There are a lot of moving parts at the moment, but election officials are scrambling to keep elections going amid the coronavirus. Here’s what happened this past week:
Congress included $400 million for elections in its emergency $2 trillion stimulus package last week. It’s a step in the right direction, but a drop in the bucket, say voting rights and election security groups. (read the Brennan Center’s cost estimate here)
At least 10 states and one territory have rescheduled their presidential primaries: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico. (find new election dates here)
Five states — Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, Ohio, and Wyoming — and DC have either expanded or are planning to expand mail-in voting to all voters in order to comply with social distancing as best as possible. If you or someone you know wants to vote by mail, you can find information about voting in your state here.
We want to know how the coronavirus has impacted efforts in your community to have fair and free elections. That’s why we want to introduce you to Ellen Caminiti, our newest team member, who will be following how officials balance public health and your right to vote. Contact our team at email@example.com to let us know how COVID-19 is affecting your community.
Coronavirus Wreaks Havoc on Fight for Fair Election Maps: This could have been the year to get politics out of redistricting. Instead, fair maps advocates are hoping they do not have to wait another 10 years to bolster fair elections. (read more)
Colorado Ends Prison Gerrymandering: This is one of the many things that flew under the radar last week. Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill that ends the practice of counting Colorado’s inmates where they’re serving jail time instead of their last residence prior to incarceration. (read more)
Voluntary Voting System Guidelines 2.0 Update: The Election Assistance Commission held a virtual meeting Friday to (finally) consider guidelines that explicitly ban voting equipment with internet and wireless connectivity.
If approved, voting machines and optical scanners would have to have a physical connection instead of Bluetooth for keyboards and other accessibility tools used to vote. (watch hearing)
Stuck Inside and Feeling Spooky? There’s a new documentary on HBO that dives into the cyber war on American democracy, and it’s a thriller. We’ve written a lot about the cybersecurity vulnerabilities in voting machines, and will continue to do so, but this documentary shows just how bad it can be when these vulnerabilities are exploited. (watch here)
WhoWhatWhy and readers’ picks of the week: