I know that I’ve been talking about the coronavirus a lot, but my blog is largely impacted by current events, and the coronavirus gives me a lot to think and write about. You can click here to read my other posts about the coronavirus if you are interested in the politics and the social impacts of the virus. However, this post is going to focus and go in-depth on one of the topics I mentioned in those posts. Elections. Not just the elections but the recent changes, the state governments, and the voters themselves. If you have followed me on this blog for a while, you would know how passionate I am about voting and the election system (even though I can’t vote yet). It should be no surprise that I have more than a few thoughts on what’s happening to current elections amid the coronavirus and social distancing. As always, I will provide some articles and resources for more information at the end of the post and feel free to comment on your thoughts as well!
overview. The American election and voting system have been in the news, even more, the coronavirus. From controversy over the electoral system to a long history of voter suppression, it’s due for some reform. I like to think that it’s at the center of politics because it affects all the outcomes and voting has so much power. It’s part of the foundation of our country.
what does this have to do with the coronavirus? The coronavirus, along with all of its other devastating effects, has altered a lot of the elections. Another key thing is that it came during a major election year (that some people have been waiting 4 years for). The political atmosphere and the government have been even more volatile this past year, and this virus is testing them. The main points I’m going to cover are the recent changes to the election, the voter suppression occurring, other countries’ responses, and possible changes in the future.
current changes. In one of my last posts, I mentioned how the lack of central leadership in the country has led to state leaders making different discussions for their states. This includes major election decisions. A lot of states have postponed their elections while others continued to have them despite the danger that poses on voters. Here is a detailed article about the changes in the state elections. Some states including Hawaii and Alaska voted or are planning to vote by mail. Lastly, the DNC postponed to August and the RNC will remain scheduled for August.
voter suppression. This is a big issue and has been a big issue forever. Voter suppression is “a strategy used to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing specific groups of people from voting“. The main ways that those changes in the election have participated in voter suppression, is by continuing to have the election knowing that the coronavirus is going to keep people home. In the news, you may have seen that some polling centers have defied this tactic and actually showed up to vote while waiting in line. In the larger picture, however, there are even fewer people voting than before which we all know was another major problem itself.
voting by mail. You might be wondering why, if they can’t vote in person, why can’t they absentee vote or send their vote by mail. Voting by mail in some states means completely voting by mail and not having that option of in person. In states that went ahead and voted normally, there wasn’t as much flexibility as you would think. For example, The supreme court voted against extending the absentee voting deadline in Wisconsin, which would have allowed people a choice between voting in person or not voting at all. This opinion post has more helpful information.
voting by mail continued. Another thing to consider is that a lot of poorer communities rely on in-person voting because of the accessibility of mail voting and also the financial aspects of it.
South Korea. South Korea has been known these past few weeks, as a country that is responding to the coronavirus well. Not only is it successfully flattening the curve, but they’ve made enormous strides in their election this year. Their most recent election had the highest voter turnout (with 29 million people voting) in their history and it was during a major pandemic. The polling stations were prepared, with hand sanitizer, gloves, masks, etc. Unlike in Wisconsin, people didn’t have to choose between jeopardizing their health and practicing their democratic rights. I wanted to include this in the post not just because it’s a positive event occurring, but because I think it helps us view this country’s situation in comparison.
how will this affect the presidential election? Aside from the postponement of the primaries and the states that have already voted, the actual presidential election is the subject of many concerns. The first and major concern is that it’s going to be another Wisconsin situation where voter turnout is going to go down. In the last election, voter turnout wasn’t great, so imagine what it will be like when even more people have an actual reason not to vote with no other viable options. I’m going to keep this as non-partisan as I can, but another big worry is how political parties are going to take advantage of the confusion and manipulate the situation. Of course, a lot of this is dependent on what will happen with the coronavirus. However, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we need to be prepared for everything especially when it comes to something as significant as our elections.
future government reform. Throughout all of my coronavirus posts, a consistent theme that I’ve focused on is learning and moving forward from this virus. In terms of elections, maybe everyone’s eyes will be a little more open to the reality of voter suppression. Like the 2016 election, we saw a resurgence in the 2018 midterms that made a BIG DIFFERENCE in our government. I think a crucial thing that has to happen, that mimics other potential future government reform, is a better back up system. We cannot have other elections like Wisconsin when the next inevitable pandemic hits America.
A lot is going on right now. Our country and government are built off of our elections, which lead to more reform and progress in the nation. When the system is being this easily manipulated, it becomes even more clear that there are going to be some necessary changes in the future. You can click here to continue reading about the coronavirus and or you can check out the resources that I used and have provided below.
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