NBC News Launches Tool to Help Plan Voting — in Person or by Mail

The interactive service comes amid a USPS funding crisis that has many concerned vote-by-mail won’t be a viable option during the pandemic

NBC News has launched Plan Your Vote, a new interactive feature to help voters figure out where and how to cast their ballots. Monday’s launch was timely as it came amid a national funding crisis for the United States Postal Service that leaves questions about the prospect of voting by mail.

The premise of the NBC News Graphics Team’s new project is that how a person votes is as important as the candidates they choose to vote for amid a national pandemic when guidelines suggest not congregating in groups like, say, a line outside a polling place.

The interactive guide goes state by state to provide localized information to voters, using color-coded maps to answer questions like, “Can I vote by mail without an excuse?” and, “After I vote by mail, can I track my ballot?”

The data for the charts comes from the NBC News Decision Desk and politics team and, according to a release, includes “the most up-to-date, real-time information on laws as they get passed around the country and as decisions are made in pertinent court cases.”

The USPS funding crisis has been a hot topic on MSNBC, particularly, where Joe Scarborough has devoted a number of “Morning Joe” segments to railing against President Donald Trump and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for what he says is an assault not only on voting rights, but on the elderly, on rural citizens and on servicemembers who rely on the USPS for medicine, packages, business and correspondence.