Authors: Chelsea Raubenheimer, Bridget Lavin, Azra K. Nurkic
As the United States prepares for its highly-anticipated national election in 29 days, the Institute for Development Impact examines the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on other elections around the world. While South Korea, the first country with a significant coronavirus case count to hold a nation-wide election, saw record voter turnout with well-coordinated public health measures in voting centers, countries like Iran and the Dominican Republic saw substantial declines in voting rates, marked by fears of the virus and contentious internal politics.
The effect of COVID-19 on the presidential election in the United States is yet to be seen. However, President Trump’s recent COVID-19 diagnosis will certainly have an impact on the remaining days of the Republican party’s campaign. With the expansion of mail-in voting in several states around the country, many have voiced concern that unlike in previous years, the outcome of the election may not be known until weeks after Election Day. In any case, I4DI encourages all eligible Americans to vote. Check your registration on this week’s COVID-19 Weekly Watch.
Addition stats from this week include:
To date, 1 in 44 Americans has tested positive for COVID-19.
39 countries and territories postponed a national election or referendum due to COVID-19.
51 countries and territories held national or subnational elections despite COVID-19 concerns, either on their original date or after some period of delay.
In 2020’s election, South Korea saw the highest voter turnout in 28 years (8 percentage point increase).
The first-round of Iran’s parliamentary vote saw lowest voter turnout in 40 years (19 percentage point drop).
The Dominican Republic saw a drop in voter turnout from 68% in 2016 to 50% in 2020 (18 percentage point drop)