The U.S. Department of Justice is committed to ensuring full compliance with all federal laws regarding elections. This includes provisions of federal law that apply to methods of casting a ballot. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many voters were concerned about voting at a polling place on Election Day in 2020. Large numbers of those voters took advantage of opportunities to vote by mail, or to cast an early in-person ballot, and many jurisdictions around the country modified their prior procedures to promote both the safety of their citizens and robust democratic participation. The 2020 election produced record turnout, with over 160 million citizens casting ballots, a result that was all the more impressive given the difficulties the pandemic posed to both voters and election administrators. Since the 2020 election, some States have responded by permanently adopting their COVID-19 modifications; by contrast, other States have barred continued use of those practices or have imposed additional restrictions on voting by mail or early voting. In view of these developments, guidance concerning federal statutes affecting methods of voting is appropriate.
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