States are racing to make changes to voting procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Voters are expected to cast an unprecedented deluge of mail-in ballots. President Trump has questioned the integrity of widespread mail-in voting and the fairness of the electoral process—and whether he will accept the results. His Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, has accused Mr. Trump of trying to steal the election by alleging voting by mail invites fraud. Foreign governments such as Russia are again waging online disinformation campaigns to influence the outcome, according to U.S. intelligence agencies.
Even after the vote, the outcome of the presidential election might not be known for days or weeks. Election officials are likely to need more time to count the historic numbers of mail ballots.
“I’m old. I’ve seen a lot of elections. I’ve never seen a situation where I’m as worried about having a valid, successful election,” said former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt, a Missouri Democrat, during a University of Pennsylvania law school panel discussion this week. The 79-year-old cited the pandemic, which is making many people change their usual method of voting, and the country being as divided as any time “maybe since the Civil War.”
As the voting season kicks off—North Carolina began mailing ballots to voters Friday—Republican and Democratic election officials are advising people to vote early, either by mail or in person. “We want people to get ahead of the curve,” said Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican.