As Election Day approaches I want to reach out to our independent voters in New Mexico, also known as declined-to-state (DTS) voters.

I have been both a DTS voter and a Democrat. My take is that most DTS voters don’t want partisan posturing or rhetoric about turning the state blue or red.

They want the state to be successful. Period. So when you hear mostly Republicans talk about rigged elections if we rely on mail-in ballots, please get the facts.

Here they are:

• To be successful, democracy has to work. For democracy to work in a pandemic, people have to be able to vote remotely.

• Our cybersecurity protocols and app development are still not at the point where voting by phone app is secure enough. We must rely on a proven method of voting from home, and that means mail-in ballots.

• Vote At Home (VAH) systems are a safe and secure way to allow eligible voters to exercise their franchise. States that have implemented VAH represent the entire range of political orientations and discourse from Utah to Oregon.

The commonality is that the experience from the six states that mail out ballots to all eligible voters confirm it is safe, convenient and secure. And there is fresh research to prove it.

States that have adopted VAH always have in-person, same-day and early-voting options, so it does not force anyone to mail in a ballot. It does give them the option.

Research published in the last year shows clearly that with Vote At Home systems:

• Neither party benefits. Mailing a ballot to all voters does not favor one party over the other.

• Turnout increases, especially for low-turnout voters like youth, communities of color and working-class communities.

• Security is enhanced because of a paper trail; no electronics to be hacked.

• Public health is protected because voting is not centralized with fewer in-person voters.

• Fraud is reduced, extremely rare and, when attempted on a large scale, easily identified.

New Mexico is about mid-pack relative to other states in our readiness to mail ballots to all voters. We already have “no excuse” absentee ballot requests, an online absentee ballot request option and postage-paid return envelopes.

Let’s support legislative candidates this November who will support legislation to enact the following additional safeguards and best-practices before the 2022 election cycle:

• A fully vetted, accurate voter database.

• Digital signature biometric match for maximal security for mail-in and in-person voting.

• Online tracking of ballots, like a FedEx package, so voters and elections offices can see where the ballots are all the time.

• Dozens of secure drop-off boxes and location options to return mail-in ballots.

• When ready, mail ballots to all eligible voters.

Republicans used to be the leaders in driving absentee ballot voting because their voters tended to be older and wanted the ease of voting at home. It is pure politics to hear some in that party now say it is a corrupt means of voting.

The only rigging of elections that comes from this talk is voter suppression from this false narrative.

Bob Perls