As the coronavirus outbreak spreads throughout the country and containment measures are implemented by authorities, every facet of American life has been upended—including elections.
Candidates have shifted their campaign strategies toward more television and digital engagement, rather than crowded in-person rallies; Democrats delayed their nominating convention to a later date in the summer; and many states have postponed presidential primaries. To ensure the safety of voters and poll workers, policymakers have proposed emergency election reform measures such as mail-in ballots, unrestricted absentee voting, early voting, and curbside ballot drop-off, but they have been met by resistance in some states. Recognizing the urgency of situation, Congress allocated $400 million towards election assistance for states in the latest relief bill. However, many argue that figure is not enough.
On April 14, Governance Studies at Brookings hosted a webinar discussion focusing on what steps policymakers, election officials, and political organizations can take to protect the integrity of elections during the COVID-19 pandemic and other national emergencies.
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