August 19 , 2020
More Americans than ever are eligible to receive a ballot to vote by mail this November, significantly changing the presidential election process in a short time span. Despite President Trump’s objections towards the integrity of mail-in ballots, most Americans are projected to vote by mail this election.
Whether or not the process will go smoothly or not is up for question, considering that the United States Postal Service is strapped for funding to facilitate the election. President Trump has not approved the $25 billion in emergency funding sought by the USPS, and the additional $3.5 billion to supplement election resources. The President indeed appears to want the Post Office to slow the pace of its operations in hopes of stifling the mail-in vote. His Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, has been trying to remove machinery used to sort the mail and reduce the number of hours that mail carriers work. DeJoy’s slowdown actions have met with outrage and pushback from Congress and the American people, and he has recently agreed to suspend his efforts.
Many experts agree that voting by mail is the safest way to participate in the election amid the pandemic, but some are worried about inflating voter disenfranchisement among Black, Hispanic, and other voters of color. Studies show that voters of color and younger voters are significantly more likely to have their ballots rejected than older white voters when voting by mail. In the recent primaries, states also saw higher than average absentee ballot rejection rates, which experts say can be attributed to systemic errors, not voter mishaps.
An NBC news tracking poll found that views on voting and confidence in how the election will be conducted vary starkly by partisan lines. While the majority of democrats report that they plan to vote by mail, only just a third of republicans plan to do so. Overall, fifty-five percent of respondents were not confident about the overall fairness of the election.
As Biden continues to lead in all polls nationally, most recently a ten point advantage in a Monmouth poll, the anticipation surrounding the democratic nominee’s vice presidential pick has ended. Kamala Harris, a former democratic candidate in this presidential race, marks history as the first Black and South Asian woman to be selected.
Harris has served as Attorney General of California for two terms, and in 2016 she became the state’s third female Senator. She has supported universal healthcare, citizenship for undocumented immigrants and gun control in the past. Most recently she has advocated for criminal justice reform and the removing marijuana from the Schedule of Controlled Substances. Already she has received criticism for her time as a prosecutor, where 1,500 people were sent to prison for marijuana-related offenses under her tenure as California Attorney General.
Since more than half of the votes will be cast before election day, the Trump campaign team is pushing to move up the first of three televised debates, which is scheduled for September 29. In October, Kamala Harris is scheduled to debate Vice President Mike Pence.