Effects of COVID-19 on the Elections

How will the Pandemic change the path to Presidency?

Jane Wang, Reporter

Ever since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S., it’s been difficult to find any news channel or journal covering topics that don’t have to do with the novel coronavirus. However, despite all the buzz around this disease which has already killed over 40,000 in the U.S. and over 172,000 worldwide according to The New York Times, 2020 is still (as of now) the year of our next presidential election. But this election will not be like any before it.

Firstly, the primaries. Most recently, Wisconsin forged ahead with its controversial Democratic presidential primary on April 7th in Milwaukee. According to NPR, Milwaukee claims that “at least 7 people may have become infected with the coronavirus” because of the state’s in-person election. Many other states are postponing their primaries as well as their local elections, and some are switching to mail-in votes with extended deadlines. As of now, only five states use mail-in only ballots, including Washington state.

Secondly, the campaign. While presidential candidates usually hold rallies with their voter base all across the country in the months leading up to the election, this plan has been cut short. Even as former Vice President Joe Biden became the de facto Democratic presidential candidate for the 2020 election after the rest of the relevant Democratic candidates dropped out of the race, COVID-19 was raging across the nation, forcing lockdowns and cancelling gatherings everywhere. Such momentum-building meetings will be difficult to orchestrate now for fear of spreading the coronavirus farther via people packed in close quarters.

The Democratic National Convention, where Joe Biden is most likely to be confirmed as the official Democratic presidential candidate, has also been rescheduled from mid-July to mid-August, according to The New York Times. Many things are still up in the air, as the nation learns to manage the coronavirus outbreak together.