As states scramble to delay their spring primaries, election professionals and voting experts are anxiously looking ahead to November and warning that the coronavirus pandemic is already threatening the safety and integrity of the next presidential election. These experts are raising the alarm that the virus poses unprecedented challenges to the 2020 election, and that time is running out to prevent a disaster at the polls. President Donald Trump will square off against likely Democratic nominee Joe Biden in what is shaping up to be a tight race, where small tweaks to voting rules could tip the scales or trigger a constitutional crisis. The Trump administration is planning for a pandemic with multiple waves of illness that are expected to stretch into next year, according to an internal government report obtained by CNN. That means sweeping changes will be necessary in all 50 states to pull off the first pandemic-plagued presidential election in American history, according to interviews with more than a dozen state officials, former federal officials, voting rights activists and legal scholars.
Congress took a step forward this week by approving $400 million in federal grants that states can use to make coronavirus-related adjustments for the general election. But the two parties couldn’t reach a deal on the politically-charged question of how to overhaul the voting laws.