•   
  •   
  •   

Politics Why the pandemic election will be unlike any other

13:31  19 october  2020
13:31  19 october  2020 Source:   abcnews.go.com

India: Hundreds of thousands of tea pickers in Assam on indefinite strike

 India: Hundreds of thousands of tea pickers in Assam on indefinite strike © Biju BORO / AFP Tea pickers joined farmers in protesting the liberalization of the sale of fruits and vegetables. The strike began this Friday, October 9 to demand wage increases. These workers joined the farmers, who have been protesting for two weeks now against the new selling prices for fruit and vegetables. With our correspondent in Bangalore, Côme Bastin The State of Assam produces nearly 50% of India's tea, and it is found on many tables around the world.

Why are Louisiana and Georgia moving their primary elections ? Louisiana’s secretary of state, R. Kyle Ardoin, a Republican Have other states changed their primaries in response to the coronavirus? Many rules have changed during the pandemic , making it harder to figure out how to cast your ballot.

But others have approached things with a more creative touch. In the small town of Montgomery, Ohio, there's set to be a "reverse parade" where motorists will The century-old competition will be shown on TV where it's previously attracted almost two million viewers. Some traditions are sacred, after all.

This year's general election is shaping up to be one for the history books. Between anticipated mail-in ballot records, early voting surges and a slew of novel coronavirus-related safety precautions, the global pandemic has shaped almost every facet of voting.

a group of people that are standing in the grass: People stand on line, spaced six apart due to COVID-19, in order to vote early at the Fairfax Government Center on September 18, 2020, in Fairfax, Va. © Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images People stand on line, spaced six apart due to COVID-19, in order to vote early at the Fairfax Government Center on September 18, 2020, in Fairfax, Va.

State and local election officials have been gearing up for this most unusual election cycle for months. With early voting already underway in all 50 states, here's what voters can expect leading up to Nov. 3, and beyond.

The 19th Explains: Everything you need to know about voting and Election Day 2020

  The 19th Explains: Everything you need to know about voting and Election Day 2020 Experts and state officials say to prepare for the reality that the country may not know who won the presidency on Election Day — or for several days (or weeks) after.Long lines due to expected record voter turnout amid a global pandemic. Ongoing concerns about online misinformation. Hundreds of lawsuits over voting. Poll workers facing changing election rules. An incumbent president who won’t guarantee a peaceful transfer of power.

The kind of financial crisis that will arise out of this pandemic , the measures that our government has taken so far, the lasting effects that this will have on our economy and And though the toll it has already taken is considerable, its impact on our lives will likely remain even after the pandemic is over.

As election day approaches, polling companies will be trying to gauge the mood of the nation by asking voters which candidate they prefer. These are the places where the election will be won and lost and are known as battleground states. In the electoral college system the US uses to elect its

MORE: Here's how states have changed the rules around voting amid the coronavirus pandemic MORE: Here’s what to know about mail-in voting for November MORE: Election 2020: How to fill out your mail ballot correctly and avoid having it rejected

Mail-in voting surge

a group of people standing in a parking lot: Workers drop voters ballots into a secure box at a ballot drop off location on Oct. 13, 2020, in Austin, Texas. © Sergio Flores/Getty Images Workers drop voters ballots into a secure box at a ballot drop off location on Oct. 13, 2020, in Austin, Texas.

Often a service used by those living overseas, such as the military, but increasing in popularity, mail-in voting has taken on new significance in the pandemic, with more than 80 million requested so far in this general election cycle, double the previous presidential election and more than half the total vote cast in 2016.

As of Oct. 14, more than 1.5 million vote-by-mail ballots have been returned in California -- far surpassing the 150,000 at the same point in the season in 2016 -- according to the Secretary of State's office. That's in a state that already had a significant percentage of voters who chose to cast ballots by mail. This year, the state also decided to mail ballots to all active voters for the first time -- one of the major ways voting by mail has been made more accessible for this year's election.

Fact check: No proof of alleged voter fraud scheme or connection to Rep. Ilhan Omar

  Fact check: No proof of alleged voter fraud scheme or connection to Rep. Ilhan Omar A video from Project Veritas relies on unnamed sources, covert footage and uncorroborated translations from Somali. We rate its claims as false.The 17-minute video relies on unnamed sources, covert footage and uncorroborated translations from Somali to English to allege that canvassers for Omar and for City Council candidate Jamal Osman paid for votes in a recent election.

