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    ProPublica’s Pandemic Guide to Making Sure Your Vote Counts

    Here’s what you can do ahead of time to be prepared for the 2020 election.

    Tell Us If You Have Trouble Voting This Year

    Are you a voter? A poll worker? An election administrator? We want to hear from you about any problems you’re experiencing or witnessing in the voting process.

    What the Post Office Needs to Survive a Pandemic Election

    Fueled by the president’s unfounded claims about rampant voter fraud, and reports of equipment being removed, the plight of the United States Postal Service has captured America’s attention. Will it collapse? Here’s what you need to know.

    Latest Stories

    Electionland 2020: USPS Mailers, Pandemic Voting, Get Out the Vote Efforts and More

    New From ProPublica

    No Democrats Allowed: A Conservative Lawyer Holds Secret Voter Fraud Meetings With State Election Officials

    The Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky, whose work about voting fraud has been discredited, has been conducting private meetings for Republicans only. Read the story.

    ProPublica’s Pandemic Guide to Making Sure Your Vote Counts

    Here’s what you can do now to be prepared for the 2020 election. Read the story.

    Poorly Protected Postal Workers Are Catching COVID-19 by the Thousands. It’s One More Threat to Voting by Mail.

    More than 50,000 workers have taken time off for virus-related reasons, slowing mail delivery. The Postal Service doesn’t test employees or check their temperatures, and its contact tracing is erratic. Read the story.

    Poorly Protected Postal Workers Are Catching COVID-19 by the Thousands. It’s One More Threat to Voting by Mail.

    Shoshana Gordon/ProPublica; source images: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Postal Service and Wikimedia Commons

    For months, one postal worker had been doing all she could to protect herself from COVID-19. She wore a mask long before it was required at her plant in St. Paul, Minnesota. She avoided the lunch room, where she saw little social distancing, and ate in her car.

    The stakes felt especially high. Her husband, a postal worker in the same facility, was at high risk because his immune system is compromised by a condition unrelated to the coronavirus. And the 20-year veteran of the U.S. Postal Service knew that her job, operating a machine that sorts mail by ZIP code, would be vital to processing the flood of mail-in ballots expected this fall.

    By mid-August, more than 20 workers in her building had tested positive for the coronavirus. Then, in a list of talking points on her supervisor’s desk, she spotted a reference to a new positive case at the plant. She had heard that someone she’d worked with closely a few days earlier was out sick, but no one at USPS had told her to quarantine, and no contact tracer had reached out to her. Although USPS’ protocol is to tell workers when they’ve been exposed to COVID-19, that didn’t happen, she and another postal worker familiar with the case said.

    Asking around, she learned that a colleague she’d partnered with to load mail into the sorting machine had been infected. She phoned her doctor, who advised her to quarantine and get tested. Later that week, she tested positive and began suffering body aches, a sore throat and fatigue.

    “They should’ve told anybody who worked with him, ‘You need to go home.’ What is it going to take, somebody to die in the building before they take it seriously?” said the worker, who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation.

    In recent weeks, furors over Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s cost-cutting initiatives, and over President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated warnings of voter fraud, have overshadowed a significant threat to the Postal Service’s ability to handle the expected tens of millions of mail-in ballots this fall: a rapid rise in the number of workers sidelined by COVID-19.

    The total number of postal workers testing positive has more than tripled from about 3,100 cases in June to 9,600 in September, and at least 83 postal workers have died from complications of COVID-19, according to USPS. Moreover, internal USPS data shows that about 52,700 of the agency’s 630,000 employees, or more than 8%, have taken time off at some point during the pandemic because they were sick, or had to quarantine or care for family members.

    High rates of absence could slow ballot delivery in key states, especially if there’s a second wave of the coronavirus, as some epidemiologists predict. Twenty-eight states, including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida, require mail-in ballots to arrive by Election Day to be counted.

    Even in a normal year, absentee levels of this magnitude “would have a dramatic effect on the mission of the postal service,” said Alan Kessler, an attorney who served on the Postal Service’s Board of Governors during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, including as chairman from 2008 to 2011. “When people ask me about November, my biggest concern right now is exactly that — the on-time delivery of mail.” Kessler is a former finance vice chair of the Democratic National Committee.

