Trump’s trying to turn voting into a loyalty pledge. And a stamina contest.
And so far, he’s succeeding…
Whether it’s by questioning the validity of mail-in ballots to the point at which voters start wondering if it’s worth casting one.
Or—by deliberately defunding the United States Postal Service —making it difficult, if not impossible, to make sure those ballots are delivered on time. The Philadelphia Inquirer getting hold of a letter from the USPS General Counsel to the Secretary of State of Pennsylvania, in which he says there’s:
“A risk that ballots requested near the deadline under state law will not be returned by mail in time to be counted under your laws as we understand them.”
As a result, state voting officials are asking Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court to allow mail-in ballots to count as long as they are received within three days after Election Day.
What’s the point to all of this lunacy? Especially in the middle of the pandemic?
To get people who might not be totally excited about voting for Joe Biden to feel like it’s not worth the bother to vote. Especially since everybody’s got a lot of other things on their minds too right now.
And the President and his people are being really ham-handed about this. Take his economic advisor Larry Kudlow (see our earlier column: “How Do These People Keep Their Jobs?”). When asked about negotiations on a new bill containing further COVID-19 countermeasures, he had this to say:
“So much of the Democratic asks are really liberal left wish lists we don’t want to have — voting rights, and aid to aliens, and so forth. That’s not our game.”
Really?! “Voting rights”?!
Because Trump believes no matter what, his supporters are going to turn out for him again 100%. Automatic. Even if it means putting their lives at risk to fulfill his ambition of winning at all costs.
Maybe even they won’t turn out in as great numbers if they’re concerned about catching Coronavirus. Maybe even if they rely on the postal service for delivery of things like medication and all of a sudden they’re not getting it on time.
But if you really want Trump out of office, or even want him out a little bit; can’t take that chance.
People keep asking us:
—Should I figure out a way to vote in person as safely as possible even if it’s a potentially fatal health risk? Perhaps look and see if my state has early in-person voting where it might be less crowded?
—Should I try to drop my mail-in or no excuse absentee ballot (same thing; only Trump says they’re different) off at city hall, or my town clerk’s office, or at a non-postal drop box?
—Should I mail my absentee ballot application in really early, and then my ballot in really early (assuming I get it in time to mail it in really early)?
So what’s the answer?
Just vote. However you can. Don’t give up. Even though the President will try to exhaust you and try to make you think your effort (if it’s a vote against him) will likely be futile.
Trump will also do and encourage things like baseless, nakedly racist questioning of the legitimacy of one of his opponents on the Democratic ticket, mainly because she’s the offspring of the type of parents he doesn’t want to see coming into this country at all, ever. So losing to her would be a huge personal embarrassment for not just him, but his whole disgusting vision of civil society.
We also think it’s sexist. Coincidentally, interesting that when a male reporter (specifically HuffPost’s S.V. Date), asks the question: “Do you regret at all, all the lying you’ve done to the American people?”, the President has an awkward moment, then just ignores it and moves on. Because—pure speculation, but we’re pretty sure it’s true—had it been a female reporter, he would’ve stopped to call her a name first. Or a few.
Most municipalities will tell you if and when they’ve received your mail-in ballot. So you can send one in, and if you see it’s not received by (or really before) Election Day (or even if it is and you change your mind), in most places you can still vote in person. (This link applies to the process in Massachusetts, which we’ve linked to just as an example. But all states are different.)
And there’s gonna be issues with voting in person too, mostly having to do with a very real lack of poll workers. According to the federal government’s own numbers: 56% are over the age of 60, and nearly 25% are over 70. So they may not want to take that risk this year. What will that mean? Longer waits and maybe fewer polling places. We saw a lot of that during the primaries.
Early in-person voting is always a good option, and might shape up to be the best option. And according to Ballotpedia it’s available in some form in 40 states, and Washington D.C.:
Non-postal drop boxes? Well, guess what? The Trump Administration is suing to block those too. (Guess where one place is? Clue above. Pennsylvania!) Especially if they hadn’t been used in federal elections prior to this year. And the Supreme Court—at least so far—has mostly ruled against cutting voters any slack as a result of the pandemic. (For instance, they refused to allow fear of contracting COVID-19 as a valid excuse for requesting an absentee ballot in Texas.)
Nothing’s going to be easy. (Even maybe in the about half-dozen states that have mandatory mail-in voting; have for years. Because now they’ve got the deliberately hobbled Postal Service to deal with too, and everybody’s got to put some kind of deadline on how late ballots can come in and still be counted.)
What is clear is the President’s singular focus on winning, which is to some degree understandable. But not to the degree where it extends to his willingness to kill voters in the process if that’s what it takes. Now also think about what that’ll mean in regard to how he’ll treat the citizens of this country should he win again…
Just vote. Just vote. Just vote.