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Author: TheConversation

From racism to election integrity: Experts react to key issues from chaotic Trump and Biden debate

By Alison Gash, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Oregon; Alexander Cohen, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Clarkson Universityy; and Rashawn Ray, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Maryland President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden took part in a presidential debate on September 29 that exemplified the lack of civility in American politics. The president frequently interrupted and spoke over his challenger and few issues were discussed in enough depth to provide much information to undecided voters. Three scholars discuss the themes brought up by moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News, who struggled throughout the...

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The many benefits of voting by mail are still subject to numerous logistical difficulties

By Luke Perry, Professor of Government, Utica College More than 8 in 10 Americans – all voters in 43 states – will be able to vote by mail in the 2020 presidential election, the most ever. And more than 1 in 3 voters plan to actually do so. Voting by mail can help citizens limit their exposure to the coronavirus pandemic, while still exercising their key right to vote in a democracy. Mail-in voting requires more steps than voting in person, and it happens in people’s homes, rather than at a polling place with trained help nearby. So it...

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Making ballots legitimate: The security features that protect mail-in votes from fraud

By Charlotte Hill, Ph.D. Candidate in Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley; and Jake Grumbach, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Washington Voter fraud is very rare, whether people vote in-person or by mail. That much is clear from a large body of research. One of us is a political scientist at the University of Washington, and the other is a former elections commissioner who now studies voting laws. We can explain why voter fraud is so rare – especially for mail-in ballots, which have drawn both the interest and concern of many people this year. The goal,...

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Freedom of religion does not mean people are free from following mandates to wear masks

By Melissa Hawkins, Professor of Public Health, Director of Public Health Scholars Program, American University Mask mandates do not violate the First Amendment’s protections for freedom of speech or assembly, as I wrote previously in the article “Mandatory mask ordinances designed to protect public health do not violate the Constitution.” But a recent lawsuit filed in Florida, Tillis v. Manatee County, raises a different question: Do mask mandates violate the free exercise of religion? The answer is no. No matter what you believe or why you believe it, the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion, known as the...

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Americans continue to fear foreign threats while ignoring homegrown extremists 19 years after 9/11

By Jeff Gruenewald, Associate Professor and Director of the Terrorism Research Center, University of Arkansas; Joshua D. Freilich, Professor of Criminal Justice, City University of New York; Steven Chermak, Professor of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University; William Parkin, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Seattle University; and Brent Klein, Assistant Professor, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of South Carolina On a Tuesday morning in September 2001, the American experience with terrorism was fundamentally altered. Two thousand, nine hundred and ninety-six people were killed as the direct result of attacks in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania. Thousands more,...

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Margot Gage Witvliet: On being a COVID-19 long-hauler and the frustration of not knowing

By Margot Gage Witvliet, Assistant Professor of Social Epidemiology, Lamar University Imagine being young and healthy, a nonsmoker with no preexisting health conditions, and then waking up one morning feeling like you were being suffocated by an unseen force. Back in March, this was my reality. I had just returned from Europe, and roughly 10 days later started having flu-like symptoms. I became weak overnight and had trouble breathing. It felt like jogging in the Rocky Mountains without being in condition, only I wasn’t moving. I went to the hospital, where I was tested for COVID-19. I was one...

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