When this COVID-19 crisis abates — and it will — there will be a new normal. Just what that will look like is anybody's guess, but we can already see some changes emerging that may stick around with us.
The need for better sick leave policies from employees, for one, so that they don't have to choose between going to work sick and losing their job or their house. Seems likes common sense now. Already, some companies are pioneering new policies that they hope will work for them as well as their employees.
We also think more employers and more employees will shift deeper into the work-from-home model, which has been evolving for a while but will accelerate sharply because of what is happening. Many workers may not want to go back.
And, hopefully, changes will come to the way we do elections in Missouri.
The governor of Missouri on Wednesday delayed the April 7 municipal election until June 2. That seems sensible. Now let's look at how we can make voting easier, as well as safer.
As it stands now, in Missouri you must have a specific, designated reason — absence from one's precinct on Election Day or incapacitation because of physical illness or disability, for example — to fill out an absentee ballot before the day of the election. Convenience isn't a good enough excuse, but why does a voter have to justify their preference?
Our neighboring states have more generous rules, and it's working for them with no discernible crumbling in the foundations of the republic.
Early, easier voting will boost participation for residents who have a difficult time getting out to the polls, including those who have to work multiple jobs to get by and those who lack transportation. They're doing things to ease the squeeze that comes from forcing millions of voters into lines at the polls on a single day. How about we do it just because it's what voters want?
We've reported before on research from the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan nonprofit operated by the New York University School of Law, that suggests that early voting:
• Contributes to reduced stress on the voting system
• Shortens lines on Election Day
• Improves performance by poll workers.
• Provides for early identification and correction of system glitches and errors.
• Offers greater access to voting and increased voter satisfaction.
Whatever normal looks like going forward, let's make sure this is part of it.