National: Coronavirus emerges as major threat to U.S. election process | John Whitesides and Jarrett Renshaw/Reuters
U.S. election officials looking to construct a safe voting system in a worsening coronavirus pandemic are confronting a grim reality: there may not be enough time, money or political will to make it happen by the November election. The possibility the pandemic could last into the fall, or flare again as millions of voters are set to choose the nation’s next president, has state and local officials scrambling for alternatives to help keep voters safe. The most-discussed proposals are to make mail-in voting available to all eligible voters nationwide, and to expand early in-person voting to limit the crowds on Election Day. But election officials say those changes will be costly and complex in a country where traditional voting remains ingrained. About six of every 10 ballots were cast in person on Election Day in 2016, Census data shows. Democrats fell far short in their effort to include at least $2 billion to help virus-proof the November elections as part of a $2.2-trillion coronavirus stimulus bill that was passed by the U.S. House on Friday. The package devotes $400 million to bolster vote by mail and early voting, expand facilities and hire more poll workers.