Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
You're reading this the day after the 2020 election, but unfortunately it's still too early for me to comment on any of the races because I'm writing this the day before, oblivious to any results.
There are a few comments I'd like to make about the election, not about any candidate in particular but rather about how elections should be conducted.
This election has been unusual for the high volume of absentee voting before Election Day. In fact, some states such as Texas had recorded more votes nearly a week before the election than they had in all of 2016, a testament both to the popularity of early voting and to the public's level of enthusiasm to make their voices heard in 2020.
There is one catch to this glut of absentee voting, and that is whether the votes will arrive in time to be counted. Some states require that absentee ballots be received on Election Day, as opposed to being postmarked before Election Day as in Iowa. In this state, absentee ballots that arrive the following Monday after the election can still be counted as long as they are postmarked before Election Day.
Just last week, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a move that would have allowed Wisconsin to adopt Iowa's standard of counting absentee ballots that arrive as many as six days after the election. Instead, Wisconsin will only be able to count those ballots that arrive by Election Day. This is a big deal because the glut of absentee ballots coupled with diminished processing capacity by the U.S. Postal Service means the mail is running slower than normal. In fact, election officials announced a week before Election Day that it was too late to mail absentee ballots.
It's disappointing to think that some people who turned in their ballots on time will not have their vote counted because the post office could not deliver it on time.
It's reasonable to expect people to turn in their ballot on time. It's unreasonable to expect them to control the mail.