But most Americans say they’ve lost faith in our electoral process - whether that’s due to concerns over foreign interference, voter suppression, absentee ballots or other issues. Matthew Weil is the Director of the Elections Project of the Bipartisan Policy Center and he tells Soledad O’Brien, calling this year’s

The coronavirus pandemic has upended normal life around the world. Will its impact last after the outbreak has come and gone? “Fragile states will be pushed into chaos and anarchy, and there is a realistic chance that some regimes will not survive COVID-19 as mass dissidence towards the end of

Voting by mail is "going to be the real story of this cycle," Matthew Weil, director of the Elections Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, told ABC News. "The jump from 2016 to 2020 is going to be huge," he said.

In the 2016 general election, 33,378,450 absentee ballots were returned, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission -- representing 23.7% of all ballots cast.

Based on evidence from primary elections since COVID-19 lockdowns began, the Bipartisan Policy Center estimated that 50% to 70% of all ballots cast will be absentee this year. Weil now estimates that number to be on the lower end of that range, noting that "even 50% will be a huge increase over 2016."

MORE: Here's how states have changed the rules around voting amid the coronavirus pandemic

For the general election, at least 30 states plus the District of Columbia have made at least some changes that will make it easier and more accessible for voters to cast their ballots from home. These changes include removing strict excuse requirements or allowing COVID-19 concerns to be a valid excuse to vote absentee, allowing ballot drop boxes, offering prepaid postage on election mail and proactively sending all active registered voters applications to request an absentee ballot -- with some, such as California, skipping that step and sending the actual ballots.

'A lot of chaos': Trump's rhetoric, a global pandemic and a tsunami of lawsuits complicate 2020 election

  'A lot of chaos': Trump's rhetoric, a global pandemic and a tsunami of lawsuits complicate 2020 election Voters should accept that election results may not be known on Election Night and that does not indicate fraud, experts say.Both candidates declared victory, and the dispute dragged on for months. Threats of a civil war loomed. Voter fraud and intimidation ran rampant. Congress was forced to create an electoral commission that would decide the presidency. Voting along party lines, it declared Hayes the winner by just one electoral vote.

The changes in progress — some predictable, others still hard to fathom — started brewing as soon as case counts began to escalate. Mettler cautions that even in the wake of a pandemic , it will be difficult to dislodge the extreme polarization and mistrust that has divided Americans for years.

Why this sudden panic reaction to communism? Is it fear that the pandemic , global warming and other social crises may provide an opportunity for China to assert itself as the only remaining superpower? No, China is not today’s Soviet Union; the best way to prevent communism is to follow China.

Unlike in elections past, there's also a partisan preference for mail-in ballots, Weil noted. Nearly 10 million more registered Democrats have requested absentee ballots compared to registered Republicans, according to the U.S. Elections Project out of the University of Florida.

Adding to the complexities this year are President Donald Trump's repeated attempts to sow doubt on mail-in voting through false and conspiratorial claims about voter fraud. Legal experts told ABC News there hasn't been evidence of widespread or systematic voter fraud with mail voting.

Voters should be wary of making mistakes with their mail-in ballots. In the 2016 general election, around 1% -- 318,728 -- of absentee ballots were rejected, according to the Election Assistance Commission. The most common reasons for rejection were "missing the deadline, the signature on the ballot not matching the signature on the state’s records, and the ballot not having a signature," the commission said.

That rejection rate remained small overall in 2018, but growing, at 1.4%, according to an ABC News analysis.

Special Report: Why the Pennsylvania vote count might throw U.S. into political crisis

  Special Report: Why the Pennsylvania vote count might throw U.S. into political crisis Special Report: Why the Pennsylvania vote count might throw U.S. into political crisisPHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Here in the birthplace of American democracy, election officials are scrambling to prepare for a presidential vote they fear could plunge the nation into a historic political crisis.

Our Post- Pandemic Future Is Already Taking Shape. Things won’t be the same. Any lingering reluctance to eat in restaurants or fly in planes will be bad news for these cash cows for banks. College students suddenly unable to stroll about the campus, as in this Vampire Weekend song, will start

President Trump has delivered the closing speech of the Republican convention and said the forthcoming election would be "the most important" Here, President Trump claimed the US economy was recovering "much faster" than other western nations from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic .

"With a lot of voters voting in a different way than they ever had before," Weil said, "are we going to see a higher number of these absentee ballots rejected?"

