Many States Lack Flexible Voting and Registration Policies to Address Safety Concerns of Conducting Elections During COVID-19
Aug 5, 2020
Several voting and registration options are available to states to ensure the safety of elections despite the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. This report outlines these options, considering the factors that officials will have to examine in determining how to conduct the election safely; the advantages and challenges of each approach; and the levels of risk regarding safety, integrity, access, and logistics.
Preparing for Elections During a Pandemic
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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has presented a severe threat to state election plans in 2020 for primaries and for the general election. To conduct an election during a potentially continuing threat from COVID-19, states need to consider how to conduct voter registration and provide voting options. Several voting and registration options are available to states to ensure the safety of elections despite the pandemic. These options are outlined in this report, taking into account the factors that officials will have to examine in determining how to conduct the election safely; the advantages and challenges of each approach; and levels of risk regarding safety, integrity, access, and logistics. This report is part of RAND's Countering Truth Decay initiative, which is focused on restoring the role of facts, data, and analysis in U.S. political and civil discourse and the policymaking process.
How the United States Votes
Factors to Consider in Preparing Election Systems for Response to the Pandemic
Evaluation of Options for Registration and Voting During a Pandemic
Considering a Portfolio of Options for Registration and Voting During a Pandemic
Funding for RAND's Countering Truth Decay research initiative is provided by gifts from RAND supporters and income from operations. RAND would like to recognize the Joel and Joanne Mogy Truth Decay Fellowship, established by the Mogys in 2020 to support research on Truth Decay, civics, and democracy. The authors drew from the Mogys' generous gift to fund this project.
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