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The pandemic changed how we vote. These states are making the changes permanent.

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WASHINGTON — The Covid-19 pandemic is receding in America. But some of the changes it prompted in American elections are here to stay.

A handful of states are locking in voting-rights expansions that they piloted in 2020, extending early voting and absentee balloting programs even as other states add restrictions to voting.

Two states that switched during the pandemic to universal mail voting — mailing ballots to all active registered voters in each election — will now continue that practice permanently, for at least general elections: Nevada and Vermont. Several other states are moving to allow no-excuse mail voting permanently, after allowing it temporarily while Covid-19 raged in 2020.

And while many of the state-level expansions of voting programs are happening in blue states, some red states have made changes as well. Kentucky, where Republicans have legislative supermajorities and former President Donald Trump won the presidential contest by 25 points in 2020, codified in-person early voting for the first time this year.

The move came after voters embraced an emergency version of the program during the pandemic — and it bucks a trend that has seen some red states throw up more voting restrictions in 2021, in the wake of Trump’s defeat.

“We’re the only Republican state, the only conservative state, the only red state — however you want to put it — certainly the only state with a Republican Legislature that has made voting easier this year,” said Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams, a Republican. “I’m really proud of that.”

Altogether, the changes mean that millions more Americans will receive mail ballots in future elections, and the number could balloon even more if backers in California successfully switch the state to a universal mail voting system. In total, seven states will now have largely mail-based election systems with the two newest additions joining Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

"The reason we did........

© Politico

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