The coronavirus outbreak in the United States has wreaked havoc on the presidential primary calendar, upending elections at least fifteen states, plans for summer nominating conventions and how millions of Americans will cast ballots.
While concerns from some Democrats that President Trump could try to postpone the general election are largely unfounded, given the difficulty of changing the law setting out the date of the election, some experts worry that expanding voting by mail could increase the likelihood of potential voter fraud.
Some states, especially those that have struggled to manage past elections, could drown under an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots, potentially delaying election results well past Nov. 3. Potential health edicts could add another layer of confusion to election administration in some regions.
“What if people are not allowed to go outside during some portion of this? What if that order came down in a state like North Carolina or Pennsylvania? If people in Detroit have to stay home, that could sway the state of Michigan one way or another,” said Rick Hasen, a University of California-Irvine law professor and election law expert.
It all could set the stage for a messy process – even if it all takes place on schedule.