WGBH News Forum: How Will The Pandemic Impact Elections?

MON, MAY 11, 2020 (50:30)

What will be the ultimate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our 2020 elections?

The coronavirus has inflicted terrible damage on families around the globe. It has also affected many areas of our lives, from the economy to the way students are learning online. As the 2020 presidential election approaches, we must consider how the pandemic is impacting the election season. This panel discussion examines how campaigns are reaching voters while observing social distancing, explores the procedural changes states may make to the election process, and looks at ways to stay safe when voting. The discussion is moderated by WGBH News Senior Digital Managing Editor, Laura Colarusso.

This News Forum is brought to you in partnership with the Ford Hall Forum , Harvard Book Store, WGBH News , and the WGBH Insider Series.

+ BIO: Rachael Cobb

Rachael V. Cobb, Ph.D. is Chair of the Political Science & Legal Studies Department at Suffolk University and Associate Professor of Political Science. Cobb specializes in U.S. elections, election administration, electoral politics, civic engagement, and political participation. In 2006, with a grant from the United States Election Assistance Commission, Cobb established the University Pollworkers Project, a nonpartisan program designed to recruit college students as poll workers. Since then, more than 1,000 students from the Greater Boston area have received training and worked as poll workers.

In 2008, Professor Cobb served as co-principal investigator on the Boston Area Colleges Exit Poll, in collaboration with D. James Greiner (Harvard Law School) and Kevin Quinn (Harvard Government Department). Her work as appeared in the Quarterly Journal of Political Science and Studies in American Political Development. Professor Cobb serves on the board of MassVOTE and the Boston Election Advisory Committee. She received her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her AB from Bryn Mawr College.

+ BIO: John Hagner

John Hagner is a Partner at Clarity Campaign Labs, where he gets to work with some of the best clients in progressive politics, helping solve some of their biggest challenges. John joined Clarity after serving as the National Field Director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2012 and the Director of Targeting for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2010. He was the field director for Sherrod Brown’s first campaign for the US Senate in Ohio in 2006 and served as the Deputy Executive Director at the Ohio Democratic Party in the 2008 cycle.

At Clarity, John has worked with dozens of Gubernatorial, Senatorial, and Congressional candidates, and directly with the DGA, DSCC, and DCCC. He’s worked with national groups like EMILY’s List, Planned Parenthood, House Majority PAC, and the Equality Federation, among others, and on ballot initiatives including the 2018 Florida Rights Restoration campaign and LGBTQ non-discrimation campaigns across the country.

+ BIO: Setti Warren

Setti D. Warren served as Mayor of Newton, Massachusetts from January 1, 2010 to January 1 2018. He was the first African-American to be a popularly-elected mayor in Massachusetts. After graduating from Boston College, he began an extensive career in public service, serving as special assistant in the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs for President Bill Clinton; as New England director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and as deputy state director for Senator John F. Kerry (D-MA). Prior to running for mayor, Mayor Warren completed a yearlong tour of duty in Iraq as a naval intelligence specialist.

He served on the advisory board of the United States Conference of Mayors, chairing the organization’s community housing and development committee. Mayor Warren is also a life member of The Council on Foreign Relations and a board member of Discovering Justice. He is currently the Executive Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

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