Over at the Duck of Minerva, two Indiana University professors – Jeffrey C. Isaac and W. Kindred Winecoff – have a post about the petition they’ve been circulating to protect the integrity of U.S. elections. Here’s an excerpt:
Last Wednesday the two of us circulated an open letter from U.S. political scientists, expressing concern about how the crisis surrounding the COVID pandemic could endanger the November election, and declaring that “We Must Urgently Work to Guarantee Free and Fair Democratic Elections in November” (posted at bottom). The letter endorsed the excellent report produced by legal scholars at the Brennan Center for Justice, entitled “Responding to the Coronavirus Crisis.”
Within 6 hours 500 of our colleagues had signed. Within 48 hours over 950 had signed. Among the signatories were some of the most distinguished political scientists in the U.S.; many past-presidents of the American Political Science Association (and the current president as well); and hundreds of the most dedicated teachers of American politics in U.S. higher education. This is a pretty striking response. As the political scientists who circulated the letter, and who are in a sense “participant observers,” we think it is important to explain this phenomenon—the rather phenomenal worry of so many people who study and teach about politics for a living.
The full post is worth a read. Petitions are obviously low-hanging fruit, but I think this underscores the need to do more than sit around (metaphorically speaking) and wait for politicians to take action.