Big Books & Bold Ideas with Kerri Miller

The challenges of voting during a pandemic as the 2020 election looms

Milwaukee election commission worker processes and sorts absentee ballots
A city of Milwaukee Election Commission worker processes and sorts absentee ballots for Wisconsin's April primary election in downtown Milwaukee.
Mark Hoffman | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP file

By the 2020 presidential election, at least 75 percent of Americans will be able to cast a mail-in ballot according to reporting by The New York Times. It’s a significant number that may come as a relief for voters as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on and some areas of the U.S. worry about having enough poll workers.

This isn’t happening without some political tumult, however. President Donald Trump has made false allegations about mail-in ballots. Meanwhile, the Trump campaign, legislators in some parts of the country and the Republican National Committee are trying to stop the expansion of mail-in voting.

On Thursday at 9 a.m., MPR News host Kerri Miller spoke with two voting experts about voting by mail, voter safety in a pandemic and voter suppression efforts.


  • Carol Anderson is a scholar, political scientist and chair of African American studies at Emory University. She’s the author of several books including “One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy.”

  • Sean Morales-Doyle is a deputy director in the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, where he focuses on voting rights and elections.

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