All polling locations should be open on Election Day in D.C. as the nation sees “unprecedented voter suppression efforts,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday.
The mayor renewed her push for every voting precinct in the city to open on Election Day despite the coronavirus pandemic as the U.S. Postal Service warns that it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail will arrive in time to be counted.
“We have no control over what happens with the U.S. Postal Service, so we have to make sure we have robust opportunities for people to vote in other ways,” Bowser said at a news conference on the pandemic.
The D.C. Board of Elections is planning to open about 80 voting centers, instead of all 144 polling sites that are usually open. The board has reported having trouble finding enough people to staff the polls as the pandemic continues.
Bowser said she is looking at how the city can assist the Board of Elections, which is an independent agency, with staffing.
The mayor herself had to wait in line for two hours to vote in the primary in June, when just 20 voting centers were open.
The Board of Elections will send every voter a mail-in ballot without requiring a separate request. People who prefer to vote in person should have that option despite trouble at the federal level, Bowser said.
“In a normal world we wouldn’t have to be concerned about mail and somebody stopping delivery of the mail. But we are not in a normal world,” she said.