My coverage of how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the 2020 election has centered on voting by mail along with Trump opposing it and trying to sabotage the US Postal Service. What happens if people are able to vote by mail but Trump refuses to accept the results?Thanks to Samantha Bee's correspondent, the answer to that question was hilarious, if alarming. Now it's time to ask another question — what about people who are voting in person? There will be people who go to polling places, either because they prefer to, even during a pandemic, or because they are unable, for whatever reason, to vote by mail. Vox examines that question in What long voting lines in the US really mean.
The sneaky ways that some US states make it harder to vote.Like climate change, The Supreme Court's ruling on Shelby vs. Holder and its effect on voting rights was an issue before the pandemic and will remain one after the pandemic is over. Unlike climate change, it can be fixed just by passing a law, in this case the one named after the late John Lewis. That won't happen this year, as the bill is being held up in the Senate by Mitch McConnell like so many others. Even if it passed there, President Trump is threatening to veto it. On the other hand, if the House of Representatives, Senate, and White House are all in the hands of Democrats next year, the bill can be reintroduced, passed by both houses, and signed into law. That sounds like a good maybe to me.
The process of voting isn’t the same for all Americans. Depending on where you live, you might vote on a screen, a punchcard, or a piece of paper. You might have to show an ID to vote, or you might not. And you might have to wait a long time, or you might not.
Some of these differences don’t really matter. But some of them make voting harder. And sometimes they can keep people from voting altogether. For decades, the US had a civil rights law that made sure those differences were fair, and didn’t disproportionately keep certain people from voting: the 1965 Voting Rights Act. But in 2013, the US Supreme Court gutted that law, allowing states to pass a slew of new voting laws.
Those new laws often had the effect of making it harder for poor people and people of color to vote. And the 2020 US election will be shaped in part by those laws. But the same election will also decide the future of those laws.
This video is the second in our series on the 2020 election. We aren’t covering the horse race; instead, we want to explain the stakes of the election through the issues that matter the most to you.