The Coronavirus Could Change How We Vote, In 2020 And Beyond

Elections in 2020 are likely to be different thanks to the new corona virus. In fact, COVID-19 has already left its mark in the democratic nomination race with many states Postponement of their area codes.

So it is likely that in the coming months, states will begin to allow more voters to send their ballots in, or at least cast votes early to spread the word. It is quite possible that election day 2020 is more like the election month (or maybe months, depending on how long it takes to count the ballots).

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This means that states and election administrators will have to make many decisions about how to run elections by November. How they deal with this can affect who votes and whose votes are counted, how campaigns run and possibly even the uncertainty in the polls. In short, the mechanisms of the voting process this year could prove to be as important as what the candidates have said.

However, we are not starting from scratch. In 2016 about two out of five Voters cast their ballots early or by post, which is a record proportion of ballots that were not handed in personally on election day.

Political scientist Paul Gronke described this transformation as “silent revolutionAs in the past few decades, voting in America has evolved from a unique one-day mega-social experience to a multi-week and increasingly individualized affair. And 2020 could be a sharp turning point at which a one-day personal vote like landlines and cassettes becomes a relic of the past.

A brief history of the revolution until now: Until the late 1970s, almost all of the votes were held on election day, with the exception of military personnel who were allowed to cast postal votes. But in 1978 California was the first state in which a voter for some reason requested postal voting. And many other states followed suit.

Flash forward to today, and five states have switched to full voting via email. Oregon was the first in 2000 after a nationwide referendum in 1998. Washington (2011) and Colorado (2013) recently joined, followed by Utah and Hawaii. Other states, particularly in the south, have expanded their early personal voting, with Texas starting the trend in 1987. However, there are still a number of states that will have to catch up if the November elections are heavily dependent on remote voting. A total of 10 states any kind of early voting is missing Option and 17 states do not have an apologetic absentee ballot, which means that they have limited experience with postal ballot papers.

However, the potential impact on 2020 is difficult to predict from past elections. All in all, there seems to be an early vote increased turnout a little, at least in some places – but only from a few percentage pointsand without a clear benefit for both parties. But Results varyboth by the group of voters you are looking at and the type of election. Turnout for example most increased for older people who tend to vote with the highest odds. And voter turnout has generally increased the most in lower profile elections, such as Area codes and competitions outside the year. However, the impact on the general election is less, perhaps because more people tend to vote in them.

On the one hand, the transition to an extended 2020 voting period may not be as confusing as most voters usually do. That is, most people who vote in an election almost vote everyone Choice. And most of the people who choose no choice choose almost no choice.

Let’s start with the voters who never vote. Many of them are excluded from politics. Or they think that their voice doesn’t matter. Or they never voted. In other words, convenience is not necessarily the problem. So don’t expect them to start voting, even if states expand their offer for early voting.

On the other hand, the People who always vote are on average better educated, older, richer and more partisan. This means that they are more likely to have predictable leisure time and are more likely to have decided before election day. Therefore, they were usually the most likely to benefit from the added convenience of early voting. Sending a ballot is convenient if you know who you want to vote for and can easily keep track of the deadline for submitting the ballot. Conversely, studies have shown that lower-income voters and younger voters find it harder to vote by post and email rather vote on election day. Your ballot papers were also rejected at higher rates.

This does not mean that this gap is inevitable when it comes to early voting, especially when efforts to early vote have been expanded in response to a health crisis such as the coronavirus. But closing the gap we see in early voting is likely to depend on it whether states put in the extra effort to make sure that all votes are counted. This means ensuring that voter registration lists have current addresses, that ballot papers are processed in a timely manner so voters can correct mistakes before it is too late, and that citizens can easily track the progress of their ballots.

And this is where guerrilla policy intervenes: the legislative proposal currently on the table for coronavirus stimuli appears to contain $ 400 million for election supportThis may not be enough to facilitate the full transition to postal voting for states. (Democrats first asked $ 4 billion expand access to voting; the Brennan Center It is estimated that the implementation of voting reforms would cost approximately $ 2 billion.) So states and local jurisdictions not only need to find additional funds, they also need to set their own rules, which a Number of decisions to be made. For example, how much of a second chance do electoral administrators give voters who mess up their ballot papers? How much do they do to make sure everyone is on the electoral roll, even if they recently moved? Or how do election administrators monitor potential fraud?

How states act could also have enormous consequences for whom and how quickly votes are counted.

Voter turnout will certainly depend on how countries launch new programs and how much they invest to ensure that every vote is counted. But it will also depend on political campaigns that are the main educators of voters. Rather than focusing on massive last-minute efforts to cast votes, campaigns can spread their efforts over a longer period of time, and the campaigns that best track who has voted and who needs to vote have a significant one Advantage.

Campaigns may mobilize more than conviction because mobilization is easier to track. This could have a significant impact on the type of campaigns that candidates run (even more partisan and micro-oriented). And if states fail to adequately educate voters (expect quality to vary), more responsibility will fall on campaigns to fill the gaps, which could further widen the gap in our non-partisan policies.

It is also the question of when We’ll know who won. With a tight choice, it can take weeks for an accurate final count to be made. Think about how long California – a state with postal ballot experience – takes to count ballots from its primary. Given the widespread expectations of a high turnout and highly competitive elections at a time when our electoral system is already facing an election broad threat of legitimacy (Don’t forget the possibility of interference from abroad!) The error area is small.

The experience of voters in 2020 could have long-term effects. Most voters, especially the most dedicated and active, are likely to like the convenience of postal ballot papers or early voting. And once states set up these systems, officials will likely be under pressure to keep them in place – even if they start as temporary or provisional.

On the other hand, it is possible that the rollout could be a catastrophe, similar to Iowa’s gatherings this year, and the states are quickly moving away from the mail-in poll. We do not know it.

But the former possibility – that citizens like and want to keep the experience the most – seems likely. If so, a long and steady revolution in the early vote would get a sudden, huge boost.

By 2020, when the high turnout predicted before all coronavirus protections are in place, many citizens’ first experience of voting could be by mail rather than face to face. If they become ordinary voters, they may become lifelong users of mail-in ballots. And if previous trends in mail-in voting continue, it could mean that in traditionally lower-turnout elections, like primaries, we tend to see a higher turnout that tends to get the most boost from more convenient voting methods.

At the moment, however, the simplest benefit may be that a potentially massive and difficult-to-manage change in the way people vote makes our ability to predict the outcome of the 2020 election uncertain.

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