Find out how to fill out your mail-in ballot correctly and avoid getting it rejected here.

a person standing in front of a box: Boxes for Vote-by-Mail ballots that have been rejected or accepted due to signature discrepancies are set up at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department in Doral, Fla., Oct. 15, 2020. © Joe Raedle/Getty Images Boxes for Vote-by-Mail ballots that have been rejected or accepted due to signature discrepancies are set up at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department in Doral, Fla., Oct. 15, 2020.

Long lines vs. long waits


Video: How to fill out an absentee ballot request form (KTHV-TV Little Rock)

With early voting already underway in every state, some counties have seen record-breaking numbers of in-person voters.

Amid the historic turnout, long lines have been reported at some polling locations -- though experts are quick to point out that long lines might not necessarily mean long wait times, and voters should not be deterred from voting as a result.

"Long lines are not necessarily a bad thing," Hannah Klain, a fellow with the nonpartisan law and policy institute Brennan Center for Justice, told ABC News. "It hopefully does mean that the polling site is enforcing social distancing, that people are keeping their distance when they are waiting in line to vote, that only so many people are being allowed into the voting space at a time in order to manage the crowds."

How battleground states process mail ballots -- and why it may mean delayed results

  How battleground states process mail ballots -- and why it may mean delayed results More Americans are voting by mail this election than usual, due to the pandemic. But processing those ballots takes more time. Here's how it works in battleground states. Because of the pandemic, more voters are opting to cast their ballots by mail this year. While the expanded access and increased use of mail-in voting is good for voters, it does create hardships for already strained election officials in many states, including key battlegrounds.

A snaking line could seem daunting, but "don't let a long line deter you," she said. Voters should be prepared to see them, Weil added.

a group of people in a park: People stand on line, spaced six apart due to COVID-19, in order to vote early at the Fairfax Government Center on September 18, 2020, in Fairfax, Va. © Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images People stand on line, spaced six apart due to COVID-19, in order to vote early at the Fairfax Government Center on September 18, 2020, in Fairfax, Va.

That doesn't mean that long wait times aren't a concern, Klain said, and election officials may need to sort those out throughout the early voting process. Because of the coronavirus, there may be limits on the number of voting machines at polling sites to avoid too many people being inside at one time. When early voting got underway in Georgia last week, some wait times reached five hours. Counties that had long lines were working to add more voting equipment where possible, officials said last week.

MORE: Early in-person voting seen as strong option for concerned voters

Some counties in states including Texas, North Carolina and Nevada are implementing online wait-time technology so you can see the anticipated wait at your polling site.

"It is a more forward-looking use of technology in our election sphere," Klain said. "That's exciting to see, and helpful, especially in a year where, again, we're seeing high levels of turnout."

Both Klain and Weil recommend that voters who intend to vote in person should vote early if they can.

"If people show up and the wait time is so long that they can't wait, you can always come back on another day of early voting," Klain said. "Election Day is a totally different story. You only get one bite of that apple."

2020 Election: See Insider's comprehensive guide to the presidential and top congressional races

  2020 Election: See Insider's comprehensive guide to the presidential and top congressional races In addition to the presidential election, there are hundreds of pivotal congressional races that will shape the balance of power in Washington.The race for the presidency between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is zeroing in on a number of battleground states key in both candidates' quests to win. They'll be battling for the popular vote, but the real election decider is the electoral college.

If weather is a concern, you also can avoid waiting outside on a potentially cold or rainy Nov. 3 by voting earlier, Weil said.

"We should try to take as much pressure off of Election Day at the polling places as possible," he said. "If individually we can all make that decision, I think the entire election season will go better."

New safety precautions

Socially distanced lines aren't the only safety measures in play this election cycle. Plexiglass petitions between voters and poll workers, hand sanitizing stations and curbside voting options are just some of the new sights voters may encounter while voting during a pandemic.

MORE: How to stay safe when hitting the polls this election season

The Bipartisan Policy Center partnered with the Cleveland Clinic to provide voting safety guidance this year. Their recommendations include "bringing your own supplies, such as hand sanitizer, an ink pen for paper ballots, or a stylus for touchscreen machines." Just make sure to verify with an election official before using your own supplies, they note.

Precautions may vary by state and even county. The Brennan Center has been working closely with Harris County in Texas, where new measures this election cycle include disposable plastic finger covers to wear while touching voting machines.

