The 2020 election is going to be different from any election in American history. Experts are anticipating record-high levels of people choosing to cast their ballots by mail because of concerns over the coronavirus.
In a special report, NPR reporters Scott Detrow and Juana Summers explore how voters can navigate unprecedented challenges to casting a ballot this year.
Challenges like the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the public health school at Brown University, says going to a polling place has the potential to be every bit as safe as going to pick up groceries.
"The polling places can be very safe as long as they're set up right. As long as there's good ventilation, as long as everybody's wearing a mask, as long as people are well spaced out ... it can be safe even for people who are high risk or elderly," he says.
Another issue this year? Relentless cycles of misinformation.
"Our role as election officials is to work together to push back with truth, with facts, and with data ... with accurate information about the sanctity of the process," says Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.
Her counterpart in Washington state, Kim Wyman, cautions against any candidate declaring victory on Election Night itself.
"It doesn't really mean anything until election officials certify those results," she says. "We actually have a long window of time to get the right vote, to make sure that it's accurate and correct."