Voting Matters

vote 0820

Let’s talk about voting. There are three million reasons the sitting “president” should not be seated in the White House, but he was duly anointed by the Electoral College and so there he perches, as it grows more obvious by the day that he realizes how slippery this seat is.

He spent about two years trying to assure us the state of New Hampshire bussed in 5 million illegal immigrants who voted for Hilary Clinton (but not in any other race on the ballot), or maybe it was California, or — well, it was someplace. It had to be, because of course he needed to win by the largest margin in history.

And now, with the polls not in his favor, he seems determined to use his office to gerrymander the very act of voting in whatever manner he thinks he can. He is busy trying to insure that Democrats will be unable to vote, but because his imagination is extremely limited in scope and his mental acuity is nearly non-existent, he is being overt rather than insidious.

Let’s start with his own inability to execute a ballot. When he first applied to vote absentee, he put his Washington, D.C., address on a Florida application. When he did manage to get a Florida address on his application, he still opened himself up to issues.

This hasn’t gained the press it would have in any other presidency, where we aren’t under a daily deluge of presidential misdealings, but the “president” listed Mar-a-Lago as his residence. The problem with this is that when he went to the local zoning board to get a dock for Mar-a-Lago, he assured the local authority (county, municipal, I don’t recall) that the club would “not be used as a residence.”

Yet now he is claiming it as his residence. He may have to choose: dock, or house. It’s a little lesson: sometimes big headaches can come from small places.

So while the “president” may be voting illegally, and by mail, he has embarked on what appears to be a successful campaign against mail-in voting. But the voters he is persuading are the very ones who will vote for him, and he has left on-the-ground operatives in multiple states scrambling to figure out how to encourage Republicans to vote by mail without offending the offender in chief.

Apparently for some in his cult of personality, the president’s word hovers above all, and they have sniped at activists to “shut up” and not try to tell them that mail-in voting is safe and secure. They heard it from their president, so it must be a bad thing and they’re having nothin’ to do with it.

I believe that voting is an American responsibility. It is a right, and a privilege, and particularly in the face of authoritarian threats (coming from the White House, no less), imperative that Americans vote. And while I would be quite happy to tell every American how to vote, I believe every eligible voter ought to cast their ballot — even if it doesn’t agree with mine. Which is where I diverge with a lot of Republicans currently in power.

Here’s what I think, and I realize this is hopelessly naive: if you really, truly believe that the policies you are putting forth are in the best interests of the American people, then what is the harm of letting them vote? But many Republicans wielding national and state power clearly know some of their policies will not find favor with the majority of their constituents, and rather than change policy, they try — disappointingly aggressively — to instead reduce the constituency allowed to vote.

Florida, for instance, voted overwhelmingly (in a result that seemed to surprise many people) to allow felons to vote, but after the people spoke the governor decided to tack on a lot of obstacles, and the U.S. Supreme Court, in an unsurprising 5-4 vote, backed him up. So LeBron James has stepped in to help some of these folks pay the fines that are keeping them from voting.

Despite best efforts, then, they may be able to vote in Florida, and even by mail, because as of yesterday the “president” has decided that mail-in voting will work. But just in Florida. He is okay with it there, but not in Nevada, where the secretary of state is planning to send every eligible voter a mail-in ballot.

The president of the United States, in the middle of a pandemic spun completely out of control by his lack of helpful action and his overabundance of misinformation, is suing a state to stop a practice that has been carried out, quite successfully, for several years by five states, of which Colorado is one.

Yes, Colorado is one of those now-outlaw states where ballots are mailed to every eligible voter. So far we’re not getting sued, but I’m guessing it’s because the “president” doesn’t understand how we vote.

Coloradans have voted by mail under both Republican and Democrat secretaries of state, and the incidence of fraud is extremely low. Extremely. The paper used (yes, it leaves a paper trail, which ought to reassure voters, but for some reason this seems to scare the “president”) is apparently very difficult to duplicate, and attempting widespread fraud would be very tough.

You would have to know which voters hadn’t cast a ballot, and then you would either have to acquire those ballots or make forgeries, adequately forge signatures, figure out how to mail or drop them them off in a manner that didn’t look suspicious . . . it would be a lot of work for very little return.

Mail-in voting is quite safe and secure, despite what you are hearing from windy upper echelons. Likely the biggest problem with it is the Postal Service, now under the dilettante attention of a presidential donor whose every policy so far is designed to slow down if not stop the mail.

He can claim that some of his actions, like telling carriers to leave mail behind to avoid overtime, are efficiency measures, but he’s hard-pressed to come up with an apolitical reason for turning off automated sorters earlier in the day and asking postal workers to do that by hand.

These are the sort of actions undertaken by authoritarian regimes, not the United States of America. If you want to ensure that we remain a democracy, you will take every action within your power to put a stop to campaigns of misinformation. And you need to vote.

This is a right taken too easily for granted in a place such as the United States of Yore (back when we were great, before we decided to remake ourselves into the demagogic image of a would-be dictator), and we should all be completely appalled that this right is being stripped from people in front of us.

In this year of a pandemic and postal tactics of delay (vocally opposed by the working members of the USPS), if you do not live in a progressive voting state like Colorado, where a ballot automatically comes your way, make sure you request one at the earliest opportunity possible.

And, even though it will take stamps out of Lynn’s paycheck, I am recommending you, if at all possible, do not use the mail to return your mail-in ballot, but drop it off at a secure collection box.

More than anything, no matter who you plan to vote for, I really want you to vote. Because it matters, more than ever.

 

 

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