What Will a Presidential Election Look Like During a Pandemic?


(Photo/Tiffany Tertipes/Unsplash)

Alex Nowakoski, Online Staff Writer

“This is the most important election of our lifetimes.” Although politicians repeat this phrase every election cycle in hopes of bringing in more supporters and people to the polls, it seems to carry extra weight this November 3rd presidential election. When considering the magnitude of issues such as the current racial reckoning in America and the COVID-19 pandemic, voters must realize that the candidate they choose to elect for the next four years will have the responsibility of bringing our country out of a turbulent period and shaping the nation’s direction. 

The severity of the coronavirus to the future of the presidency is a controversial subject at PDS. One student who would prefer to remain anonymous noted that they believe COVID-19 “will be an issue of the past for the previous administration,” due to any vaccines that might be coming. Senior Abby Weinstein disagreed, though, stating that “even if God came down and handed you a vaccine ready for the public today, it still wouldn’t change much in the next few months… I’m by no means an anti-vaxxer, but I’m not about to get a vaccine that essentially appears out of nowhere that could have debilitating long-term effects. Many Americans, including Joe Biden, share those doubts.”

Senior John Akbari added that the pandemic has “left a lot that any future administration will have to handle. It has exacerbated wealth and racial divides and hurt a lot of vulnerable communities that will need help recovering.”

In addition to being one of the most important elections in recent memory, the 2020 presidential election may also be the strangest in the sense that many voters will not be going to the polls. Due to the health threat imposed by COVID-19, more people than ever are turning towards mail-in ballots as a method of voting. Despite the fact that mail-in voting is hardly a new concept in America, the drive to expand this option due to COVID-19 restrictions has caused serious debate across the political aisle. One student claimed that “we risk undermining our election if we heavily depend on [mail-in ballots],” though they did add that those who need to stay home due to health risks should be able to do so. 

In July, President Trump tweeted, “With Universal Mail-In Voting, 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history.”  This claim is only one from a long stream of similar comments from President Trump. He has, however, failed to provide any evidence as to how America is at an increased risk of having a flawed election, and these claims seem hypocritical when considering the fact that Trump himself has voted by mail in the past

On the other hand, Upper School History teacher Mr. McCrary stated that mail-in voting will have a positive effect on the election, saying, “I think mail-in-voting provides an opportunity for individuals who may not otherwise have a chance to participate in our election, it gives them a voice.” Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden furthered this opinion, tweeting in August that “every single eligible American should have the opportunity to vote-by-mail this November.” Along with creating a safer alternative to voting at the polls due to the health risks involved, many believe that the option of mail-in voting is a necessity this year due to the shortage of poll workers and the possibility of having fewer locations for people to vote. 

With Biden ahead in the national polls by an average of 7 points, he is the favorite to win the election. However, given that the result of the 2016 presidential election was different from what the polls predicted and all that has happened so far this year, it truly is still anyone’s game.