Immediate Leadership Needed to Protect our Elections
NEW HOPE, PA, March 22, 2020 - Saturday, March 21st, Penn-Live reported Pennsylvania's Governor Wolf is working with Republicans to delay the April 28th primary to June 2nd. State by state, we are seeing primaries delayed.
Simply delaying the election is shortsighted. We are in the midst of a crisis. One with no predictable end date. If officials pick June 2nd but find the situation in late May warrants further delay, confidence in our elections will plummet.
As stated on March 20th, we must move quickly to make this election all vote-by-mail, similar to states like Oregon and Colorado, to allow the necessary social quarantining to continue while keeping our democracy intact.
My opponent in the November general election, incumbent Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, is a sitting member of both the Coronavirus Task Force and the Problem Solvers Caucus. At this crucial moment, Rep. Fitzpatrick has abdicated any responsibility for the current situation and is putting the full responsibility on each individual state's local officials. He's wrong. This is not a state-only issue.
This virus is a global pandemic impacting the entire United States of America. We do not have any expected end date, which means in-person voting is a risk until this unpredictable crisis ends. To that point, we must not be forced into a position where we indefinitely suspend elections to protect public health. We must ensure federal elections go on in a safe and predictable manner. This will only be possible if the federal government provides emergency funding to all states to rapidly transition to vote-by-mail.
Look at the facts. China first acknowledged coronavirus in late 2019. After three and a half months of quarantines enforced by drones and police, there have been a few days without new cases - and it is still not over.
The coronavirus arrived in Pennsylvania on March 6th. Coronavirus appears capable of re-infecting the same person multiple times so we must quarantine until the virus has fully passed. If we assume a similar 3.5-month timeline to China, that brings us to June 21st. A primary with in-person voting on June 2nd would result in residents prematurely breaking their quarantine, risking a devastating "second wave" of the coronavirus.
The current reality is no individual state knows when in-person voting will be safe, and this has a significant impact on federal elections. Every state should be federally assisted in an emergency transition to all vote-by-mail elections in 2020 so that our elections can occur with certainty.
In times of crisis, we need leadership. Pennsylvania's 1st district deserves a representative who uses their position on federal decision-making bodies to take action in their best interest, unlike Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick who is content to sit on committees and take no action at this crucial moment.
Skylar D. Hurwitz
Independent Democratic Candidate for U.S. Congress in Pennsylvania's 1st District