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03
APR

Can Vote-by-Mail Save US Elections from Coronavirus?

As millions of Americans hunker down to avoid the coronavirus, they’ve turned to technology to do business, keep in touch with family and stay somewhat social.But when it comes to voting in this year's presidential election, the solution to staying safe may be decidedly low-tech.As in snail mail. Most Americans 18 and older are used to gathering in person to cast their ballots at a local polling place. This year, faced with the prospect of mandatory lockdowns and social distancing, that’s likely to be too dangerous.Already, 14 states have postponed their primary election voting because of the virus – with the notable exception of Wisconsin, which will hold its primary contest Tuesday. These postponements have posed a major disruption to the normal presidential nominating process.So across the U.S., election officials are looking at mail ballots. Because voting can take place at home with little more than a pen and signature, vote-by-mail offers a way to both protect voters’ health and give all a chance to participate."We're talking about an emergency situation, but there is bipartisan support across the aisle for vote-by-mail election reform,” said Amber McReynolds, CEO of the National Vote at Home Institute, which promotes mail balloting."Considering what's going on with the coronavirus, maybe voters don't want to be exposed,” added McReynolds, a former director of elections in Denver, Colorado.Despite its allure, voting by mail would be a sea change for most of America. Skeptics and even some supporters question whether there’s enough time to put the mechanisms and security for widespread mail voting in place by November.“Facilitating a well-orchestrated vote-by-mail election is the equivalent of a logistical nightmare,” researchers Collier Fernekes and Rachel Orey wrote in an April 1 analysis for the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington research group.“And with a global pandemic sweeping the country, this logistical nightmare can only get worse,” they said, cautioning about possible voter confusion.The recent $2.4 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump includes $400 million to help elections officials adapt to the coronavirus.But proponents are pushing for far more, including Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate who have drafted bills to give all Americans the ability to vote by mail.National vote, run locallyWhile the United States will vote on November 3 to choose a president and members of Congress, the actual election machinery is run by state and local officials. They operate under a hodgepodge of different ...
01
APR

Trump Sees His Handling of COVID-19 as Path to Reelection

With the coronavirus death toll mounting in the U.S., the presidential election in November 2020 is now shaping up potentially as a referendum on how President Donald Trump is handling the COVID-19 pandemic. The president has not shied away from being political during this time of national crisis, and his campaign is seeking to capitalize on the image of the commander in chief holding forth during White House coronavirus briefings. White House Correspondent Patsy Widakuswara has this story.
01
APR

 Coronavirus Virtually Transforms US Campaigns

Social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19 is changing the tactics for political campaigns, especially for candidates running for president of the United States. VOA’s Steve Redisch examines the changing strategies and endangered traditions.
19
MAR

Sanders Supporters Say Coronavirus Justifies and Undermines his Presidential Campaign

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders reportedly is reassessing his presidential campaign after former Vice President Joe Biden’s dominating primary election victories this week effectively closed off any realistic path for Sanders to win the Democratic nomination. However, as VOA’s Brian Padden reports, many of Sanders’ most ardent supporters are unwilling to abandon their candidate’s progressive agenda - especially during the coronavirus pandemic.  
19
MAR

Some Americans Refuse to Abandon Losing Presidential Candidates

The U.S. presidential race is laser focused on the last two viable Democrats competing for their party’s nomination to challenge President Donald Trump in November. But what about the candidates who dropped out? VOA’s Carolyn Presutti found some die-hard supporters who refuse to give up on – or stop campaigning for – losing candidates.
18
MAR

Biden Tightens Grip on Democratic Nomination with 3 More Primary Victories

Former vice president Joe Biden now appears to be on a glide path to the Democratic Party's presidential nomination after convincing victories Tuesday in three state primaries, in Arizona, Florida and Illinois. Biden has been on a massive winning streak in recent weeks over his remaining rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. The Sanders campaign says the senator will now reassess his campaign in conversations with supporters. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
18
MAR

Biden Scores Decisive Wins in 3 States

Former U.S. vice president Joe Biden scored decisive wins Tuesday in Democratic presidential primaries in the states of Florida, Illinois and Arizona.  Mike O’Sullivan reports, Ohio postponed its vote because of coronavirus worries.
17
MAR

Coronavirus Pandemic Overshadows Tuesday’s Democratic Primaries

An Ohio judge has rejected an appeal by the state’s governor to postpone its Democratic primary until June because of the coronavirus pandemic– meaning Democrats will head to the polls as scheduled in four states Tuesday despite a growing number of shutdowns around the country because of the outbreak. Former vice president Joe Biden is favored over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in all four of Tuesday’s primaries in a campaign that has become increasingly overshadowed by public concern about coronavirus.  VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington
16
MAR

Sanders, Biden Debate Coronavirus Response

Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders clashed over their records Sunday as they offered plans for combatting the new coronavirus, which is changing day-to-day life in the United States and much of the world. Mike O’Sullivan reports, the candidates debated without a live audience.
15
MAR

Amid COVID 19 Emergency, 4 States Vote March 17

As he ascended the stage on a sunlit, unseasonably warm March afternoon, Bernie Sanders, running for the Democratic nomination for president, basked in the adoration of thousands of supporters huddled together at Chicago's historic Grant Park."Thank you Chicago!" he beamed.  "I can't even see the end of the crowd you are so far back!"Before concerns about the spread of the COVID 19 virus forced organizers to abandon similar large events, rallies like this one in Chicago were a hallmark of Sanders' campaign, attracting legions of younger supporters like nurse Sabrina Hornak, who is enthusiastically backing the Vermont senator in the Illinois primary election set for Tuesday."I feel great about the turnout here today," she told VOA while standing behind one of the temporary fences put up for the large crowd that gathered to see Sanders speak."I think it bodes really well for the primary," she said.However, even before COVID 19 concerns, crowd size wasn't translating into success at the ballot box for Sanders.Now the front runner, former Vice President Joe Biden is already trying to reach out to those backing Sanders."And I want to thank Bernie Sanders and his supporters for their tireless energy and their passion," Biden told reporters at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia after securing decisive election wins March 10.  "We share a common goal and together we'll defeat Donald Trump," he said.Despite cancellation of most U.S. political events because of the COVID 19 virus, four more states hold presidential nominating contests Tuesday that could virtually eliminate any doubt as to who will face President Donald Trump for the Democratic Party in November. Biden is widely expected to add to his delegate lead over Sanders when votes are cast in Florida, Ohio, Illinois and Arizona.However, in his message to voters in Chicago March 7 in what was one of his last public campaign appearances in Illinois, Sanders wasn't giving up."And if we're going to beat Trump," Sanders told the crowd, "we need the largest voter turnout in the history of America, and that turnout looks like Grant Park today!"While it's not certain how the spreading virus will affect voting in the contests ahead, turnout is up in many states where primary election ballots have already been cast, and exit polling shows Sanders with strong support from voters aged 18 to 29.  Those voters, though, aren't turning out in large enough numbers to overcome the advantage older voters ...
13
MAR

A Nation Rattled as Trump, Lawmakers Feud Over Coronavirus Response

Congressional Democrats are at odds with the Trump administration over legislation that would provide a swift response to the catastrophic public health and economic impact of the coronavirus. The battle between the White House and Capitol Hill comes as many Democrats say Trump's Wednesday night Oval Office speech was inadequate in addressing the growing U.S. crisis. VOA's congressional correspondent Katherine Gypson has more on this historic political battle.

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