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Perspective: The pros and cons of voting by mail

Katie Andraski

Universal vote by mail is currently being considered by the Illinois legislature where it has been referred to the Rules Committee. If a person was registered with the county board of elections, they would automatically receive a ballot. According to a 2022 Illinois Policy article this could mean 206,000 to 216,000 more people voting. “Despite disparate turnout effects among different groups, allowing universal vote by mail does not appear to increase either major party’s vote share. One plausible explanation is that voting by mail allows voters to research the items on their ballot, leading to more informed choices.”


Counties would not need extra poll workers at a time when people aren’t volunteering. With outraged people this would ease the threat of violence, and it lowers costs associated with election days.


But I think it would be a loss to not to go to our local polling place, sign our names and take a ballot. I would miss the black pen. I would miss standing in a booth, guarding my privacy. I would miss inking dots for my chosen elected officials, and the memories of filling out standardized tests. (Aren’t we filling out a test when we choose our government?) I would miss chatting with poll workers about anything but politics and maybe finding new neighbors.


Wouldn’t this be one more ritual, where people gather, even for a few minutes, that we’d be relinquishing for the convenience of filling out paper, a practice not much different than paying bills?


I’m Katie Andraski and that’s my perspective.

Katie Andraski is an author, blogger, and retired composition teacher at Northern Illinois University. You can read more of her writing on Substack at Katie's Ground.