Welcome to your new Politics Minute. Are you ready for the messiest election in US history? | US news

Hello and welcome to the US Politics Minute. The last email we sent was at the end of the 2018 midterms, and now we’re back for the 2020 election cycle. And this time, we’re doing things a little differently. Because as you know, this year is truly unlike any other in American history.

We’re getting a new name

Next week the Minute will become the Fight to Vote. It will still contain all the latest news on the election, but through the lens of election integrity, voting rights and threats to the democratic process in America.

What can you expect?

If you joined us two years ago, you know we aim to go beyond the politics horse race. That’s more important than ever. Each week we’ll tell you about the powerful yet often hidden forces trying to keep Americans from casting their vote – whether it’s spreading misinformation, intimidating poll watchers, election security breaches or kneecapping the US Postal Service.

Why is this election different?

  • The pandemic is threatening in-person voting and leading polling stations to shut down.

  • Donald Trump is waging a battle against mail-in ballots, widely considered a safe, non-partisan alternative

  • The Republican party has consistently voted to keep election offices, and the post office, underfunded.

Without further ado…

We are 47 days away from what could be the biggest ballot brawl in US history

If you remember the 2000 “hanging chad” debacle between Bush and Gore as well as I do, you know election results can mean an ugly battle. Chances are, this year will be much, much worse

  • As Sam Levine reports, Trump has been undermining the integrity of the election for months, with false claims that Democrats will try to steal the vote through mail-in-ballots.

  • Trump’s campaign has brought lawsuits around the country to block voting practices such as allowing third parties from collecting ballots, counting ballots that arrive after election day, automatically mailing pre-filled ballot applications to voters and using ballot drop boxes

  • Reminder: none of these practices are usually harmful, fraudulent or partisan.

In response, Joe Biden has wrangled thousands of lawyers, including legal heavyweights such as Eric Holder and Bob Bauer, who served in both Obama campaigns, and Donald Verilli, former solicitor general.

What will they do? The lawyers are ready to fight for every possible vote, which could be lost as a result of delayed counts, postal service issues or technicalities such as mismatching signatures.

Meanwhile, some states are facing huge threats to their voting integrity

  • Florida is still reeling from a devastating blow to the voting rights of more than one million people. Two years ago, a majority of voters supported a measure to restore voting rights to people with past felony convictions. But last week, the supreme court ruled that Republican legislatures could impose further restrictions, forcing that same population to pay fines and fees before regaining the right to vote. Critics say this is an illegal poll tax.

  • Meanwhile, in Kentucky, a Covid-19 case shut down an election office, leading to vote-by-mail delays. While it’s still several weeks ahead of the election, the case highlights how the process of counting ballots this year hinges on a lot of different, delicate factors.

Does this all have you riled up? Good news, there’s something you can do

This year, many elderly poll workers have dropped out due to valid fears of Covid-19. Election officials are asking young people, who are largely at lower risk of the virus, to step up. Many organizations are also providing masks, gloves and other safety equipment to work the polls, and some places offer pay.

You can sign up to be a poll worker here or here.

Before you go, here’s something for the road

Colton Hess and the team at Tok the Vote have been making these fun-ish videos about the election. Check them out here.