Pegoda is a lecturer in women's, gender and sexuality studies, as well as religious studies, at the University of Houston.
At least 40 percent to 90 percent of American voters stay home during elections, evidence that low voter turnout for both national and local elections is a serious problem throughout the United States.
Now that the 2020 campaign is in something close to a state of suspended animation — the novel coronavirus pandemic having taken almost all attention away from the presidential race and forced delays in a dozen states' primaries — directives for people to "get out and vote" have some time to get fired up again.
But if and when outbreak subsides, some people might remain indifferent or simply not care. And many who forgo voting have legitimate reasons.
St. Louisans will vote this year on a new method for electing city officials.
Advocates of approval voting, which allows people to vote for as many candidates as they find acceptable, announced Wednesday they had more than 20,000 signatures to place their Proposition D for Democracy on the ballot. That is more than twice the number they needed.
The coming vote in one of the nation's more prominent cities presents a breakthrough opportunity for this alternative election method. Those who say American democracy isn't benefiting from the traditional system — voters select one candidate, and the one with the most votes wins — have rallied behind ranked-choice voting much more often.
A constitutional challenge to Seattle's "democracy voucher" program, the only system of its kind for subsidizing political campaigns with taxpayer funds, has fallen on deaf ears at the Supreme Court.
Two property owners in the city maintained the unique system violates their First Amendment rights by compelling them, through their tax payments, to support candidates they oppose. The justices turned down their appeal Monday without comment.
It was a rare bit of good news for advocates of reducing the influence of big money on politics, who have been disappointed by almost every campaign finance decision by the high court in the past decade.
Eight days to the Wisconsin primary and almost every aspect of it remains up in the air, from the rules for how people will vote to whether the election will even take place.
The state, which already looms as the essential presidential battleground in November, has quickly become the heart of the national debate about the propriety of voting during a pandemic. It is the only state that has not in some way delayed an April presidential primary, the main rationale being that some state and local contests on the ballot are for jobs that become vacant without a timely election.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers shifted course Friday and, after saying the polls should be open April 7 as usual, proposed that 3.3 million ballots be printed and delivered to every voter in the state in time for them to be filled in and sent back on schedule. Republicans in charge of the Legislature, who would have to pass a bill for that to happen, said the idea was a logistical impossibility.