Thad Kousser, Seth Hill, Mackenzie Lockhart (UC San Diego), Jennifer Merolla (UC Riverside), and Mindy Romero (USC) have now posted at the links below two working papers analyzing a survey of eligible American voters about their preferences for how they’d like to cast their own ballots and see elections run during the COVID-19 crisis. These are drafts now under submission to journals, and they welcome any comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do Americans Want Elections to be Run During the COVID-19 Crisis?
Abstract. To inform the vital conversation among the nation’s political leaders, elections administrators, and scholars about how to hold a safe, accessible, and fair election in November, this paper reports how a sample of 5,612 eligible American voters, surveyed April 8-10, want to see the election run during the COVID-19 crisis. We embed a randomized experiment presenting respondents with truthful summaries of the projections of two teams of scientists about the pandemic. Our descriptive findings show that four in ten eligible voters would prefer to cast their ballot by mail rather than in person this November and that a majority of respondents favor policies expanding mail voting. Our experimental findings show that respondents who read the scientific projections were more likely to prefer voting by mail, were more likely to trust that a mail ballot would be counted accurately, and were more likely to favor holding the election entirely by mail.
Research Brief: Are Voters Polarized Along Party Lines About How to Run Elections During the COVID-19 Crisis?
Abstract. Are voters as polarized as political leaders when it comes to their preferences about how to cast their ballots in November 2020 and their policy positions on how elections should be run in light of the COVID-19 outbreak? Prior research has shown little party divide on voting by mail, with nearly equal percentages of voters in both parties choosing to vote this way where it is an option. Has a divide opened up this year in how voters aligned with the Democratic and Republican parties prefer to cast a ballot? We address these questions by presenting the findings of an online survey of a nationally diverse sample of 5,612 eligible voters, fielded from April 8-10, with an embedded experiment providing treated respondents with scientific projections about the COVID-19 outbreak. We find an eight-percentage point difference between Democrats and Republicans in their preference for voting by mail in the control group, but this party divide doubles in the treatment group. We also find that exposure to scientific projections about the outbreak increases support for vote-by-mail legislation and confidence in vote-by-mail election integrity for both Democrats and Republicans.
Order rejecting request for preliminary injunction.
Gonna break some precedent to not confirm in party pairs, but it will restore a quorum if Trainor confirmed so the FEC can then defend itself when it is sued for inaction and partisan deadlock.
New memo from the Justice Foundation for Civil and Environmental Rights:
During the coronavirus pandemic, defending the fundamental right to vote may require the brave actions of “A Few Good Clerks.”
The push toward mail balloting for the November election has focused on the potential power of governors to issue emergency orders. But a review of every state election law finds that county clerks in half of the states are not expressly prohibited from themselves deciding to issue mail ballots to every registered voter. If a few brave county clerks in critical states announce plans to issue mail ballots to every registered voter, other clerks and states will follow, potentially creating a wave. The actions of those county clerks likely will be reviewed in court prior to the election. This memo outlines the legal arguments they and voting rights advocates may present.
Sending mail ballots to registered voters by default is not politically viable in many states. Therefore, the second half of this memo outlines the emergency powers of governors to open polling places earlier than their state law allows. While all but seven states have some form of early voting, many of those statutory time periods are 10 to 15 days — and for one state as short as three days. To create the social and physical distancing required to limit spread of the coronavirus, states must open polling places at least one month before Election Day. Dispersing in-person voters across 30 days would relieve crowding at polling venues, offering voters a safe environment in which to cast their ballot. Voting advocates should push their governors to invoke their emergency powers to open polling locations by the first week of October. This memo outlines the governors’ potential powers — and limitations on those powers.
Yasmin Dawood has posted this draft on SSRN (forthcoming, Ohio State Technology Law Journal). Here is the abstract:
This Article argues for a multifaceted public-private approach to the challenge of protecting the electoral process from the harms of disinformation. Such an approach employs a suite of complementary strategies—including disclosure rules, political ad registries, narrow content-based regulations against false election speech, self-regulation by online platforms, norm-based initiatives, civic education, and media literacy. It also deploys a mix of regulatory styles, namely, legal regulation (regulation imposed by the state), self-regulation (regulation by private actors), and co-regulation (regulation through cooperation between private actors and public actors). This Article has shown how the approach in Canada is multifaceted in both of these respects. In addition to incorporating a wide range of tactics by both public and private actors, the Canadian approach has adopted a mix of regulatory styles. The Article also canvasses the advantages and drawbacks of each individual tactic.
In addition, this Article focuses on the dilemma posed by protecting the electoral process from disinformation while also protecting the freedom of speech. It argues that a multifaceted public-private approach allows for the trade-off between disinformation and free speech to be optimized. The combined and interactive effects of a multifaceted approach provide helpful protections against some of the harms of disinformation. More importantly, the adoption of these multifaceted public-private strategies signals the importance of electoral integrity to citizens thereby bolstering public trust in elections, a key ingredient of long-term democratic stability.
Looking forward to reading this!
From today’s Washington Post:
South Korea’s April 15 elections resulted in no new coronavirus infections, authorities announced. Following the two-week incubation period, no new cases could be traced to the 29 million people lining up to cast ballots.
Sam Levine reports for The Guardian.
Dayton Daily News reports.
You can read the opinion here. It begins:
In moving to enforce the Agreement settling her 2016 lawsuit, failed presidential candidate Jill Stein asks me to bar the use of almost 4,000 voting machines, thus making it impossible for Philadelphia to participate in the 2020 presidential election. This is of a piece with the 2016 action itself: Stein’s eleventh-hour voting machine “hacking” allegations and request for a recount that would have disenfranchised some six million Pennsylvania voters. In both instances, Dr. Stein publicly announced that she seeks to promote election integrity. Yet, the Commonwealth suggest that she seeks to promote only herself. Pennsylvania’s computer expert testified credibly in 2016 that Stein’s allegations “are approximately as likely as the fact that androids from outer space are living amongst us and passing as humans.” (12/6/16 Hr’g Tr. 63:23-64:9.) Her allegations now— that the challenged voting machines are unreliable and thus violate the Settlement Agreement— are as baseless and irrational. I will deny her Motion.