National: Some states encourage mail-in ballots as coronavirus worries grow | Alice Miranda Ollstein/Politico

Officials in some states with upcoming primaries are encouraging more people to avoid in-person polling sites amid heightened worries about the spread of coronavirus in the United States. Some are even increasing the opportunity for drive-by voting on Super Tuesday. California’s Solano County, the site of the country’s first identified case of the virus’ spread within the community, added new curbside sites where people can drop off their ballots without having to leave their cars. “If you can stay in your car to get service, lots of people want to take advantage of that even in a normal situation, but especially when they might be concerned about congregating in close proximity to a lot of other people,” said county election official John Gardner. Meanwhile, some election experts are urging states to relax their absentee voter policies in light of the new public health threat, though some state officials dismissed the idea of hastily rewriting election policies.

Pennsylvania: Thousands expected to choose new mail-in ballots, which could cause long delays in Pennsylvania election returns | Tom Shortell/The Morning Call

Amy Cozze was skeptical when the state estimated that as many as 41,500 Northampton County residents could cast their vote in the presidential election through the new mail-in ballot option. As the county’s newly appointed chief registrar, Cozze knew county voters cast about 1,500 absentee ballots in 2019 and reasoned that mail-in ballots might triple in a heated 2020 presidential election. Then the county received about 1,000 mail-in ballot requests just days after the application period started this month, prompting Cozze to up her projections “a little bit.” Across Pennsylvania, election officials are bracing for a flood of mail-in ballots. State officials believe the percentage of voters going to the polls won’t change much, but as a precaution, they are advising counties to prepare for as much as 20% of registered voters mailing in their ballots. “In an abundance of caution and based on other states’ experience, especially considering the immediate popularity of Pennsylvania’s convenient online ballot request form, we have recommended that counties base their planning for mail-in ballots on what we consider to be a high estimate,” said Wanda Murren, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of State.

National: ‘Election Night’ Is an Outdated and Dangerous Relic of the Past | New York Magazine

Traditionally, for people involved in electoral politics, Election Day is Judgment Day, when all those strenuous efforts to win (or in the case of media and academic folk, to report on or analyze) public office come to an end as the last poll closes. Election Night, accordingly, is in all but a few rare cases the time when the judgment of the people is discerned. Political people are wired from an early age to think of Election Day and Election Night as the key moments of drama in their often tedious profession. But the old dramatic cycle is making less sense every day. With the advent of early voting, Election Day often stretches over weeks. And with slow counts caused by mail and provisional ballots becoming more prevalent, Election Night isn’t always what it used to be, either.

National: Alleged North Carolina Election Fraud Could Cause A Backlash For Voting By Mail | NPR

When it comes to election fraud, the “voting twice by dressing up with a different hat” tactic that President Trump talks about almost never happens. What actually does happen, as allegedly illustrated in the race for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, is vote-by-mail fraud. “The consensus, among people who study fraud carefully, is that voting by mail is a much more fertile area for fraud than voting in person,” said Charles Stewart, who studies election technology and administration at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Still, voting by mail is on the rise. The numbers aren’t finalized for 2018 yet, but in the 2016 presidential election, the percentage of people who voted by mail had more than doubled compared to two decades prior.

Editorials: Tossed ballots show need to update Ohio law | The Columbus Dispatch

There was disturbing news from the Summit County Board of Elections last week. The absentee ballots of 861 voters who mailed their selections to the board were disqualified, even though they had done nothing wrong. What their ballots lacked was a postmark, or at least the kind required by Ohio law. The disqualified ballots from the Nov. 3 election represent 9 percent of the mailed-in absentee ballots in the county. No one familiar with Ohio’s role in presidential elections could ignore easily the thought that such a disqualification rate next year — multiplied across this battleground state — could throw the national results into controversy and lawsuits.