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Postponing Elections During Covid-19

Tiffany Monroy
Fordham University School of Law
United States

Forty-two countries and territories have postponed national elections and referendums since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even so, election postponements are not a new phenomenon. Elections have previously been postponed during periods of crisis and transition, or after the death of a candidate, because of technical delays and natural disasters, for public health reasons, and have even been considered “in the event of a terrorist attack.”

Despite their prevalence and diversity, postponed elections remain “systematically understudied and under-categorized.” This paper seeks to fill that gap by comparing election postponements in four states during COVID-19. Part I provides a brief overview of the existing literature on election postponements. Part II outlines the international human rights framework for postponing elections. Part III compares the domestic legal processes for postponing elections in Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Chile, and the Dominican Republic, and their domestic and international implications. Finally, Part IV addresses the broad implications of COVID-19 on future election postponements.



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