Updated: Oct 2, 2020
It’s illogical to think that the most protected person on earth catching coronavirus won’t have an impact on the election. For the millions who already voted, they cast an uninformed vote because they lacked the best information available. More than a million people voted before September ended. Half the states have already allowed voting on an election many weeks away. Indeed this is a trend, with the nationwide share of ballots cast by mail increasing from 12 to almost 25% between 2004 and 2016 I’ve never voted by mail, and this year I certainly will not. As I wrote Sept. 12 at Alpha News: “Mailed ballots go missing, get delivered late, are rejected because signatures can’t be verified, or are torn in transit. Across America, more than a half-million ballots were rejected as “non-conforming” in primaries. And that’s only counting 30 states surveyed. Minnesota had almost 10,000 ballots rejected and over 100,000 were tossed out in California. In 2016, about 320,000 mailed ballots were rejected nationwide during the general election. Many expect that number to approach 1 million in 2020.” An informed voter does not vote early. They know late-breaking developments could alter a decision. Increased early voting means more voters make their decisions with less information than those who wait until the first Tuesday in November.” Bottom line: When you vote early, you sacrifice power for convenience. I am also not worried about catching COVID-19 from voting. Data continually indicates in-person voting poses virtually no health hazards. Going to Walmart, Home Depot or partaking in mass protests is more dangerous than your local polling place. When I voted in the primaries last month, I finished my civic duty in three minutes. And I came away impressed. Poll workers had the facility immaculate and organized to ensure safety. There were masks, hand sanitizer and space between voting booths. I’ve never missed an election in 22 years of eligibility across five states. It’s a few minutes every other year. And I always vote on Election Day because, despite a busy schedule, I make time. Returning to the top, today FiveThirtyEight analyzed how the president’s positive test affects the election. They noted that Americans believe COVID-19 is No. 1 issue facing the country, but it’s No. 2 among potential Trump voters. Ardent Trump supporters won’t abandon him because he’s moved to Walter Reed, and the president’s detractors surely have no sympathy because of the tough news. Political Scientist Larry Sabato agrees, tweeting "Trump’s voters will never defect, and the majority of Americans who oppose Trump see his irresponsibility on masks and serious failures on COVID to be underlined by his illness." But are there apolitical folks and reluctant conservatives still persuadable in either direction? While some of them may not be comfortable handing four more years to a man potentially facing a health crisis, it’s also possible Trump will be ready to get back to work in two weeks. And yet through impeachment, urban mayhem, economic growth, then a severe economic and health crisis, Trump’s public opinion rating has stayed between 40 and 43%; meanwhile in a shaky year, presidential election polling has been as steady as ever. Who knows? I do know it'd be nice if no one had tossed ballots in the mail last month.
AJ Kaufman is an expert political analyst who covers matters of national importance, as well as the St. Cloud Rox, the Northwoods League and collegiate hockey for KACMEDIA.