The coronavirus has already disrupted elections in Wisconsin and Illinois and caused some states to postpone primary elections. More than 1,000 political scientists are urging Congress to act now to protect the elections in November. The letter, circulated by Jeffrey C. Isaac and William Kindred Winecoff, identifies the uncertainty surrounding November’s election as a threat to the core of the United States’ representative government that must be urgently addressed.
“It has been obvious that a great many colleagues share these concerns,” said Isaac. “and that we ought to do something, together, to voice these concerns, as political scientists who study, teach about, and care about democracy.” Isaac and Winecoff expanded on the letter in a post at the Duck of Minerva.
The more than 1,000 letter signees support the Brennan Center for Justice’s recommendations for securing the elections, which includes universal vote by mail, expanded early voting, polling place modifications, and expanded online voter registration. The report also recommends that Congress appropriate funds to ensure states have the resources needed to make these adjustments before November.
“To say what we have said to the broad public can hopefully have some effect,” said Isaac. “To hear ourselves say this is empowering in another way. It reminds us that our scholarship and teaching matters, and has relevance, and that the learning that we stand for can help to make the world a better place—or at least to forestall some of its potential disasters.”