"We're seeing innovations like that across the country," Klain said. "I do think county election officials are doing their best to keep people safe."

Among recommendations it issued with Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Brennan Center also advises that voters avoid bringing any unnecessary people, such as children or other non-voting eligible family members, to the voting location.

"We want to limit the number of people who are at the polls to just those who need to cast a ballot," Klain said.

Make a plan -- and stick to it

If you're unsure about the current voting rules in your area, Weil recommends heading to canivote.org, run by the National Association of Secretaries of State, for the latest information.

7 days from Election Day -- Here's what we know about who's voted so far in key states

  7 days from Election Day -- Here's what we know about who's voted so far in key states One week from Election Day, early voters so far are younger, more racially diverse and more likely to be Democrats than they were ahead of the 2016 election in many of the key states that could decide the next president. © Joe Raedle/Getty Images DORAL, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 14: I voted stickers are seen as people drop off their Vote-by Mail ballots at the Miami-Dade Election Department headquarters on October 14, 2020 in Doral, Florida. More than 1.9 million Floridians had voted by mail according to statistics posted online by the Florida Division of Elections.

"I think that is the gold standard," he said. "You want voters to be turning to their state election officials."

a person standing in a kitchen preparing food: George Hiu places mail-in ballots into a sorting machine at the Santa Clara County registrar of voters office on Oct. 13, 2020, in San Jose, Calif. © Justin Sullivan/Getty Images George Hiu places mail-in ballots into a sorting machine at the Santa Clara County registrar of voters office on Oct. 13, 2020, in San Jose, Calif.

With so many changes and, in some cases, legal challenges regarding voting this year due to the pandemic, Klain recommends figuring out when you're going to vote, then double checking information such as polling locations and hours with local election offices.

MORE: A 'Twitterized Bush v Gore 2.0'? It's possible, election experts say

"Things are even changing in real-time," she said. "We want to make sure that people have the most accurate and up-to-date information when they're making decisions and making a voting plan."

Whether you've decided to already vote by mail-in ballot or early in-person, Weil recommends sticking to it to avoid increasing the burden of election officials. For instance, if you've requested an absentee ballot but then decide to vote in person, that takes more time and puts more pressure on the check-in system.

If planning to vote in person, prep ahead: Pack supplies such as a mask, hand sanitizer, ink pen or a stylus and any relevant voting materials.

MORE: How To Vote In The 2020 Election

When to expect results

On a general election night, Americans are accustomed to knowing who's won the presidency and other races relatively quickly through projections made by news organizations. But with record absentee ballots anticipated, there is a concern that some states, especially battlegrounds, could be overwhelmed with counting ballots on Election Day.

Rules for processing and counting absentee ballots vary from state to state, ranging from some that allow immediate processing and counting of absentee ballots when they are submitted, to those that do not start counting them until Election Day. Some rules have changed temporarily to accommodate the increase anticipated for the pandemic, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

For Weil, there haven't been significant changes to state election laws to allow election officials to count those ballots earlier, given increases in absentee voting.

As a result, it could be a while before the results of the presidential election are final, with some experts predicting the process could last for at least a couple of weeks.

"It's going to serve voters well on election night, so it's not a big shock," Weil said, to know that "there might not be a call."

MORE: Election experts implore Congress to extend ‘arbitrary’ vote-tallying deadlines

There are guidelines in place in the event the election is not decided on Election Night. This year, states have until Dec. 8 to file final election results if they want to insulate themselves from legal disputes. Usually this process, governed by obscure 19th-century law, is not much more than an afterthought, but the potential complexities of counting the vote this year as well as the prospect of legal challenges have added a new wrinkle. The Electoral College will then meet on Dec. 14 to formally cast their votes for the president.

Officials have urged Congress to move these deadlines back to avoid a potential crisis.

7 days from Election Day -- Here's what we know about who's voted so far in key states .
One week from Election Day, early voters so far are younger, more racially diverse and more likely to be Democrats than they were ahead of the 2016 election in many of the key states that could decide the next president. © Joe Raedle/Getty Images DORAL, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 14: I voted stickers are seen as people drop off their Vote-by Mail ballots at the Miami-Dade Election Department headquarters on October 14, 2020 in Doral, Florida. More than 1.9 million Floridians had voted by mail according to statistics posted online by the Florida Division of Elections.

usr: 4
This is interesting!