U.S. General Election as a Possible COVID-19 Super Spreader Event

Matthew S. Mingus, Emily (Li) Cheng, Daria Blinova


Many U.S. states changed election policies leading up to the November 3, 2020, general election to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19, and policy changes at the state level resulted in uneven access to voting options outside the polling site on the day of the election. This preliminary research examines the extent of in-person voting and other methods for voting as percentages of the overall population, separated by state, to determine if such policy changes helped reduce the spread of COVID-19. The data is correlated with the increase in the SARS-CoV-2 virus the week leading into the election compared to two weeks after the election. Political party in control of the state executive, urbanization, and the relative size of state government are also considered. While numerous court cases regarding the fairness of electoral methods were launched during the 2020 election cycle, the focus of this article is whether the percent of the population who voted in person on the day of the election may have differentially increased the spread of COVID-19 within the 50 U.S. states as well as the extent that the public service managed the election process in a safe manner by mitigating the risk of COVID-19.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/assc.v3n3p39


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