On Tuesday, September 1 at 19:30 GMT:
Election day in the United States is less than 10 weeks away, and there’s one thing Republicans and Democrats agree on – that it’s one of the most consequential presidential and congressional polls in the country’s history. But concerns are rising over whether people’s voices will be truly reflected through the ballot box.
US President Donald Trump, who is behind Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in most polls, has attacked mail-in voting. He says is open to widespread abuse, a claim voting experts reject. A series of recent orders by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to remove Postal Service mailboxes and sorting machines from service – most in key “battleground” states – has angered Democrats who say it is an attempt to stop ballots reaching election offices before polling deadlines. DeJoy, a Republican Party and Trump campaign donor, denies that changes made under his leadership are intended to slow ballot delivery and thus tilt the election in Republicans’ favour.
Voting rights activists now say Americans should send mail-in ballots as soon as they can, or use alternative means to cast their votes early. They are advising voters to consider posting their ballot at local election office drop boxes, join community ballot collections, or vote in-person well before Election Day on November 3. It’s a continuation of a long-established effort to ensure that people in ill-represented parts of the US have their voices heard at the ballot box.
But as coronavirus sweeps the US, it is also likely to have an impact on the election. In-person voter registration has tumbled as people remain wary over COVID-19 transmission, while driving licence offices that traditionally register people to vote have been on limited hours while the pandemic rages. Election offices countrywide are also short of poll workers, many of whom are senior citizens and are worried about the risk of infection.
As people across the United States grapple with the prospect of waking up on November 4 without a clear projection of a presidential election victor, The Stream will meet three voting experts to hear their thoughts about what lies ahead. Join the conversation.