This is our only chance for the next four years to decide who will be the president of this nation, and the Republican Party and its representatives are attempting to curtail our constitutional right to cast our vote. This year, because of a pandemic that is once again raging out of control, many of us cannot or will not spend an hour or more in line inside a building waiting to vote, nor should we need to. A large number of us, myself included, requested mail-in ballots and will be voting by mail, or by dropping our ballots off in person at a designated drop box.
However, the United States Postal Service, now run by a man, Louis DeJoy, who has no experience, whose only qualification for the job was the large sums of money he has donated to Donald Trump, is so inefficient that it took ten days for me to receive a letter that was mailed from 15 miles away! That could be a problem if someone mailed a ballot on, say, October 30th, or even today! The girls and I took our ballots to the drop box at the Board of Elections, but some people, especially senior citizens, may not have that luxury.
There are numerous lawsuits in many states to expand voting rights, to allow ballots received after November 3rd as long as they were postmarked on or before that date. Republicans are, naturally, opposed to anything that expands voting rights. The good news is that people have been voting, despite the obstacles thrown in their way by the not-so-grand old party, and this morning I read that 51% of the number of people who voted in 2016 have already cast their votes this year! That is truly inspiring … I think it quite possible that in spite of the GOP’s best efforts, we will have record turnout this year.
Here are some of the latest legal developments related to voting rights cases per the New York Times – some positive, others not so much:
Pennsylvania: The state’s highest court has ruled that election officials should count mailed ballots that arrive up to three days after Election Day. Pennsylvania Republicans are trying to get the Supreme Court to reverse the order, so that only ballots received by Election Day will count.
North Carolina: Republicans and the Trump campaign have asked the Supreme Court to block the state’s board of elections from extending the deadline to receive mail ballots. The board has said ballots can arrive until Nov. 12, as long as they were mailed by Election Day.
Wisconsin: The five Republican-appointed justices on the Supreme Court sided on Monday with Republican officials in Wisconsin, ruling that ballots must arrive by 8 p.m. on Election Day to count. (A lower-court ruling would have allowed state officials to count any mailed ballots postmarked by Election Day and received up to six days later.) In response, the state’s Democratic Party is urging voters to return mail ballots in person — to a drop box or clerk’s office — rather than mailing them.
Nevada: The Trump campaign has sued to stop the counting of absentee ballots in the Las Vegas area, evidently hoping to challenge the signatures on many ballots. Last night, the campaign and Nevada Republican Party filed a separate lawsuit, seeking detailed information on the vote-counting process.
Texas: The state’s top court yesterday upheld a policy announced by Greg Abbott, the Republican governor, which limits each county to a single drop-off box for mailed ballots. The state’s largest county — Harris, which includes Houston — is home to 4.7 million people.
Michigan: A conservative judge yesterday overturned an order by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, and ruled that people could carry unconcealed guns at polling places on Election Day.
In many of these cases, Republicans have argued that changing voting rules because of the pandemic could lead to fraud (a claim that’s largely baseless) and that allowing ballots to be counted after Election Day leads to confusion and chaos.
Democrats have argued that protecting people’s right to vote, during a national crisis, should be top priority. Democrats have also pointed out that some Republicans have changed their position on the counting of mailed ballots: When late-arriving ballots seemed likely to help George W. Bush in Florida in 2000, Republicans argued that the state should count them.
The Michigan decision is appalling. Why the hell does anybody need to take a gun with them to vote??? This is possibly the most ridiculous judicial decision I have ever heard and can only lead to trouble. In my book, anybody being allowed to take a gun into the polling place constitutes potential voter intimidation. Now, given that the majority of gun-nuts in this country are republicans … does anybody else see a problem here?
If at all possible, my friends, take your ballots to an official drop box, or don your masks and hand sanitizer and vote in person, for I simply do not trust the USPS to get the ballots delivered on time.