Vote-by-mail spurred controversy, fraud charges and maybe the Capitol riot. Now it may become federal law

Congressional Democrats plan to use their new-found majorities to permanently expand vote-by mail after an election that saw both record turnout and former President Donald Trump’s failed attempts to block New Jersey and other states from making it easier in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The bill would let anyone could vote by mail for any reason and receive postage-paid envelopes for requesting and returning ballots. States would have to set up secure drop boxes for completed ballots. Any ballots postmarked by Election Day but received up to 10 days later would count, and voters whose ballots are rejected would have to be notified and given time to fix problems such as mismatched signatures.

The bill also would create automatic voter registration and allow people to register on the same day they vote, require all states to provide 15 days for early voting, allow voters to sign affidavits in lieu of presenting photo IDs, and eliminate requirements that ballots be notarized or witnessed.


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