The COVID-19 pandemic continues to amaze. We can complain, rightly so, about our leaders in this country deliberately failing to properly prepare us for what was coming, but that doesn't change the fact that a couple short months ago, you would have been laughed at if you told anyone that in March schools would shut down and students from kindergarten to college would be sent home to learn from a distance, that professional sports leagues would suspend their seasons indefinitely, that people would be told to stay home and shelter in place, that not only is spring basically canceled, but maybe summer, too.
But it's all happened. It's all happening. And it's going to continue to happen. People like to say we're "not out of the woods yet," but if you really want to break out in a cold sweat, read what some of the experts have to say about where we're at in the United States regarding this pandemic. We're just now entering the woods, they say.
Add it all up, and it has some nervous about the general election on Nov. 3. In presidential election years, many people over the past 10, 15 or 20 years have a habit of claiming that the next presidential election is the "most important of our lifetime," or words to that effect. There are degrees of truth and hyperbole in such claims, but there is more truth and less hyperbole in the claim that the 2020 election is existential in its importance for our nation.
Given all that, could it be impacted by this pandemic?
Already, states have delayed their primary elections. They have that right. That has led to fears of the general election being delayed or even cancelled, but, rest assured, the U.S. Constitution has safeguards in place to prevent that from occurring. If President Trump were to somehow try and delay or cancel the election, unless he rallied law enforcement and the military to help barricade him in the White House, he would no longer be president. Vice President Mike Pence would no longer be vice president. Any member of Congress up for election in November would no longer be a member of Congress. If your term is up, you’re done, plain and simple.
Federal law passed by Congress protects the election. No executive order, no declaration of martial law, changes that. Congress could theoretically change the law, but Democrats run the U.S. House, so that’s not happening.
So who would be president? The Constitution requires that "succession" take effect, that the most senior member of the U.S. Senate not up for election in November become president. That’s Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat. (U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is third in line to the presidency, but she's up for election this year, too.) With more Republican lawmakers up for election this year than Democratic members, if Trump tries to cancel or postpone the election, he'd be securing the end of his presidency.
So let's assume the election goes on as scheduled on Nov. 3. Given that, and given the uncertainty regarding the duration of this pandemic and a potential second wave of infections in the fall and a vaccine many months or more than a year away, voters need to be given the ability to vote by mail or drop off their ballots, no questions asked. To make this civil right any more difficult to exercise in these unprecedented circumstances is unconscionable.
California allows "no excuse" mail-balloting. Other states have mail balloting, but you need an "excuse," such as a medical condition signed off on by your physician.
Forget all that. Let people mail in their ballots, or drop them in secure, designated locations. Democrats want this, because when voter turnout is high, Democrats usually win elections. Republicans don't want this, because when voter turnout is low because Republican lawmakers have passed laws making it difficult for certain populations to exercise their right to vote, Republicans generally win.
Democrats, Republicans, Independents...no matter your political affiliation, it shouldn’t matter. Make voting easy. Your country demands it.