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Democracy & Voting Rights

Protecting Public Health in the 2020 Elections

This first-of-its-kind report brings together political science data with public health insights on the spread of COVID-19 to conclude that the safety of in-person voting during the 2020 elections depends on expanding absentee voting, eliminating polling place congestion, and reducing wait times at polling stations. The report reviews existing medical literature on risk factors for COVID-19, political science research on congestion during voting, and evidence of the public health impacts of the 2020 primary elections to create urgent policy recommendations for the November general election.

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Protecting Public Health in the 2020 Election

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Summary:

This report reviews existing medical literature on risk factors for COVID-19, political science research on congestion during voting, and evidence of the public health impacts of the 2020 primary elections to create urgent policy recommendations for the November general election.

The report analyzes the potential for COVID-19 to disproportionately impact communities of color in November. The analysis finds that Black voters are among the populations most at risk from COVID-19 infection and death, and are also more likely to experience longer lines, extended wait times, and poll crowding on Election Day.

The report concludes that it is essential to maintain in-person polling options during the COVID-19 pandemic, but in order to do it safely, states have to take a number of steps to adapt their election systems. States should immediately:

Protecting Public Health in the 2020 Election

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