    What vacant positions have been filled at USPS have been filled by less experienced temporary workers. Restrictions on overtime pay under DeJoy may have prevented full-time workers at some facilities from adding hours to pick up some of the slack. While USPS has nearly $14 billion in cash, it reserves some of that funding to pre-pay employee pensions, and it is projected to run out of money next spring. On Thursday, a federal judge in Washington state temporarily halted operational changes that have slowed mail delivery, finding that “at the heart of DeJoy’s and the Postal Service’s actions is voter disenfranchisement.”

    As the St. Paul worker’s case illustrates, the Postal Service’s half-hearted precautions against COVID-19 have contributed to the problem. Its efforts to limit the virus’s spread in the workplace fall short of recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unlike Amazon, which relies on USPS to help deliver its packages, the Postal Service doesn’t test workers or check their temperatures, depending instead on self-reporting. When employees get sick, USPS sometimes neglects to tell co-workers, and its efforts at contact tracing have been inconsistent and understaffed.

    Reflecting these shortcomings, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has received more than 250 coronavirus-related complaints against the Postal Service since March, more than twice the number filed against private employers in the same industry like Amazon, FedEx and the UPS. Amazon, which has almost 250,000 more workers than the postal service, had 117 complaints. The complaints against USPS paint a worrisome picture. They typically allege failures to maintain social distancing, enforce mask wearing or inform workers when colleagues have the virus.

    The tally doesn’t include open complaints yet to be made public, including one by another worker in the same St. Paul building. That July complaint, obtained by ProPublica, accused USPS of “not communicating and informing employees that may have potentially been exposed to positive COVID-19 employees,” as well as inadequate ventilation and six other hazards. The Postal Service responded to OSHA that it traces contacts of all employees who test positive and encourages ailing employees to stay home. Nevertheless, OSHA told the complainant that it will inspect the facility as soon as possible.

    The Postal Service has been adamant that it can handle a nationwide increase in voting by mail in the general election. Even a mass shift to mail-in ballots would represent a small portion of its overall volume.

    Still, DeJoy, a major donor to President Donald Trump and the Republican Party, acknowledged in congressional testimony last month that COVID-19-related absences had upended mail service. “Across the country, our employee availability is down 3 to 4% on average,” DeJoy said. “But the issue is in some of the hot spots in the country, areas like Philadelphia and Detroit — there’s probably 20 [other areas] the averages cover — they could be down 20%. And that is contributing to the delivery problem that we’re having.”

    The Postal Service referred us to an April 30 statement on its website. Its COVID-19 leadership team “is focusing on employee and customer safety in conjunction with operational and business continuity during this unprecedented epidemic,” according to the statement. “We continue to follow the strategies and measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health departments.”

    Among its initiatives, the statement said, the Postal Service is supplying its more than 30,000 locations with masks, gloves and cleaning supplies. Employees who can’t maintain social distance must wear masks. The service has reduced employee contact with the public by eliminating a rule that customers must sign mobile devices for deliveries, and it has updated its leave policy to allow workers to take extra time off for illness and child care.

    Postal workers who test positive are supposed to tell their supervisor, who should alert a nurse responsible for contact tracing. But communication is sometimes lacking. “They have the occupational nurse doing the contact tracing, but sometimes there’s no contact with the worker. And some managers don’t report [the case] to the tracking. Some managers tell people, ‘You don’t sound sick, come to work,’” said Omar Gonzalez, western regional coordinator at the American Postal Worker Union. “So we don’t really know what to rely on.”

    One reason that the system breaks down is a shortage of contact tracers. USPS, which does not provide medical care to workers, employs about 160 nurses. Alongside other administrative duties, they are supposed to register COVID-19 cases and interview workers when they get sick. In the New York district, one nurse has been responsible for contact tracing for about 8,200 employees; in Detroit, the ratio is two nurses per 11,600 workers; and in Atlanta, one for 12,500. Facilities in all three districts have seen coronavirus outbreaks. USPS has reemployed 10 former agency nurses to assist with contact tracing, according to a spokesperson.

    “To use the word contact tracing is a joke,” said Jonathan Smith, president of the New York metro area’s postal worker union.

    Coronavirus outbreaks in several areas have correlated with slower delivery times. First-class delivery has slowed since March, with notable lags in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, Houston and Southern California, according to data from GrayHair Software, which tracks postal analytics.

    COVID-19 has “caused severe disruptions to on-time delivery in many parts of the country,” the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs reported this week. In late March and early April, it found a spike in cases in Michigan, “especially in the Detroit area,” led to a “notable drop in on-time delivery.”

