Vote-by-mail is best defense against hacking, voter suppression

(CNN)Despite what the Republican presidential nominee and hordes of Twitter eggs would have you believe, voter fraud isn’t a threat to American democracy. In fact, from 2000 to 2014 there were only 35 credible allegations of voter fraud out of more than 800 million votes cast.

So, let me be clear: There should be no doubt that the results of the 2016 election will be valid. The presidential election is not rigged. Anyone who says otherwise is actively undermining our democracy for personal or political gain.


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But that doesn’t mean Americans can be complacent. Our democracy is strongest when more citizens vote, and when voters are confident that their vote is being counted.
That is why I have sought to expand Oregon’s vote-by-mail and voter registration system nationwide. While former KGB agent and now Russian President Vladimir Putin tries to meddle in our election and special interests look to lock out working Americans and minorities who would vote against them, vote-by-mail offers the best solution we have to protect the integrity of our election system.


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Vote-by-mail is also a potent cure to the contagion of voter suppression that has swept our state governments in recent years. This year alone, 14 states have erected new obstacles to voting, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Just this month, a federal judge ruled that Florida’s election law for disqualifying mail-in ballots amounts to “taking as many as 23,000 ballots, crumbling them into balls, and throwing them in the trash like dirty tissue, without any opportunity to cure,” because the state’s law would throw out ballots with mismatched signatures with NO NOTICE to voters.
And in North Carolina, the state has tried to shorten early voting, create new voter ID requirements and make it harder to register to vote. A federal appeals court ruled this month that the state’s new voter registration and early voting laws “target African Americans with almost surgical precision” and “impose cures for problems that did not exist.”


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Oregon-style vote-by-mail and voter registration provide a simple fix to these discriminatory practices. When every registered American voter receives a ballot in the mail, long lines and closed polling places are no longer an obstacle, especially for seniors, working parents and students who need to take time off work or find childcare just to cast a vote. Automatic voter registration at the DMV makes it easier to receive that ballot, and the two- to three-week voting period provides plenty of time to fix mistakes.
As one commentator put it: Oregon-style voting is what democracy should look like. We’re lucky in Oregon to have vote-by-mail, and I’m working hard to bring it to the rest of the nation.

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