Election Emergency Redlines
8 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2020
Date Written: March 31, 2020
Election officials must prepare for the November 2020 presidential election amidst the threat posed by COVID-19. Many experts, task forces, advocacy groups, and scholars are recommending affirmative steps they should take to respond to the threat. Whether developing contingency plans, modifying the rules governing the electoral process under election emergency statutes or more general state-of-emergency laws, or crafting new election emergency legislation, government officials must also be aware of the redlines they should not cross. Officials' ultimate goals must be ensuring that every eligible voter has sufficient opportunity to cast a ballot without jeopardizing their health, safeguarding the integrity of the electoral process, and preserving public faith in its fairness and accuracy. This short essay seeks to complement existing work by identifying policies that officials should avoid authorizing, adopting, or incorporating into contingency plans as part of their response to the COVID crisis.
Keywords: vote, voting, election, coronavirus, COVID-19, absentee ballot, absentee voting, vote-by-mail, vote-at-home, voter registration, internet voting, ballot harvesting, signature match, postponements, electoral college, presidential election
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