    In Philadelphia, where more than 235 postal workers have tested positive, local media outlets reported unsorted mail piling up in postal facilities and carriers unable to complete routes even after working extra hours. Some residents said they went two to three weeks without receiving mail. In April, COVID-19-related delays in Detroit facilities slowed delivery of primary ballots for parts of northwest Ohio, prompting Ohio’s secretary of state to call for in-state processing of all ballots. In Michigan’s August primary election, more than 6,400 residents’ votes weren’t counted because they arrived after the deadline, though it’s not clear whether COVID-19 was a major factor.

    Internal USPS data from its southern region in mid-August shows the impact of the coronavirus on workers. In Atlanta, more than 900 postal workers had been infected with COVID-19 or had to quarantine. More than 550 workers were affected in Houston and an additional 485 in South Florida.

    COVID-19 outbreaks have strained postal offices that had inadequate staffing even before the pandemic, said Michael Caref, national business agent of the Illinois chapter of the National Association of Letter Carriers. “Now you’re seeing crisis levels in some areas.”

    In March, the Postal Service donated 500,000 N95 masks “in excess of our needs” for distribution to hospitals and other critical workers, according to a draft letter from the Board of Governors to members of Congress that was made public by American Oversight. However, the service doesn’t provide N95 masks, which are considered especially effective at filtering out virus particles, to most of its own employees. A Postal Service spokesperson said USPS supplies N95 masks to employees who require them. Other workers receive surgical masks.

    The CDC and OSHA have both released guidance on how employers should protect workers, though it does not carry the power of law. According to the CDC, “businesses and employers can prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 within the workplace.”

    The CDC advises employers to “consider conducting daily in-person or virtual health checks (e.g., symptom and/or temperature screening) of employees before they enter the facility.” The Postal Service doesn’t conduct those checks. The onus falls on workers to stay home if they notice symptoms, get tested, report back on results and recall whom they were in contact with.

    At Amazon, which has also been criticized for failing to protect its employees during the pandemic, precautions are more stringent. According to an Amazon spokesperson, the company does daily temperature checks and has installed thermal cameras at some of its sites. When an employee is exposed, the company “immediately kicks-off contact tracing to determine if anyone was exposed to that individual, and we inform those employees right away and ask them to quarantine for 14 days with pay,” the spokesperson said.

    FedEx’s protections also appear more robust than the Postal Service’s. FedEx checks temperatures of employees at some of its sites, and it has expanded testing to 43 locations since July, according to a company spokesperson.

    The CDC advises employers to collaborate with local and state health departments on contact tracing. According to its guidance, employees who are asymptomatic but have been within about 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time should self-isolate and quarantine for 14 days. Often, contact tracing is needed to identify those employees.

    But even when USPS employees report positive tests, supervisors don’t always follow through. In August, an asymptomatic employee in Flint, Michigan, tested positive for COVID-19 and told a supervisor as well as a few co-workers. The worker stopped coming in, but the supervisor didn’t inform USPS’ medical unit until four days later — after the exposed workers had told their union, which in turn reported the case to management. Michael Mize, the local postal union president, said he pushed the supervisor to report it. A USPS nurse started contact tracing on the fifth day.

    “That’s way too slow,” said George Rutherford, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine.

    Because most people infected with COVID-19 often begin shedding large amounts of virus four or five days after they’re exposed, even if they’re asymptomatic, co-workers in Flint might have transmitted the disease before the nurse contacted them, Rutherford said. “That’s why you gotta get on this stuff quickly.” According to CDC guidance, exposed co-workers should be contacted and tested within 24 hours.

    USPS and union officials had a Zoom call to discuss what went wrong in Flint, Mize said. “Luckily we don’t have any major outbreaks because of any failures that happened,” he said. “If things aren’t handled appropriately, you’re relying on good fortune.”

    Roscoe Woods, a Detroit-area postal union president, said that USPS sometimes lacks up-to-date contact information, complicating the task of contact tracers. In addition, employees often don’t know the surnames of exposed co-workers. “You’re trying to trace down eight people and all their contact information is bad,” said Woods, who has stepped in to help with contact tracing in the past.

    When employees are sidelined because of the coronavirus, USPS can fill in some of the gaps by hiring employees who aren’t in the union. But the Postal Service has long had trouble hiring and retaining temporary or non-career employees, and union representatives say the Postal Service has been slow to fill these roles during the pandemic.

