From Berkeley News
Election 2020: The pandemic changes everything
By Edward Lempinen
Two months after the first reported U.S. death from COVID-19, the scenes are still startling, like a vision of dystopia come to life. Just as the crisis is raising risks in day-to-day life at home and at work for hundreds of millions of Americans, Berkeley scholars say it already has put an indelible stamp on the 2020 election, now less than seven months away.
In a series of interviews, they predicted that the pandemic is likely to be the overarching issue of the campaign, eclipsing other profound issues in recent years. And, they said, that will likely bring a related issue front and center: the economic vulnerability of the middle class and the working poor, including many people of color...
By some accounts, the pandemic could accelerate a move toward online voting. But Berkeley political scientist Steven Weber, faculty director of the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, called that unrealistic.
“We can’t even secure internet-connected voting machines,” Weber said. With less than seven months until November, “imagine trying to put an app on everyone’s phone or computer in the almost infinite permutations of phone models and kinds of software, and different operating systems. … Online voting is just not ready for prime time.”
Steven Weber is the Associate Dean and Head of School for the School of Information.