No turning back in the state that pioneered voting by mail

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Running an election by mail is a major undertaking, involving the U.S. Postal Service, armies of volunteers and even librarians.

But for election officials and voters in Oregon — which pioneered all vote-by-mail in the nation 20 years ago — there’s no turning back to the old way of having people cast ballots at neighborhood polling places.

They cite its convenience and security. Democrats and Republicans alike dismiss President Donald Trump’s attacks on vote-by-mail as a vehicle for fraud.

“He’s afraid to count the votes of the people,” said Bill Bradbury, a Democrat who was secretary of state during Oregon’s first all vote-by-mail election.

Since Oregon took the plunge, Colorado, Hawaii, Utah and Washington state have followed. Other states are edging toward it, at least this year, amid concerns that forcing voters to polling places will reduce turnout and expose them to the coronavirus.

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