    In February, the Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General faulted the agency for failing to recruit and retain nonunion workers. In 2019, the annual turnover rate for non-career employees, who constitute 21% of the workforce, was 38.5%; the average tenure for workers who left their jobs was just 81 days. One of the top reasons for leaving: Workers said that supervisors didn’t treat them with respect. The jobs filled by these workers are physically strenuous, pay about $17 an hour, lack benefits and often require an inconsistent work schedule. It can take weeks to hire and train them.

    “The hiring process is really slow,” Caref said. “And if you have a person that says they want to work, the person is not prepared for a month after they’ve been hired. They really need to figure that out.”

    Virus-related OSHA complaints from around the country reflect some of the dangers and frustrations postal workers have faced throughout the pandemic.

    “The station and the vehicles have not been cleaned and sanitized. Bleach spray bottles were provided at one time but the employees were not provided material to wipe down surfaces and the bottles have since broken,” reads a complaint filed from Houston on June 18. “Employees in the vehicles do not have hand sanitizer or another method to cleanse hands while away from the station.”

    In a postal facility in Smithtown, New York, “the air conditioning has not been working properly for the last 3-4 weeks (blowing 81 degrees at the vent) which has made working in the building uncomfortable and may be contributing to employees not wanting to [wear] their masks,” a complaint stated in mid-July. It’s unclear what action, if any, OSHA took on the Houston and Smithtown complaints, which are now closed.

    Since the worker in St. Paul began quarantining in mid-August, there have been at least 11 COVID-19 cases at her workplace, according to Postal Service emails obtained by ProPublica. Overall, at least 33 out of more than 1,000 workers have tested positive at the building since the start of the pandemic.

    In USPS’ Northland District, which covers Minnesota — including the St. Paul plant — and western Wisconsin, at least 148 workers have tested positive. “We had a record breaking day with COVID-19 positive cases today. 18 employees must be quarantined. This is not a good record,” reads an Aug. 25 email from USPS management to unions regarding the Northland District.

    “We had 4 new COVID-19 cases reported today. Things aren’t getting any better,” management said in an email two days later.

    No one replaced the St. Paul postal worker while she was out. She returned to the job this month, even though she was still recovering and low on energy, because she needed the money. After two weeks of sick leave, her days off were unpaid, and her husband hasn’t worked for four months because of an unrelated health condition. Plus, the situation at the plant has improved somewhat: Social distancing has become mandatory in the break rooms, and employees were warned that not wearing masks could jeopardize their jobs.

    She also felt a civic obligation, because she’ll be responsible for processing thousands of ballots in the upcoming election.

    “That’s another reason why I want to go back to work,” she said. “I want to make sure the ballots get run.”

    Jack Gillum and Rachel Glickhouse contributed reporting.


    No Democrats Allowed: A Conservative Lawyer Holds Secret Voter Fraud Meetings With State Election Officials

    Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, confirms his attendance at a meeting held by Hans von Spakovsky. (Obtained and highlighted by ProPublica.)

    Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky, whose work about voting fraud has been discredited, has been conducting private meetings for Republicans only.

    Electionland 2020: Voting Begins, Facebook Rules, Pandemic Election Plans and More

    New from ProPublica

    Facebook’s Political Ad Ban Also Threatens Ability to Spread Accurate Information on How to Vote

    Two months out from Election Day, Facebook’s changes to its political ad rules cause additional problems for the government officials running the vote. Read the story.

    Please Tell Us If You Have Any Trouble Voting This Year

    Are you a voter? A poll worker? An election administrator? We want to hear from you about any problems you’re experiencing or witnessing in the voting process. Read the story.

    Facebook’s Political Ad Ban Also Threatens Ability to Spread Accurate Information on How to Vote

    Doris Liou for ProPublica

    Facebook this week said it would bar political ads in the seven days before the presidential election. That could prevent dirty tricks or an “October surprise” and give watchdogs time to fact-check statements. But rather than responding with glee, election officials say the move leaves them worried.

    Included in the ban are ads purchased by election officials — secretaries of state and boards of elections — who use Facebook to inform voters about how voting will work. The move effectively removes a key communication channel just as millions of Americans will begin to navigate a voting process different from any they’ve experienced before.

    “Every state’s elections office has a very small communications office that is doing everything that they can to get the word out about the election,” said Gabe Rosenberg, the communications director for Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill (who is not related to this reporter). “This just makes it a little bit harder, for, as far as I can see, no real gain.”

