COVID-19 Affects Elections
Many states have elected to postpone their primaries as public fears of COVID-19 grow by the day. With just under 240,000 cases as of April 3rd (CDC), 16 states have pushed back their primaries to later dates, while some have canceled in-person voting altogether. Alaska’s Democratic primary, originally scheduled for April 4th, was cancelled in favor of a vote-by-mail process that ends April 10th. Other states have taken similar measures, such as Ohio extending the mail-in voting deadline to April 28th. Other states and their respective deadlines are as follows: Hawaii (May 22), Rhode Island (June 2), and Wyoming (April 17). A comprehensive list of all delayed primaries can be found at the New York Times 2020 Presidential Primary Election Calendar. Notably, Wisconsin is one of the few states to leave the date of their primaries unchanged. As of the writing of this piece, it is still scheduled for April 7th. Although this will undoubtedly impact turnout, Republican lawmakers insist the date remain unchanged despite calls from Governor Tony Evers to postpone. According to Pew Research Center, 63% of registered voters would “feel uncomfortable going to a polling place to vote”. Although it can be hard to remain focused on politics in times of crisis, it is especially important we young Americans remain involved in the democratic process. It is specifically in times like these that we are called upon to protect the integrity of our elections and ensure that those leading us are smart and competent, but that can only happen if we remain diligent.