This election is the most important in my lifetime -- but this national crisis will make it difficult for many to participate in it.

That’s why voting rights experts agree -- Americans must be able to cast a ballot by mail to ensure that they can safely and securely vote this year. Trump and his cronies are wrong -- mail-in voting is not a means to rig the vote. In fact, Trump himself has voted by mail numerous times.

Funding has already been approved by the House, so it’s far past time for the Senate to step up and make sure that voting is safe, fair, and accessible for everyone.

While no voting system is perfect, we already know voting by mail works. Multiple states already conduct their elections almost entirely by mail, with incredibly high turn-out rates. According to The New York Times, in the 2018 midterms, states that allowed voting by mail had, on average, a 15.5 percent higher turnout than states that did not.

Increasing voter participation is a universal good that benefits everyone -- and our elected leaders should want everyone that’s eligible to vote.

In this election, perhaps more than any other before it, voters deserve the chance to elect leaders who will protect their health and their safety, governing with their interests in mind.

I’m grateful that my representatives allocated some funds to expand vote-by-mail and other election assistance measures like early voting, but I am counting on Congress to recognize the greater need to protect our democracy and the health of their constituents. States need an additional $3.6 billion in federal funding right now.

We have to protect our elections before it’s too late.

Susan Brown

Brainerd