COVID-19 Hits Election After Election

by Destini Goins

Nov. 8, 2020

Although most elections are filled usually with conspiracy theories and rumors about the candidates, the Presidential Election of 2020 had an extra element that made it unique. 

 

Overall, COVID-19 shaped the whole entire process and view of the 2020 Presidential Elections, with a negative view on Donald Trump. 

During the beginning of the pandemic, future voters loved President Trump after he gave out stimulus checks to qualified workers and added an additional $600 to unemployment checks.

 

However, as the election began, voters began to think Trump didn’t care about their health when he supported the idea of not wearing masks because he did not believe it would help. 

 

Not much longer after he said that, both he and his wife contracted the virus and continued to be seen without wearing masks. 

 

Voters began to pay more attention to how the

Xavier Branch unpacks how the election went with COVID-19

candidates viewed public health because the virus was the most important problem at the time. So everything the candidates did or said about the virus was analyzed very closely.

The virus even changed how the debates were run.  The president and vice-president elect were required to stand 6 feet apart with sneeze guards in front of them and a very small socially distanced audience. 

 

Voter decisions during this election were essentially made based on who they believed would  carry them through the pandemic the smoothest. 

 

COVID-19 caused officials to have to be a lot more mindful of people’s safety than in past elections. 

This chart shows the rise and fall of COVID Cases since the start of early voting in the United States. The first day of early voting in person was on October 12th. This chart is from October 12 -December 6th. These numbers were pulled from the New York Times. (Graphic by Shakailah Heard)

This chart shows the rise and fall of COVID Cases since the start of early voting in Georgia. The first day of early voting in person was on October 12th. This chart is from October 12 -December 6th. These numbers were pulled from the New York Times. (Graphic by Shakailah Heard)

Poll workers, that are typically people of older ages, had to refrain from working this election because they were more skeptical of the virus. 

 

Volunteers such as Shana Bridges, who know the group of people that are affected the most, had to step up to the plate and work the polls to prevent older workers from getting sick and voting locations from getting shut down due to lack of workers. 

 

While switching to younger poll workers reduced the risk of infection to workers, the polls themselves had certain CDC guidelines they had to follow in order to keep voters safe,  which voters believed was handled well. 

 

“There was a line but people did very well with staying 6 feet apart,” said volunteer and voter Carey Mitchel. “ I think they did a very good job.”  

 

A voting method that also helped voters feel safer was the use of mail-in ballots that got rid of the requirement of voters to have to physically be at the voting location to get their votes out.

“A lot of my friends don’t take this pandemic seriously but I go see my grandmother almost every weekend,” said Justin Linton. “Because of that I made an effort to send out the mail-in ballot to keep myself from being around so many people.” 

 

Voting officials saw a major increase in mail-in votes during this election. 

For the runoff elections held on January 5thfor the U.S Senate in Georgia, voting officials know how to keep voters safe during the pandemic and keep voters happy. 

In order to keep polling places safe from the coronavirus during this election, the secretary of state will supply masks and cleaning supplies to the election offices. Voters will also be required to social

distance from each other.

 

Some counties have already set up marking lines for the voters to be socially distanced and will provide masks for all voters. 

 

El Paso Municipal Court’s runoff candidate Lillian Blancas died on Monday while hospitalized with the Coronavirus, making following CDC guidelines all the more important during this election. 

Kayla Beasley talks about the history of voting during a pandemic