Human Rights Watch

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US: Officials’ Pandemic Response Impaired Right to Vote

Lessons From 4 State Primaries Should Guide General Election Reforms

Tuesday 22 September 2020


(Washington, DC, September 22, 2020) – Responses by election officials in the United States to the Covid-19 pandemic seriously impaired some people’s ability to vote in primary elections, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Election officials need to ensure that every method of voting allowed in their state is easy to access and use for all voters, so that there can be a credible US general election on November 3, 2020. The 83-page report, “What Democracy Looks Like: Protecting Voting Rights in the US during the Covid-19 Pandemic,” examines changes that election officials made in response to the Covid-19 pandemic prior to the 2020 primaries in Arizona, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin and their impact on the right to vote. Human Rights Watch recommended steps US election officials should take for the November election and beyond to prevent violations of voting rights, which during the primaries had discriminatory impacts on Black and Latinx people.

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