The Woman’s National Democratic Club supports the provisions of the Elections Modernization Act of 2021. An effective democracy that works for all citizens must include systems and processes that make it easy for all citizens to vote in free and fair elections. Many of the provisions of this bill were implemented during the 2020 election cycle to facilitate hybrid mail-in and in-person voting options for DC voters. This bill would make the most successful innovations permanent.
We strongly support that the requirement for the D.C. Board of Elections mail every DC voter a mail-in ballot. Several states already automatically send mail-in ballots to all eligible voters. Those states include California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Washington state. This process boosts voter turnout by expanding voting accessibility, especially among Black and brown people, disabled people, residents who might not have transportation to their polling location, older people and members of the military. The requirement that the DC Board also provide a postage-prepaid envelope is a welcomed enhancement to this process.
The other provisions that we believe are equally important are the provisions that: 1) make in-person voting available on election day at polling places (Vote Centers) that are open to voters regardless of their residential precinct; 2) require that the Board operate no fewer than 100 ballot drop boxes throughout the District; 3) establish a ballot tracking system to track and notify voters about the status of their ballots; and 4) create a cure process for voters whose ballots are flagged for signature verification issues.
The protection of the right to vote is vital to the American democracy. The Woman’s National Democratic Club is committed to the promotion of civic engagement in furtherance of that objective. Accordingly, we urge the D.C. Council to pass the Elections Modernization Amendment Act of 2021.