Remote Voting On Rise, But Progress Differs By State

Apr 15, 2020

Credit Flickr user / kristin_a (Meringue Bake Shop) "Vote!" (CC BY 2.0)

States are working to expand remote voting to address the coronavirus pandemic, but what’s already in place can differ widely between them. 

Voters in Illinois currently have the option of requesting an absentee ballot, without the need for a specific reason.  Scot Schraufnagel is Chair of the Political Science Department at Northern Illinois University. He says other states currently have an easier voting process than the Land of Lincoln.

“You can request a ballot by mail and vote by mail. That’s very different than what goes on in Oregon or Washington state or Colorado where all registered voters are automatically sent the ballot.” 

Part of Schraufnagel’s research has been compiling a “Cost of Voting” Index for elections since 1996. It measures how difficult it is to cast one’s ballot in each state. In the last election cycle, Illinois tied with Minnesota for 13th easiest state in which to vote.  Schraufnagel says the push for more remote voting is likely to elevate some states in this year’s rankings.