Oct 31, 2020 News
By Kemol King
Kaieteur News – As, November 3, the US Presidential Election date approaches, candidates have had to be cognizant of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the turnout of voters. It turns out that the persons likely to vote for Democratic Party nominee, Vice President Joe Biden are more likely to wear masks and vote by mail than those likely to vote for Republican Party nominee, incumbent President Donald Trump.
Dr. Mark Rozell, the Dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, said that polling data has indicated that much. The Virginia-based political scientist, addressing foreign reporters during a September 21 briefing, said that the statistics has raised concerns.
America is one of the countries, which is worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with nine million reported cases and more than 229,000 deaths recorded as of yesterday.
Trump has faced sustained criticism over his administration’s general handling of the pandemic as well as specifically over his personal statements and actions perceived to be downplaying the danger of the pandemic and the importance of taking precautions. Trump’s posturing is likely to have had an impact on the behaviour of his voter base.
To prevent the election from having a dire effect on the spread of COVID-19, the US has systems to at least mitigate the incidence of in-person voting on Election Day, which revolve around early voting.
States across the US have laws which allow for early in-person voting, in-person absentee (by proxy) voting, and voting by mail. Unlike Guyana, where all but the disciplined services vote on Election Day, US citizens started voting nearly two months before November 3.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, early in-person voting may start as early as 45 days before the Election Day. In Alabama, in-person absentee voting starts 55 days before E-Day. The systems vary state-by-state. The average starting time for early voting is about three weeks early.
By Election Day, some states will have already received the ballots for just about everyone who intends to vote.
According to an October 30 Axios report, 10 states have already gathered ballots amounting to a significant portion of the votes cast in the 2016 Presidential Election, namely Montana (91.2%), Tennessee (89.6%), Washington (88%), New Mexico (87.9%), Georgia (86.9%), North Carolina (85.6%), Oregon (82.4%), Nevada (82.2%), Florida (81.6%), and Arizona (80.4%).
Dr. Rozell said that the political impact of COVID-19 is likely to determine how the vote count plays out.
“It’s strange that we’re talking about the pandemic as having a political impact,” he said, “but it is possible that the election results as they’re coming in on election night will show Donald Trump winning and winning and winning all over the place, but that’s based on more of his voters showing up to vote in person… Then as the results come in from the mailed in ballots, his margin is going to narrow, narrow, and perhaps be overtaken by Biden after several days.”
After the in-person votes are counted, some states will have millions of mail-in votes to count. It is not expected that America will know the outcome of the election on the night of November 3. The count is expected to take several days.
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