Planes, Strains, and Hurricanes: Elections in the Wake of Catastrophes
The Amherst Dialectic, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 10-43, Winter 2020
34 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2021
Date Written: November 1, 2020
Catastrophes often impact voting. From the coronavirus pandemic to Hurricane Katrina to 9/11, states and territories have dealt with catastrophes by canceling, replacing, postponing, and modifying elections. However, states rarely adopt preventative measures in their election statutes. By examining case studies from three different 21st century elections affected by catastrophe, I present a full account of the types of mitigatory measures that states take in response to different types of disasters. After highlighting the need for prevention and identifying how disasters act on elections, I argue that states and territories should implement universal vote-by-mail, hold elections over an entire week, and eliminate voter registration to make their elections more resilient to catastrophe.
Keywords: election, law, catastrophe, Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, coronavirus, voting
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