    The rule change was announced Thursday in a Facebook post by the site’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Previously, Facebook’s rules for fact-checking certain campaign ads but not others have come under fire. Taken together, they demonstrate how Facebook has become an integral piece of the American democratic process — but one that is controlled by the decisions of a private corporation, which can set rules in its own interest.

    For elections administrators, the last few days before an election can be the most stressful and when communication is needed most. They remind voters to mail back their absentee ballots and when Election Day voting begins and ends. Many of these ads can still be run under Facebook’s new rules, as long as they’re set up more than a week before the election.

    Amid the coronavirus pandemic, local election offices are scrambling to find new ways for eligible voters to cast their ballots. Voting methods and locations will be changing fast, even within the seven-day window included in Facebook’s ban.

    A few days before Connecticut’s primary election on Aug. 11, Hurricane Isaias struck the state, knocking out power to more than a million people. That led Connecticut’s governor to make a subtle, but crucial, change to the state’s election rules on the day before the election. He instructed elections officials to count mail-in ballots that had been postmarked by election day, instead of only those that had arrived by election day.

    With power still out to tens of thousands of people and businesses, “it was really important that we told people that they only needed to postmark their ballots by election day, because the little bit of news they were getting was that the Postal Service was down,” Rosenberg said. The Postal Service’s sorting hub in Hartford had lost power for a time after the storm.

    “The only way we can notify people of something changing that late in the process is via Facebook and Instagram,” he said, citing the decline of local print news and the power outage making TV out of the question. The office spent about $2,000 on ads in the week before the state’s primary, according to Facebook’s published data.

    The Connecticut secretary of the state ran Facebook ads last month to keep voters up to date after a hurricane, power failures and a last-minute executive order to change rules about absentee ballots.

    There are other scenarios under which election administrators might have an urgent need to communicate changes to voters. Dozens of cases that could affect voting rules are wending their way through state courts, including ones that govern how mail-in ballots are processed and whether felons are able to vote. A key decision could easily be made just days before Nov. 3.

    Just this week, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative announced a $250 million donation meant, in part, to help expand voting locations, which could result in new polling places opening late in the process.

    Facebook’s newly announced rules only apply to new ads about “social issues, elections or politics.” Ads placed beforehand can continue running.

    There is some basis for the timing: The last few days before an election can be rife with tactics meant to avoid scrutiny.

    Without a key way to communicate how polling places are changing, the chances mount that potential voters will miss important information.

    Facebook said it is trying to help elections officials, not hinder them. “We’re committed to supporting the important work election administrators do to make voting possible,” Tom Channick, a Facebook spokesperson, said in a statement. He cited new Facebook tools for election administrators, including “Voting Alerts” and a page on Facebook that offers information on how to vote.

    Unlike ads, the alerts don’t appear on Instagram, only on Facebook. They appear on the voting information page, but they wouldn’t show up in a user’s news feed unless they had previously subscribed to updates from the election administrators’ Facebook page. And Facebook won’t let election administrators use the voting alert tool unless their Facebook pages do not include the name or a photograph of the officeholder. Connecticut’s page, for instance, does include such information, as do the pages of elections officials in many other states.

    Facebook told ProPublica that it’s sticking to its decision to include election-administration ads in the ban, but has offered to help administrators change their pages to be able to use Voting Alerts and says it’s considering ways to show the alerts more broadly.

    Rosenberg says an easy solution would be to exempt election administrators’ ads from the temporary ban — or to stop counting their ads as political and forcing them to include “Paid for by” disclaimers like ads from campaigns.

    That’s a solution that Facebook has used before. Facebook exempted news organizations’ ads that promoted news stories from being treated as political after pushback that the site was conflating ads for journalism with political propaganda. Facebook didn’t, however, exempt ads from the U.S. Census Bureau that urged people to fill out the census.

    Rosenberg says he’s pressed Facebook for an answer about why their political ads rules apply to election administrators’ ads. He hasn’t gotten one.

    “These aren’t political ads. These are the basic civic building blocks of a democracy,” Rosenberg says. “We’re just trying to make sure that voters have the info that they need in order to participate.”

    Electionland 2020: Mail Ballot Challenges, Election Security, New Legislation and More

    New From ProPublica

    Reporting Recipe: How to Report on Voting by Mail

    Many states are expanding mail-in voting this year. Here’s how local reporters can cover this issue while educating voters. Read the story.

