Fels and the 2020 Election: Conducting Elections Amidst a Pandemic

Conducting Elections Amidst a Pandemic

The 2020 election presented unprecedented challenges for state and local election officials around the country. Not only did the election take place amidst a global pandemic, numerous officials—most notably President Trump—cast doubts on the legitimacy and security of mail-in ballots. Despite these challenges, U.S. government and academic observers concluded that the election functioned smoothly and effectively.

Faculty and graduates of the Fels Institute of Government played keys roles in the 2020 election in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and beyond. How did they prepare for this unique challenge, including a historic expansion of the ability of voters to cast their ballots through the mail? How did they coordinate between state and local government, as well as civic-minded non-profits, to conduct this election? And what do the results tell us about the electorate and what will happen in the Georgia run-off, in 2022, and beyond?

Early this December, Fels brought together four distinguished panelists, who discussed these topics and more.

  • Seth Bluestein, Chief Deputy Commissioner and Chief Integrity Officer, Office of the City Commissioners, City of Philadelphia
  • John Lapinski, Fels Faculty Co-Director and Director of Elections, NBC News
  • Matt Levendusky, Fels Faculty Co-Director and Decision Desk Analyst, NBC News
  • Michael DiBerardinis, Fels Professor of Practice

Read more about the event on the Penn Arts and Sciences website >

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