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Experts are warning coronavirus puts the integrity of the 2020 election at risk. Here's what could happen in November

March 28, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

A polling place worker adjusts gloves as she tends to a reception table during the Florida primary election at the First United Methodist Church, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Jupiter, Fla. As Florida officials try to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, the state's voters headed to the polls to cast ballots in the Democratic presidential primary. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

As states scramble to delay their spring primaries, election professionals and voting experts are anxiously looking ahead to November and warning that the coronavirus pandemic is already threatening the safety and integrity of the next presidential election.

Washington (CNN)As states scramble to delay their spring primaries, election professionals and voting experts are anxiously looking ahead to November and warning that the coronavirus pandemic is already threatening the safety and integrity of the next presidential election.

That means sweeping changes will be necessary in all 50 states to pull off the first pandemic-plagued presidential election in American history, according to interviews with more than a dozen state officials, former federal officials, voting rights activists and legal scholars.

Congress took a step forward this week by approving $400 million in federal grants that states can use to make coronavirus-related adjustments for the general election.

But nearly 60% of voters still showed up on Election Day, waited in long lines, used communal pens and touched the same voting machines -- all dangerous moves in the coronavirus era.

The Election Assistance Commission published lessons learned from the 2009 swine flu pandemic, including a warning from one poll worker in Virginia who noticed that people who used hand sanitizer before voting created damp ballots that jammed some machines.

The compromise legislation included just $400 million in election security grants -- far short of the $2 billion Democrats wanted -- and doesn't tell the states what changes they need to make to voting.

The House Democrats' bill would have required all states to offer 15 days of early voting, and to provide absentee ballots with prepaid stamps to all voters who ask for one.

State governments made their own moves, including postponing primaries, switching polling locations, moving to absentee voting and recruiting younger polling staff.

But state officials are scrambling to figure out who has the power to adjust election protocols during an emergency.

Only 12 states let the governor or top election official reschedule an election, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In Florida and Arizona, a large share of voters typically cast their ballots before Election Day, and that increased this year, according to the latest data.

The data suggests that the coronavirus crisis could accelerate an existing trend toward postal voting, where states conduct the bulk of their balloting through the mail.

"Vote-by-mail is much more resilient in times of crisis," said former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican who oversaw several statewide elections with near-universal postal voting.

Currently, only five states hold all their elections entirely by mail: Washington state, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Hawaii.

Another 28 states and the District of Columbia offer "no-excuse" voting by mail, which means any voter can get an absentee ballot if they ask for one.

And Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced a similar plan for the November election as well, marking a dramatic shift in a state where only about 5% of voters typically cast their ballots in the mail.

Arizona will be a test of whether these ideas have bipartisan support: The Democratic secretary of state asked the GOP-controlled state legislature to authorize all-mail elections for November.

There are two forms of voting-by-mail: There's a two-step process where voters request an absentee ballot first, and then a ballot is sent to their home (Such as the new proposals in Ohio and Georgia).

There are some examples of delays to state and local elections.

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