Yesterday’s primary elections were a referendum on the nation’s readiness for mail-in voting in November’s general election as much as the candidates themselves— and the results were middling.
In remote voting’s first big test of 2020, eight states and the District of Columbia went to the polls yesterday. Five of those states had pushed back their primaries to June 2 due to the pandemic.
The nation’s patchwork of “no-excuse” absentee voting, mail-in voting and early voting has been complicated by politics, legal questions, ballot delivery delays as the Postal Service struggles to keep up and other logistical challenges.
As local officials encouraged voters to participate in expanded mail-in-balloting, pandemic voting protocols included social distancing at the polls, waived absentee-excuse rules, and in DC, allowing voters to cast their ballot at any polling place in the city.
Voters encountered failed voting machines in Pennsylvania, thousands of missing mail-in ballots in DC, and long lines in Baltimore exacerbated by reduced polling locations and social distancing. Some polling stations closed well after midnight.
Eighty-six percent fewer voting locations than normal were open in DC, and 90 percent fewer in Indianapolis. Only six voting locations were open in Baltimore.