    Reporting Recipe: How to Report on Voting by Mail

    An election worker sorting mail-in ballots in Renton, Washington, for the state’s primary election on Aug. 4. (David Ryder/Getty Images)

    Many states are expanding mail-in voting this year. Here’s how local reporters can cover this issue while educating voters.

    Electionland 2020: Nursing Home Voting, Election Guides, Creative Enfranchisement and More

    The Latest From ProPublica

    Hundreds of Thousands of Nursing Home Residents May Not Be Able to Vote in November Because of the Pandemic

    Renowned inventor Walter Hutchins has voted in every presidential election since 1952. This year, as many states stopped sending teams to help seniors vote, his nursing home was on coronavirus lockdown and his streak was in jeopardy. Read the story.

    Hundreds of Thousands of Nursing Home Residents May Not Be Able to Vote in November Because of the Pandemic

    Sally Deng, special to ProPublica

    Renowned inventor Walter Hutchins has voted in every presidential election since 1952. This year, as many states stopped sending teams to help seniors vote, his nursing home was on coronavirus lockdown and his streak was in jeopardy.

    Electionland 2020: DeJoy Under Fire, Election Administrators, Pandemic Voting and More

    The Latest From ProPublica

    What the Post Office Needs to Survive a Pandemic Election

    Fueled by the president’s unfounded claims about rampant mail-in voter fraud, and reports of sorting equipment being removed, the plight of the United States Postal Service has captured America’s attention. Will it collapse? Here’s what you need to know.

    For Election Administrators, Death Threats Have Become Part of the Job

    In a polarized society, the bureaucrats who operate the machinery of democracy are taking flak from all sides. More than 20 have resigned or retired since March 1, thinning their ranks at a time when they are most needed. Read the story.

    For Election Administrators, Death Threats Have Become Part of the Job

    Photo Illustration: Lisa Larson-Walker/ProPublica; Source Image: Derek R. Henkle/AFP/Getty Images

    In a polarized society, the bureaucrats who operate the machinery of democracy are taking flak from all sides. More than 20 have resigned or retired since March 1, thinning their ranks at a time when they are most needed.

    Electionland 2020: USPS Chaos, Election Cybersecurity, August Voting and More

    What’s Happening to the Postal Service?

    • On Friday, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy reassigned or displaced 23 executives, which analysts say centralized power around DeJoy. He claimed that his recent sweeping changes to the Postal Service aren’t at the president’s behest. (The Washington Post, The Guardian)

    • Financial disclosures revealed that DeJoy still holds a multimillion-dollar stake in a USPS contractor; experts said the stake is likely a conflict of interest and were shocked that agency ethics officers approved it. (CNN)

    Electionland 2020: Masks at the Polls, Election Funding, Ex-Felon Enfranchisement and More

    Voting During a Pandemic

    • The CDC says Milwaukee didn’t see a spike in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations or deaths after the April Wisconsin primary. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

    • More than 200 Ohio health care professionals sent a letter to the secretary of state calling for minimum requirements for polling places in the fall, including enforced social distancing and a mask mandate. (Cleveland.com)

    • Two employees at a Kansas county clerk office were diagnosed with COVID-19, and the other two employees were quarantined before this week’s primary. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

    Electionland 2020: Accessibility Lawsuits, Mail Voting Expansion, USPS Woes and More

    Voting During a Pandemic

    • There are a host of anticipated problems ahead of the general election, including poll worker shortages, mail ballot rejections, dislocated voters and funding shortfalls. (The Guardian, Politico)

    • A voter registration project launched by a Massachusetts doctor is being adopted by health care providers around the country to register their patients to vote. (The New York Times)

    • Maryland is short nearly 14,000 election judges and election boards are struggling to fill the vacancies, which may lead to polling place closures. (Baltimore Sun)

    Electionland 2020: Inside the EAC, Poll Worker Woes, Cybersecurity and More

    New From ProPublica and The Atlantic

    How Voter-Fraud Hysteria and Partisan Bickering Ate American Election Oversight

    The federal Election Assistance Commission has neglected key responsibilities or ceded them to other agencies — and two of its four commissioners are parroting the president’s unfounded warnings about vote by mail. Read the story.

    About Electionland

    ProPublica’s Electionland project covers problems that prevent eligible voters from casting their ballots during the 2020 elections. Our coalition of newsrooms around the country are investigating issues related to voter registration, pandemic-related changes to voting, the shift to vote-by-mail, cybersecurity, voter education, misinformation, and more.

    Questions? Read our FAQ.

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