If pen and paper are recommended contingency plans, why not make them first choice in voting?

return ballot by mail

After a cyberattack forced a local Alaska government to disconnect its computer systems from the Internet this summer, employees were ready with a Plan B. They picked up pens and paper — and even resorted to typewriters — so that the government could continue its daily work, from collecting property taxes to checking out books at public libraries.

In a Cybersecurity 202 column, the Washington Post references security professionals who recommend that government officials “should just assume they will be hacked.”

Although the focus of this column is cybersecurity planning, similar to crisis communication planning, let’s extend the premise (assume you’ll be hacked) to voting.

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This week’s absentee voter deadlines

Vote on paper - King County Elections image

Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia allow anyone who is registered to vote to use an absentee ballot. Twenty require an excuse. Three vote 100% by mail.

This week’s states with vote-by-mail (absentee) deadlines are mostly on Friday October 26. Alaska’s deadline is Saturday, October 27.

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The 13 states that make it challenging to vote

13 states challenging to vote

Thirteen states require an excuse in order to vote absentee and have no early voting: election day is it.

Can’t get off work? Can’t afford to not go to work? Tough luck.

Have no one to babysit the kids after work? Tough luck.

Need to go out of town at the last minute? May be tough luck for that, too. One state deadline (Rhode Island) for requesting an absentee ballot is four weeks before the election.

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