From Kentucky to Louisiana, many U.S. states have postponed their primary elections as citizens are ordered to stay at home and avoid spreading COVID-19 infection. Because of all the recent changes related to the coronavirus, many people have been left wondering how the coronavirus pandemic will affect the 2020 national election, which is currently scheduled for November 3, 2020.
With events such as political primaries and caucuses, the Democratic and Republican parties are given quite a bit of leeway over the presidential candidate selection process, provided that they can select a candidate by July or August during the convention. This means that state party leadership can often choose to change the primary dates without facing any constitutional challenges.
However, most political and legal experts agree that there is little chance that the presidential election will be postponed, even if COVID-19 does continue to spread through November. Moreover, postponing our constitutional right to a general election is a step in the wrong direction, one that would only serve to diminish our democracy and our freedoms.
Because the national congressional election is protected under federal law, it would take substantial changes for the date to be modified, as we are entitled to elect members of Congress every two to six years and a President every four. Although it’s unlikely that the November election date will be postponed or delayed, there are still many questions to consider in the coming months, as COVID-19 changes the landscape around us.
Some key considerations that our leaders will need to keep in mind for the 2020 national election:
- Ensuring that any in-person voting spaces are kept sanitary and safe if the virus is still circulating
- Creating universal vote-by-mail and absentee voting provisions
- Communicating with voters clearly in the days before the election about how and where voting will take place
At Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A., we know that it’s an anxious time for most Americans as the coronavirus causes lasting economic, social, and legal disruptions for our society. In spite of this fear and uncertainty, we believe that our country can come through this crisis without sacrificing our basic principles. Throughout history, we have continued to hold elections during times of great crisis, from the Civil War to the Great Depression. This is because our political system and justice system are pretty strong – and it’s more important than ever to preserve that strength by holding fair, free, and timely elections.
Do you have other questions about how the coronavirus could impact our political and legal institutions? Our legal team at Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. is available at (612) 444-5020.