A growing number of Americans want the option of voting by mail this November, especially as scientists fear a second wave of COVID-19 cases may hit the US in the fall, but conservative groups appear to be doing everything they can to stop that from happening.
Nevada officials announced earlier this year that the state would conduct an all-mail election for its June 9 primary due to fears of the coronavirus. True the Vote, a right-wing group based in Texas, is now asking a federal court to block their plan. (read more)
What stands out about this complaint is that the group claimed there is “no established causal link between in-person voting and the contracting of [COVID-19].”
However, our readers know that this is not the case. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
Why Election Security Advocates Warn Against In-Person Voting: A number of studies have shown that the coronavirus can linger nearly 24 hours on cardboard and up to two or three days on plastic or stainless steel. A majority of election equipment is made from one or more of these materials.
A number of voting machine vendors have provided states with information on how to clean their equipment. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took the rare step of offering tips for cleaning election equipment surfaces. But, as seen during Wisconsin’s primary election, dozens of voters reportedly contracted the virus as a result of in-person voting. So, True the Vote’s claim is a hard pill to swallow. (read more)
More Problems in the Lone Star State: A number of states are expanding access to absentee voting, but not Texas. The State Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling and halted the expansion of absentee voting. (read more)
So Much Uncertainty, So Little Time: There are fewer than 200 days until the general election, and every day that passes means less time for the United States Postal Service to get the help it so desperately needs. The Trump administration has long had a rocky relationship with the postal service, and President Donald Trump is now reportedly threatening to veto any legislation that bails it out.
House Democrats passed a massive $3 trillion stimulus bill late Friday, with the full $4 billion in funding that election security advocates have been demanding, but with little faith that the Senate will approve the funds, voting-rights groups are vowing to protect the postal service and litigate when necessary to challenge restrictions on mail-in voting. (read more)
Covering the November Election — a Balancing Act: If a majority of voters are going to cast an absentee ballot this year, we cannot expect a final result right after the polls close on election night. Frankly, we might not know for a few days or even weeks.
If and when that happens, the news media is going to face a unique challenge that it has never been confronted with before. Newsrooms are going to have to drastically reconsider how they approach Election Day coverage, and start explaining to the public — right now — how and why this election will be so different.
Perhaps as best put by Matt Hall, incoming president of the Society of Professional Journalists, “elections are not drive-thru restaurants. We need to get it right, and sometimes that means waiting.” (read more)
Fate of Faithless Electors to Be Seen: A record seven Electoral College voters went against their states by casting their votes for candidates that had not won statewide popular votes. Now, the Supreme Court is considering whether states have the right to replace or punish an elector for not fulfilling their pledge to cast their Electoral College vote for whomever wins their state. (read more)
WhoWhatWhy and readers’ picks of the week:
Democrats Try Again With Sweeping Mail Voting Requirements (Seattle Times)
Sweeping Federal Lawsuit Seeks Election Changes in Wisconsin (Star Tribune)
Maine Cities and Towns Push Absentee Voting for July Election Reshaped by Virus (CBS 13)
Voter Suppression and the Impact of COVID-19 on People of Color (PBS)