Vote-by-Mail Pushed by Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson; Gallup Says Dems Overwhelmingly Favor It

By Susan Jones | May 12, 2020 | 9:06am EDT
Seattle's King County votes by mail only. (Photo via Getty Images)
Seattle's King County votes by mail only. (Photo via Getty Images)

( - "We need your help to make sure all our voices are heard in November," actors Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson wrote on Monday to liberal activists at

"Along with our friend Michelle Obama, we're co-chairs of When We All Vote, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the race and age voting gap."

Hanks and Wilson, both now recovered from a bout of COVID-19, say they want to make sure the pandemic "doesn't stop anyone from voting in the upcoming elections."

As co-chairs of "When We All Vote," they want Americans to "tell your elected officials to expand access to vote-by-mail, early voting, and online voter registration."

Meanwhile, a new Gallup poll found that while most Americans (64%) favor their state allowing all voters to vote by mail or absentee by ballot, differences arise among key demographic subgroups.

"Eighty-three percent of Democrats say they favor such a measure, but fewer than half as many Republicans, 40%, express the same sentiment. Sixty-eight percent of independents support state measures that would allow mail or absentee ballots, similar to the level among all Americans," Gallup noted.

Hanks and Wilson are specifically promoting the Democrats' "Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act of 2020," sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota) and Ron Wyden (Oregon).

As the bill's supporters note, it would:

--  Expand Access to Vote-by-Mail: States must offer multiple options for requesting, receiving, and returning mail-in ballots while maintaining the security of our voting system; multiple ways to request mail-in ballots, including online, in person, by phone, and by mail; and safe and secure options for returning ballots by expanding deadlines for mail-in ballots to be requested and returned.

-- Expand Early In-person Voting: While all Americans should have the choice to vote by mail, it is crucial that we recognize that many people will prefer to vote in person. We must make in-person voting as safe and available as possible. Expanded early voting will allow voters to cast their ballot a few days or sometimes weeks before Election Day.

-- Expand Online Voter Registration: We should not make voter registration complicated if we really want everyone to participate. Online voter registration is a safe, accessible, and secure way that voters all across this country can sign up to participate in our democracy. It allows eligible voters to quickly and easily register to vote online from the comfort of their own home.

Additional information about the Klobuchar-Wyden bill can be found here.

"Mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country, because they're cheaters" President Trump told a news conference in March. "They're fraudulent in many cases."

On April 11, Trump tweeted: "Mail in ballots substantially increases the risk of crime and VOTER FRAUD!"

On Friday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, announced that he had signed an executive order “that will allow every registered voter in California to receive a mail-in ballot.”

Newsom said there will still be an "appropriate number of physical sites for people to vote as well."

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