Pre-pandemic, every voter was set to receive a mail-in ballot in four states (Colorado, Oregon, Utah, and Washington). Post-pandemic, four others have opted to do the same: California for the general election; Nevada, New Jersey, and Wyoming for primary contests in June. At least another eight states have statutes governing the expansion of mail-in voting during an emergency while at least an additional 10 have laws on the books allowing state officials to make general changes to election laws, including the expansion of mail-in voting.

It’s the dizzying mosaic of federalism, a political patchwork determining that most basic function of democracy: voting. And now it is also a battleground. Both parties’ national committees are marching to war and into court. The RNC has filed suit in Pennsylvania (litigation is ongoing) and California (the suit was later dropped after the Legislature passes a mail-in ballot mandate). The bywords here are “ballot integrity” and “confidence in institutions.”

“Americans will not have confidence in our elections if we adopt Democrat election schemes,” RNC spokeswoman Liz Harrington told RCP. “Republicans are fighting to ensure voters have faith in the voting process by stopping Democrat attempts to legalize ballot harvesting and count ballots that arrive weeks after Election Day, which would inundate our system with fraud.”

The DNC has launched its own rebuttals, the stated hallmarks of which are “fairness” and “safety.”