Advocacy Hub

Learn about key issues and get engaged in advocacy efforts

Government affairs latest news

Check in regularly as GCSAA's government affairs department keeps you informed about important compliance deadlines that impact golf facilities. Hot topics – some that fall within the 2019 Priority Issues Agenda are critical to golf facilities.

Coronavirus' impact on the 2020 elections

by Government Affairs Team | Apr 13, 2020

As COVID-19 continues to disrupt and postpone most major events planned for 2020, election officials have found themselves in an unprecedented predicament this election season. So far, the coronavirus outbreak has impacted, or is poised to impact, four major aspects of the elections: the primary schedule, campaign trail, voter turnout, and incumbent performance.

In adherence to social distancing guidelines and shelter-in-place orders states have postponed presidential and congressional primary elections or moved to all-mail elections.

The most recent Democratic primary debate between Senator Bernie Sanders (VT) and Former Vice President Joe Biden was moved from California, had no live audience, and neither candidate had a press center following the debate. Senator Sanders exited the race, clearing the path for Former Vice President Joe Biden to run against President Trump in November.

In response to COVID-19’s effect on the primary schedule, the 2020 Democratic National Convention has been postponed until August 17-20 (originally planned for July) and will still be held in Milwaukee, Wis. To date, there have been no changes announced for the 2020 Republican National Convention which is scheduled for August 24-27 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  

Because the general election (scheduled for November 3) is set by federal law, Congress would need to pass legislation changing this date.

COVID-19 has also forced candidates to suspend in-person rallies and fundraisers and move to digital engagement tactics such as podcasts and live broadcasts on social media.

Additionally, before the coronavirus outbreak, the 2020 election was expected to have a high voter turnout; however, states without extensive early voting or voting by mail measures experienced lower turnouts -- like Illinois, which reported a turnout about 25% lower than 2016 primaries.

Finally, COVID-19 may impact the 2020 general election as incumbents at the federal, state, and local level are likely to be judged on their preparation and response to the coronavirus. Most incumbents have seen a bump in approval ratings since the outbreak of the virus, likely caused by a quick or favorable initial response to the virus, but a potential recession caused by the virus could affect re-election bids, especially for President Trump.

This slide deck offers more information on COVID-19’s election impact. Visit the COVID-19 Advocacy page for more COVID-19 resources.