Looking for ways to “expand voter participation and reduce the growing cost of elections, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Thomas Carper (D-Del.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced a package of bills today that would make it easier for states to institute the same vote-by-mail process currently used in Oregon,” according to a press release.
The bills that make up the vote-by-mail package are, according to the release:
- The Universal Right to Vote By Mail bill, which would guarantee everyone’s right to cast a ballot by mail. Currently, 28 states and territories impose some restrictions on getting an absentee ballot. This bill would eliminate those restrictions and ensure that any voter who wishes to get a mail ballot is able to do so.
- Vote By Mail grants bill, which would provide grants of $2 million to states or $1 million to smaller jurisdictions that want to institute vote by mail.
As part of the “package of bills to give voters more control and increase participation in elections, Senator Wyden also introduced a bill to expand on-line voter registration.”
The bill will provide grants to states that wish to implement an on-line registration system to allow individual voters to register to vote, update voter information, and request an absentee ballot. Oregon, Washington, and Arizona have already adopted such systems.
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