Update: Republican Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio went to court Monday afternoon hoping to delay until June 2 the in-person Democratic presidential primary vote set for Tuesday, saying that proceeding would not comply with new federal coronavirus guidelines against gatherings of more than 50 people. He filed the suit because elections in the state are run by counties, so DeWine does not have the authority over polling places as he does over the restaurants, movie theaters and other places he ordered shut on Sunday. Ohio has 50 known cases of the virus as of Monday.
The four presidential primaries scheduled for Tuesday are going ahead on schedule, albeit with last-minute modifications and serious wariness about turnout in light of the intensifying national coronavirus shutdown.
Officials in Florida, Ohio, Illinois and Arizona have all said they are taking extra health precautions so voting in person remains safe. Besides, they say, so much early balloting has already happened that closing the polls on the final scheduled day of voting would severely muddy the integrity of the results.
After Tuesday, however, the national political calendar is increasingly in flux — making some voting rights advocates wary about the potential for suppression, while other arguing the Covid-19 pandemic presents a silver lining for democracy reform if it prompts more widespread adoption of voting from home and by mail.
The moment of truth for voting system reliability remains nearly nine months off, but already Louisiana has earned itself a troublesome and unique footnote in the story of the 2020 presidential election.
It will surely be the only state running totally afoul of the new world of balloting best practices, which says creating and keeping a paper record is the only way to assure every vote is counted accurately (and recounted if need be) and properly reflects the will of the voter.
There won't be a single sheet of paper involved in tabulating the results in Louisiana on Election Day — unlike any of the other 49 states, according to a comprehensive study by Verified Voting, a nonpartisan group that promotes the integrity of elections. All 3,934 polling places will use entirely electronic voting machines that are at least 15 years old, and which do not generate printouts of anything as a fail-safe if something goes wrong.
How do you know when you've seen a gerrymandered district? Maybe it looks like a duck or a snake, or a pair of earmuffs. Or maybe there's no obvious sign that the mapmakers played games with the contours in order to ensure a particular electoral outcome inside those boundaries.
The last contests using the current set of congressional maps are a year away. After that, the results of the 2020 census will be used for the redistricting of the entire country — assuring a fresh burst of gerrymandering by politicians with the power to draw maps designed for keeping themselves in power.
We asked half a dozen people who have studied the way American political maps are drawn to reveal their best examples of the most flagrant current gerrymandering. Of course there are plenty of ways to approach that task. In some cases, the really odd shapes make it easier. In others, experts need to dive deep into demographic data to discover the most egregious examples of packing and cracking.