National: Pandemic Prompts Questions About 2020 Presidential Election | Cameron Langford/Courthouse News
With Election Day fast approaching, the Covid-19 pandemic has underscored a central question seemingly destined for a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court: Will states let all voters cast absentee ballots, given concerns about spreading the virus? The absentee ballot question is just one of many questions swirling around the 2020 presidential election. Will states be able to find enough volunteers to usher voters through the polls? Many poll workers are elderly, a group at high risk for Covid-19 health complications. Wisconsin called in 2,400 National Guard troops to staff the polls for its April 7 primary election, a move voting-rights advocates say should not be duplicated. “Members of the National Guard can have an intimidating effect inside our nation’s polling sites and discourage some voters from feeling able to freely cast their ballots … Particularly voters of color,” said Kristen Clarke, president of Lawyers’ Committee on Civil Rights Under Law, a Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan organization. “There are also concerns with deploying people who may not be sufficiently trained and experienced to manage poll sites,” Clarke said in an email.