New York City- Coronavirus has caused many things to happen differently, and one of them is the 2020 presidential election. Voting places usually get very crowded, with thousands of people wanting to vote. Lines stretch down the street, from early in the morning to well into the night. We all know, of course, that can’t happen, with the virus still going around. But, people still need to vote. The solution? Mail in ballots.
But, as well as a solution it might be a problem. People think that the election might not be fair this year. There are talks of taking away mailboxes, some votes not getting counted, voter fraud, and more.
I interviewed my uncle Justin Kanew who ran for Congress in the 7th district in Tennessee, and he told me a lot about what he thinks about whether the election will be fair or not. He laughed when I asked him this because, “It is such a loaded question!” He says “If it wasn’t interfered with it would be fair because certain people believe that the more people vote the worse it is for them. They’re gonna make a really strong effort to stop votes from being counted and we have to hope that our system is strong enough to overcome that.” Here he is referring to the The Trump Administration, because in a tweet on October 30th Donald Trump said that “The Election should end on November 3rd., not weeks later!” Kanew says the best way to overcome that would be a landslide victory. And “We have a lot of work to do to strengthen our country in a lot of different ways and our elections are at the top of that list.”
Kanew thinks that some people might not have a place to vote in this year’s election because “Not everybody will be able to mail their ballots because some states require an excuse. It’s a shame because a lot of people are afraid to vote in person and we should be making it as easy as possible for everybody to vote.”
If some ballots are not being counted, that will really play a part in the election not being fair if this happens. “Well I’m nervous about it because president Trump knows he’s in trouble and has clearly made his strategy to keep all the votes from being counted so on election night he’s gonna declare himself the winner if he’s ahead.” Kanew says. “And there will still be millions and millions of ballots left to be counted which is why they’re trying so hard to sit this Supreme Court judge because this may very well end up in the Supreme Court.” Now that the new Justice, Amy Coney Barret, is confirmed, it is most likely that the Republicans will have a vote if this situation happens. But like Kanew says, if there is a landslide we don’t have to worry about it going to the Supreme Court.
Almost every state has a different policy about when people are allowed to vote, who is allowed to get mail in ballots, and more rules. This year people can vote before the election, as well as after. You have to send in your vote by election day, but depending on your state, your vote may need to arrive by election day. The election results likely will not be announced the time it normally is, probably later because some people’s mail in votes won’t arrive on election day, and also the mail in ballots are just harder to count. 36 states will allow everyone eligible to vote to request a mail in ballot. But, 9 states allow most people to request one, and 5 require an excuse for a mail in ballot. 25 states require the votes to arrive by November 3rd (Election Day) for them to be counted. The remaining 25 states allow votes to arrive after then.
Kanew has run in an election for congress, so he has first hand experience at the state level. He says the fact that each state has its own rules “seems inefficient.” But he appreciates the effort made by the people who run the elections and says that they “take their role in the process very seriously.”
Even though 2020 is a weird year, there still has to be an election. There is a record turn-out of early voting and mail-in voting so far, so mail in and early voting seems to be running smoothly (knock on wood). And people will do whatever it takes to get the results they want in the election, getting out and voting as well as stopping people from voting.