Guest Columnist

To support veterans, Iowa's senators should work to fund vote-by-mail

Jim Mowrer, circa 2015. Candidate for Congress in 3rd District.
Jim Mowrer, circa 2015. Candidate for Congress in 3rd District.

Expanding vote-by-mail in Iowa and in other states would be a step closer to a more inclusive democracy.

This system not only would protect the lives of those who are voting amid the pandemic, it would particularly protect most vulnerable groups from being disenfranchised, including veterans.

Veterans know and trust the vote-by-mail system as many of us used it when we were stationed abroad, fighting for our nation.

As a veteran myself, I know firsthand how vital vote-by-mail is to our communities.

When veterans take our oath, we swear to uphold our Constitution and protect our democracy. Expanding vote-by mail is another way to protect our democracy. Veterans want to use vote-by-mail once we are home. Many of us are vulnerable to COVID (many are over 65, many have disabilities). Voting by mail is safe and secure — and should be made accessible to all Americans. While serving in Iraq, I was able to vote in Iowa elections from the other side of the world. It shouldn’t be that hard for Iowans to vote in this election.

No American should have to choose between our health and voting. Those of us who risked our lives for our nation should not come home to have to risk our lives for our freedom to vote, especially when an alternative of voting by mail is easily available.

It should not be harder to cast a ballot on U.S. soil than it is abroad. This is why Congress must provide states with immediate, robust emergency election funding. Securing federal funding for expanding vote-by-mail should not be a partisan issue. It’s a matter of patriotism.

In May, the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act, which calls for $3.6 billion in funding for polling stations and safety protections. In addition, it would require that all states make no-excuse absentee ballots available to all voters and it would expand online/same-day registration, as well as early in-person voting.

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Despite the urgent need to get funding to the states, no similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate. Our senators must ensure that Iowa is provided federal funding to make the voting process more robust. That’s why I’m calling on you to call Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst today and tell them to support the HEROES Act to ensure that all of our voices are heard: 1-(888) 415-4527.

Jim Mowrer is an Iraq War Veteran and former Democratic candidate for Congress.

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