How the Coronavirus Will Destroy the 2020 Presidential Election

COVID-19, Election 2020, Trump, & Voter Suppression

Doing Nothing Is Almost Worse

There is much about COVID-19 for which we only have partial information (i.e. the rate of infection, mortality, how long it lasts on certain surfaces, etc.). Still, something about which we are confident is that the highest risk of catching it is when you are close to someone who is infected. This risk is why “social distancing,” maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from other people, has become the most prolific tool in our arsenal to combat it.

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Source: Pittsburg Post Gazzette — Tamir Kalifa/The New York Times

Even If Well Funded, The Task Will Be Monumental

The most common solution electoral experts have listed for this crisis is to drastically increase the number of absentee or mail-in ballots. States such as Alaska and Wyoming have already switched their 2020 primaries over to mail only because its the surest way to continue their elections while minimizing in-person contact. This reduced exposure is one of the reasons Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has argued that we need to switch over to a vote by mail system as well.

  1. An up-to-date list of all their citizens
  2. Streamlined digital voter registration
  3. The ability to handle edge cases (i.e., people who cannot send ballots by mail)
  4. The capacity to count the influx of mail-in ballots
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Source: CNN — House passes $2 trillion stimulus bill
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Source: NHPR — a woman in mobile chair voting in 2016 NY Primary.
  1. Drop boxes that allow voters to deposit their ballots securely without having to go inside a specific precinct
  2. Opened precincts to follow strict sanitary guidelines
  3. Much more; The Brenan Center has created a comprehensive list of suggestions here.

Active Suppression And Meddling, Guaranteed!

When the coronavirus first hit, there was a fear that Donald Trump would cancel the election. The idea has also been floated that Republican governors will use the virus as a pretext to institute lockdowns in Democratic counties. Others have argued that Republican state legislatures could decide to appoint electors rather than have actual voters vote.

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Source: MotherJones — just outside a polling station in Arlington, Virginia in 2019.

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