United States 2020 presidential elections scheduled for Tuesday, November 3 hangs in the balance due to nation-wide lockdown caused by coronavirus pandemic. As voting at polling stations will defy social distancing norms and put thousands of lives at risk, former first lady Michelle Obama has called for voting by mail.
While a dozen states postponed their primary elections in wake of the rapid spread of coronavirus in the United States, the state Supreme Court in Wisconsin overturned the governer's decision to do the same, leaving the public in jeopardy. While thousands of people waited hours in line without protective gear, thousands of other voters skipped the election, unwilling to risk themselves to exposure of the novel coronavirus.
After the incident, "When We All Vote," a voter initiative led by Michelle Obama, demanded greater access to Americans to voting by mail, early in-person voting and online voter registration. The announcement comes just days after US President Donald Trump expressed his opposition to mail-in voting, claiming that it will increase chances of voter fraud.
Michelle argued that expanding access to vote-by-mail, online voter registration and early voting are long overdue "critical steps for this moment."
"Americans should never have to choose between making their voices heard and keeping themselves and their families safe. There is nothing partisan about striving to live up to the promise of our country: making the democracy we all cherish more accessible, and protecting our neighbors, friends and loved ones as they participate in this cornerstone of American life," the 56-year-old said in a statement.
The "Becoming" author launched "When We All Vote in 2018" two years after she left the White House with her husband Barack Obama. The organisation is co-chaired by actor Tom Hanks, "Hamilton" creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda, singer-songwriter Janelle Monae, NBA player Chris Paul and husband-and-wife country singers Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.
Despite Trump's opposition, several state officials from his party are moving forward with plans for mail-in voting in their states.
According to a report in USA Today, five states- Colorado, Hawaii, Oregan, Washington, and Utah have conducted elections entirely by mail, and at least 21 other states have laws allowing smaller elections, such as school board contests, to be conducted by mail. Forty states, including the five with all-mail elections, and the District of Columbia offer in-person early voting, according to the state legislatures' association.