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Election 2020 Is Poised To Be First Held Mostly By Mail. What You Need To Know, How Prepared California Is And The Logistical Challenges For States And Feds

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 13: A postal vehicles sits in front of a United State Postal Service facility on August 13, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.  President Donald Trump said today that he opposes additional funding for the Postal Service because the lack of additional funding would make it more difficult to deliver mail-in ballots. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images
A postal vehicles sits in front of a United State Postal Service facility on August 13, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.

While voters will still be able to cast their ballot at in-person polling locations, the reality of the COVID pandemic is that the vast majority of people will likely vote by mail in the November election.

While voters will still be able to cast their ballot at in-person polling locations, the reality of the COVID pandemic is that the vast majority of people will likely vote by mail in the November election.

And despite President Trump’s attempts to delegitimize the process by making unfounded claimsthat there will be widespread voter fraud and even suggesting a delay of the election until people could safely vote in person again -- an idea that would be basically impossible because the election date is enshrined in the Constitution and would require an act of Congress to change -- the vast majority of states have been beefing up their infrastructure to handle the influx of vote-by-mail ballots. Here in California, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill in June mandating all registered voters be sent a ballot by mail. And the day where you’ll be seeing your ballot show up in the mail is coming fast – elections officials will be looking to finalize voter addresses as early as Labor Day and ballots will need to be sent by early October.

There are a number of states that already have high percentages of voters who vote-by-mail, and thus are better prepared infrastructure-wise, but election experts across the country still have concerns about some of the technical, logistical and security challenges that an election conducted mostly by mail will create for election officials at every level of government. The process of collecting and counting tens of thousands of ballots in a transparent way will be a heavy lift, and there are concerns at the local and state level about everything from having enough staff to collect and count all the ballots to simply making sure that enough ballots get printed for everyone who requested one by mail.

Today on AirTalk, we’ll chat with a panel of expert guests who will talk about local and state efforts to prepare for the general election, the practical and logistical challenges a vote-by-mail effort the scale of which we’re looking at in November. If you have questions about the vote-by-mail process, join our live conversation at 866-893-5722.

You can find more information on state voting at vote.ca.gov.

Guests:

Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State;  he tweets

Libby Denkmann, KPCC/LAist reporter covering politics; she tweets

Fernando Guerra, professor of political science and Chicano/Latino studies and director of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University; member of the KPCC Board of Trustees

Nathaniel Persily, professor of law at Stanford University, where he is the co-director of the Stanford Cyber Policy Center and the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project; he tweets

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