Coronavirus and election law

UPDATES FOR 3/15/2020 AND BEYOND. I’ll be focusing more on news reports and information related to how coronavirus will impact elections and campaign finance.

FEC HEADQUARTERS CLOSED. FEC. “Effective as of 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 13, FEC headquarters will be closed to visitors until further notice: Agency operations will continue. Please stay tuned for updates.”

POSTPONING ELECTIONS. NYT. “So how much disruption can voters expect in the coming months? And how freely can local, state and federal authorities switch up the timing and other details of elections? We took a crack at answering some of the questions that may be on your mind.”

ELECTION DATES AND DEVELOPMENTS. BFN. “The short answer is no, a president cannot defer an election unilaterally. And even with support in much of Congress and the states, it would be extremely difficult, perhaps logistically impossible, to postpone the presidential general election.”

VIRTUAL CAMPAIGNING. ABC. “As the 2020 election cycle enters an unprecedented phase of virtual campaigning and social distancing, candidates and party officials are wrestling with how to best adjust amid the rapid spread of the coronavirus.”

CORONAVIRUS CAMPAIGNING. LAT. “In the U.S. and around the world, the coronavirus outbreak has begun constricting the traditional pomp and practice of democracy, halting candidates’ and organizers’ ability to campaign and get their message out, while threatening voters’ ability to get to the polls and safely exercise their rights.”

CHANGED PLANS. POL. “Coronavirus is throwing a huge wrench in Joe Biden’s fundraising plans just as he’s preparing to build up his campaign for a general election fight against President Donald Trump.”

FL: POLLING LOCATIONS CHANGE. CO. “Concerns over the coronavirus have prompted changes in polling places for the presidential primaries in some Central Florida counties.”

GA: ELECTION DELAY. AJC. “Georgia elections officials postponed the presidential primary scheduled for next week because of the coronavirus pandemic, becoming the second state forced to push back a vote in the race for the White House due to the outbreak.”

IA: CHANGES COMING. WCF. “Against a backdrop of a coronavirus pandemic, Iowa’s chief election official is adamant that ‘Election Day will be Election Day.'”

IL: ELECTION CHANGES. CT. “City and suburban election officials are scrambling to find new election judges and polling places after they opted out of Tuesday’s election amid fears about the spread of the new coronavirus.”

LA: PRIMARY DELAY. TA. “The presidential primary elections in Louisiana slated for April will be delayed by two months, the latest in a series of dramatic steps government leaders have taken to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.”

MD: CORONAVIRUS AND STATE ELECTIONS. MDGOV. “Early voting for Maryland’s upcoming election will be held Thursday, April 16, 2020 through Thursday, April 23, 2020. Election Day is scheduled for Tuesday, April 28, 2020. As the election approaches, SBE will continue coordinating with federal and state health officials and will institute any appropriate safeguards to minimize the risk for voters and election workers.”

MD: SWEEPING REFORM MOVES. BSUN. “Maryland’s House of Delegates has passed a package of campaign finance reform legislation aimed at preventing corruption and helping the State Board of Elections investigate wrongdoing.”

NY: PETITION CHANGES SOUGHT. NY1. “Meanwhile, state and federal candidates in New York are more than two weeks into the process of petitioning to get on the ballot. Dozens have signed a letter penned by a Queens congressional candidate asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to suspend or amend the practice.”

NY: COMMISSION UNCONSTITUTIONAL. NYDN. “Justice Ralph Boniello ruled that the statute forming the nine-member Public Campaign Financing Commission — tasked last year with creating a $100 million public matching funds program for state elections — was ‘an improper and unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority.'”

NC: FUNDRAISERS PAUSED. NAO. “Gov. Roy Cooper has suspended in-person campaigning for his re-election as he leads the state’s response tothe coronavirus pandemic.”

OH: VOLUNTEERS SOUGHT. CNBC. Ohio is asking volunteers to sign up to ‘defend democracy’ and work at voting sites during Tuesday’s primary election amid the coronavirus outbreak, which is disproportionately targeting older people.”

WI: ELECTIONS COMMISSION MOVES ON POLLING LOCATIONS. WEC. “At a special meeting today, the Wisconsin Elections Commission took two actions designed to deal with concerns about COVID-19 Coronavirus in advance of the April 7 Spring Election and Presidential Preference Primary and the May 12 Special Election in Congressional District 7.”

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