vote by mail, Americans living abroad have done the same,” she explains.
Both she and Becker say concerns about mail-in voting are misguided.
Some people have called for the election to be postponed in the midst of a global pandemic, but experts disagree.
They say you don’t need to walk into a polling place and risk your health to have your voice heard.
With all the options available to Americans, Becker says he’s pretty confident the election will go smoothy.
“I’m cautiously optimistic that we’re going to pull this off,” he said.
Becker reminds voters that “November 3rd is not Election Day, November 3rd is the close of the election season.”
He’s strongly encouraging voters to make a plan now as to how they plan to cast their ballot.
Meanwhile, Matto says there are some concerns about people trying to delegitimize the results of the election, regardless of which way it goes.
“The United States, throughout America’s history, has been seen as an exemplar when it comes to the peaceful transition of power and that’s all rooted on the idea that we see our election as legitimate,” Matto said. “That would be such an unfortunate stain on American history, I would say, if there are real questions about the legitimacy of our election.”