Must-read from Nate Persily and Charles Stewart: “Ten Recommendations to Ensure a Healthy and Trustworthy 2020 Election”

Over at Lawfare:

This past week has provided ample evidence that states are in need of reliable plans to carry out elections without interruption in the face of the unfolding medical crisis. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine caused alarm when he decided to postpone the presidential primary the day before it was scheduled to occur. DeWine’s action may have been justified on public health grounds, but it illustrated the confusion that can arise when states are caught between opening polling places and endangering the health of citizens. Meanwhile, the governor of Arizona and the director of elections for Maricopa County fought over whether the county could send out mail-in ballots even to voters who have not requested them. Their battle illustrates that without a definitive statewide plan, state and local election officials can be locked in litigation when they should be cooperating to face serious challenges to the continuity of elections.

Despite the challenge presented by COVID-19, the 2020 elections must go forward. The elections to be held on Nov. 3 are not optional. They cannot be postponed, even if dangers to public health remain as great as they are likely to get over the next few weeks. The nation must act now to ensure that there will be no doubt, regardless of the spread of infection, that the elections will be conducted on schedule and that they will be free and fair.

Doing so requires an effort in election resilience that is unprecedented in American history. However, there are some clear paths toward achieving the desired result. We offer 10 steps in that direction.


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