May 2020

Electing a President During a Pandemic

A voting center in Baltimore, Maryland, during a special election in April.A voting center in Baltimore, Maryland, during a special election in April.

A voting center in Baltimore, Maryland, during a special election in April.
A special election was held in Maryland’s 7th congressional district on April 28. Voters and poll workers in Baltimore wore protective gear and practiced social distancing to guard themselves from the spread of the coronavirus.

As the 2020 Presidential Election in November gets closer, the COVID-19 pandemic is turning the race to the White House into one unlike any the United States has seen before. Everything from the way the political parties are nominating their candidates to the way people may cast their votes is different from any previous election.

About a month after the Super Tuesday primaries on March 3 of this year, the list of President Trump’s election challengers was narrowed down to only one major candidate—former Democratic Senator Joe Biden from Delaware. Biden served in the U.S. Senate for 36 years and was Vice President under President Barack Obama.

The Democratic Party was planning on naming Biden as their official nominee for President at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in July. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, however, the Democrats have decided to postpone their convention. The Republican Party is also planning to hold their convention this summer to nominate Donald Trump as their official nominee for President. It is scheduled to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, in August. But the pandemic has Republican Party leaders in discussion about postponing their convention, too. Both parties are even considering not having these crowded conventions at all. Some people say that they could host virtual gatherings through video conferencing instead.

The campaign trail during the pandemic looks very different. During an election, candidates would normally spend many months traveling around the country connecting with voters in person and hosting big rallies. But the pandemic has prevented President Trump and former Vice President Biden from making in-person connections in this election. Instead, the candidates have had to rely on social media and other ways to reach voters remotely.

One of the biggest changes the pandemic could bring to the election process may be the way people actually cast their votes. To make social distancing easier, many people would like to see Americans vote by mail instead of voting in person at polling places. However, some argue that mail-in ballots could make it easier for people to commit voter fraud. This occurs when people use illegal ways to increase or decrease the number of votes a candidate receives. Others argue that voter fraud is not likely to happen and that voter safety should come first.

Image credit: Sue Dorfman/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News
Question 1
Who is President Trump's main challenger in this year's presidential election?

Question 2
Which way of voting are people recommending to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Rate this story:
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars