Voting during the pandemic


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Voting booths at Hermosa Beach City Hall during California Primary

In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, the world has been forced to adapt in a multitude of different ways. Fortunately, in this virtual age, many of the events we’ve been missing in quarantine have been transferred to an online format. A troubling question has been brought up, however; what about the things that can’t be modified?

Intense campaigning for the presidency has always included in-person and live events, more than one might think. Rallies, campaign events, and debates are not as impactful in a virtual fashion — President Trump’s refusal to participate in a virtual debate against Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden further proved this general consensus regarding campaigning online. Voting, however, is a process that cannot be made virtual, even though the thought of standing in a crowded line is one that many find disconcerting in our current state.

Therefore, a new preferred method of voting has recently become more popular: mail-in ballots. Although the concept of postal voting, which has been in use for many years and around the world, has not previously been what voters preferred, it has been more popular as of late out of necessity. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has stated that the ratio of absentee ballots being cast to in-person votes has been becoming closer to equal in recent years. 

Voters have voiced their concerns regarding the possibility of a rigged election, due to the fact that their votes aren’t being cast as directly as they would be in-person. Others are grateful for the opportunity, as they have struggled with issues such as voter suppression before; in many places, polling stations have been made inaccessible to large groups of voters. Whatever your stance, the extenuating circumstances created by the Covid-19 pandemic might make voting by mail inevitable for you. You might be wondering, then, how do I cast my vote? Fortunately, clearly outlines this process. 

Registered New Jersey voters will have received a ballot in the mail to fill in and be returned by today, Tuesday, November 3rd.  Likely we will not know the outcome of the election until several days after the final ballots are counted.  One thing remains clear, this is an election year that will go down in history for a variety of reasons.