The Election Could Be Chaotic. Why Is Trump’s Campaign Trying To Make It Worse?
Held last weekend, the Puerto Rican gubernatorial primary may have raised the bar for the most turbulent election in a year already marked by plenty of baffling balloting. It’s also a likely preview of what will happen across the rest of America in November.
Some Puerto Rico voters stood in line for hours to cast their ballots, risking exposure to the coronavirus and extreme tropical heat, The New York Times reported. The long lines were caused, in part, because ballots were not delivered on time to some polling places. Eventually, the territory’s election commission stepped in and postponed the election until next weekend in areas where insufficient ballots were available—though the Puerto Rican Supreme Court will ultimately decide whether votes cast last weekend in those places will count or if they must be tossed, according to the Times.
It is a mess. And not an isolated one. Georgia’s June 9 primary election broke turnout records despite the pandemic but was marred by long lines and widespread voter confusion. Georgia poll workers were calling in sick and some polling places had to be relocated at the last minute to accommodate social distancing requirements. New York State is still not finished counting the mail-in ballots it received for its primary election, and two races remain undecided. The election was held on June 23.
Perhaps it is a blessing that this slow-motion election train wreck has so far had relatively low stakes—ultimately, there just aren’t that many people who care about the outcome of the Democratic primary for New York’s 12th congressional district. Former vice president Joe Biden, meanwhile, had the higher-stakes Democratic presidential primary race well in hand before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
But as November’s general election approaches, the above factors and many others could combine to make the almost inevitable post-election chaos seem even worse. Millions of Americans who haven’t been paying close attention to messes that unfolded in New York and Puerto Rico this summer might wake up on November 4 expecting to know who won the presidential election. They are unlikely to have an answer, as it will take days or perhaps weeks to count all mail-in ballots and certify
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