Effects of Voting During a Pandemic

Stephanie Sowa '21, Athletics Section Editor

The 2020 Election. The COVID-19 Pandemic. America has been struggling for months to overcome the pandemic, yet our numbers, the amount of coronavirus cases, are still high and there are major health concerns. In my humble opinion, this election is incredibly important for the direction of America; however, it is occurring under unprecedented circumstances. The majority of the voting population is no longer planning to go to the polls on November 3rd. Americans will have the opportunity to vote by mail. It is essential that they vote utilizing the avenue best for them.

Everyone’s vote, no matter what part of the country they live in, is important. People must vote always, but especially in this election, to ensure that our country moves in a progressive and inclusive direction. Photo courtesy of SaportaReport.

Knowing voting registration and mail-in absentee ballot deadlines is imperative for individuals. Every registered voter will be sent a mail-in ballot for the 2020 election; thus, mail-in voting is crucial to the outcome of the election. Individuals who are highly susceptible to COVID-19 cannot risk social-distancing at an official polling station and must have an accessible opportunity to mail in their absentee ballot. Unfortunately, President Trump is condemning voting by mail and has told the American people that they should instead go to the polls to cast their vote despite apparent health concerns. The Republican Party claims that voting by mail increases the chances of influential voter fraud, but many states have been using mail-in techniques prior to the pandemic and are now expanding upon their protocols. In the future, there may be more opportunities to vote by mail, and hopefully that will combat the inequalities present among voting poll locations. Oftentimes, polling locations aggravate the voting disenfranchisement present in America, undermining the voting opportunities present in communities of color. Mail-in ballots may provide a solution to this egregious inequality. Due to mail-in votes, the president may not be absolutely confirmed on November 3rd, but the days that follow. If you are voting by mail, confirm deadlines and ensure that you send in your ballot as soon as possible.

A positive aspect of mail-in-voting, besides health concerns, is that individuals can conduct research once they receive their ballot. Oftentimes, individuals enter the polls and are not aware of the issues they are voting on. Now, they can use this opportunity to thoroughly research issues in their community in order to vote in ways that enact positive social change; furthermore, this experience provides the opportunity for people to discover the importance of research prior to voting.

For individuals who cannot vote but want to be involved, if you are at least 16 years of age, you can apply to work at the polls on election day. Everyone in America must mobilize for the 2020 election. Whether it is by wearing a mask and social distancing at the polls on November 3rd or voting my mail, it is crucial that every American casts their vote. Please keep your health in mind and follow guidelines from reputable organizations concerning the virus. Due to mail-in ballots, this election may shed further light on voting disenfranchisement and encourage citizens to complete their research before heading to the polls. Hopefully, Americans can recognize the humanity present in each of us and advocate for vulnerable groups in society so that our country can flourish. Vote.

Pictured is an example of a mail-in ballot. If you are voting through this avenue, ensure that you are aware of deadlines so that your vote is accounted for. Photo courtesy of https://calmatters.org/.