Another Plea to Vote in Person if You Can

How you vote will depend a lot on which state you live in. If you live in a reliably blue state that’s voted by mail for a while now, then you can ignore this post. If you have health issues that make you particularly vulnerable to covid-19, ignore this post. You know your own precinct better than I do, and if you typically have to endure a gauntlet of horrific obstructions that you just can’t deal with, I understand if ignore this post. Everyone else, listen up:

In most states, the mail-in votes are not counted until after the polls close and the in-person votes are tallied. Trump is counting on this. Note that after New Jersey announced it would begin counting mail-in votes 10 days before the election, the Trump administration filed a motion to stop it.

Polls are telling is that a huge percentage of Democrats plan to vote by mail, while only a trickle of Republicans will do so. Indeed, Huge numbers of Republicans say mail-voting is fraudulent. This sets up the very real possibility that Trump will be in the lead on election night even if Biden has won by a landslide. This also sets up the very real possibility that vast numbers of legitimate mail-in votes will never be counted.

Trump said on Saturday, “We’re counting on the federal court system to make it so that we can actually have an evening where we know who wins, OK? Not where the votes are going to be counted a week later, two weeks later.”

There is no reason why a slower vote count is in any way illegitimate. There was a time it usually took days to find out who won the presidential election. However, Trump has created a widespread perception that there’s something fishy, even illegitimate, about results that take a few days rather than a few hours. And he’s going to use that.

Note also that states have set dates on which the results are to be certified. These dates vary and mostly fall in late November and early December, although a few are earlier. I’m not sure what happens if the votes still aren’t all counted by the certification date; that might vary by state also.

But Trump has appointed a huge number of judges to federal courts, most if not all of them right-wing ideologues and Republican loyalists. He must have a few in every state by now who are depraved enough to file injunctions to stop the mail-in vote counting.

The Washington Post reported this in August:

… the RNC and Trump campaign advisers are now mapping out their post-election strategy, including how to challenge mail ballots without postmarks, as they anticipate weeks-long legal fights in an array of states, according to people familiar with the plans, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions.

If you vote by mail, pay attention to what your state election laws say about postmarks. You might take you ballot directly to the county election commission or hand it to a poll worker on election day, and that might be perfectly legitimate, but the envelope won’t have a postmark. That’s the sort of thing the Trumpers plan to use to have your vote tossed.

The campaign plans to have lawyers ready to mobilize in every state and expects legal battles could play out after Election Day in such states as Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan and Nevada, they said.

They’ve probably got motions for injunctions to stop vote counting prepared already. And if the injunctions to stop the vote count go the the Supreme Court — well, Trump could very well have his brand-new flaming fascist judge seated and ready for action by then. Remember Bush v. Gore? Of course the court would give the election to Trump.

The only way there won’t be a huge fight over counting votes after November 3 is if Joe Biden is ahead on election night, preferably comfortably ahead. And this means that most of us voting for Biden, especially in the battleground states, need to vote in person.

A number of knowledgable people, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said that voting in person shouldn’t be all that risky. Wear a mask, keep your hand sanitizer handy, maintain social distance. It should be no worse than shopping for groceries.

See also: Maybe We Need to Rethink Voting by Mail and Please Vote in Person If You Can.

Photo: Matthew Brown, Hearst Connecticut Media

10 thoughts on “Another Plea to Vote in Person if You Can

  1. You have convinced me; I'm voting early in person.  I worry that suppression shenanigans at Democratic voting precincts might be even more troublesome than usual.  If Biden wins, he needs to quickly move towards more uniform voting protection and opportunities throughout the country.  One man one vote don't mean shit right now.  State's should not have such broad authority that allows them to prevent certain people from voting while easing others' paths to the ballot. 


  2. Washington is an all mail-in state and has been since 2005.  However, I believe you will never see this.  I seem to be disappearing on your website.

      • Cool.  I have been disappearing when I would comment here so much, I was beginning to think I didn't exist.  I wonder why.

        Oh well, but as above my state is all mail-in.  However, my sister and I have always you used the ballot boxes available to us.  They are usually within three feet of a mailbox.

  3. Even before the pandemic, before Ginsburg, it was pretty much a given: if "we" get our voters to the polls, we win, period.  What with the anti-Trump fervor, I wouldn't call a Trump loss a done deal, but at least the road was laid out in front of us to win.  

    Now, not so much.  Its a simple but potentially effective plan: declare victory the night of the election before the votes are completely counted, then file suit to stop the vote count.  As the SC ruled in 2000, "continuing to count the votes would harm petitioner Bush" and that was from a far less extremist court.  But it was enough to get the counting stopped and declare Bush the winner.  The Trump game plan is the same.

    Trump and the GOP are prepared to fight like junkyard dogs using literally every lever at their disposal to win. But when I listen to Manchin, Durbin and other democrats in the senate talk about McConnell stealing yet another SC seat from the democrats, they sound like they've already given up on all but maybe a sternly worded letter.  No threats of consequences, just more "hope" that their "friends across the aisle" will do what's right.

    If Trump's court strategy wins him reelection, the biggest, and saddest irony of all will be, the man largely responsible for allowing a pandemic to take the lives of 200,000 Americans will have used the very pandemic he refused to control to win reelection and continue the death march.

    I hope it doesn't come to this, but if January 2021 finds Trump "reelected" and the republicans with a 7-3 majority on the SC and dems afraid of packing the courts or doing anything else, other than writing sternly worded letters and empty talk, I'll have to question why we even have an opposition party.

  4. I have no choice but to mail-in my ballot, and the same goes for my mother.

    I've, we've, never voted by mail before.  In the '18 mid-term I drove to my old town – where I'm still registered.

    But I've convinced the assisted dyin…  assisted LIVING facility we're in to get registration forms so that all of the residents here can register, and then vote, here, and hand our ballots to someone from the Board of Elections.

  5. If Trump wins but the Senate goes Dem it will be a very different dynamic even with Trump still fuhrer, something to keep in mind and hope for.

  6. Today, tRUMP was asked if he would guarantee a peaceful transfer of power.

    And I'm sure you can guess what its (sic) response was

    In short:  "No!" 

    My Mother and I will be filling in our ballots here, and handing them to someone from the Board if Elections.

    But as maha said, if you can, go in person to vote – AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE!

    And if you DO mail-in your vote, do THAT ASAP, too!!!  



  7. In a recent article in the Atlantic, it stated:
    “the Trump campaign has been discussing “contingency plans to bypass the election results and appoint local electors in battleground states where Republicans hold the legislative majority.” Citing the president’s baseless claims of fraud, Team Trump could ask GOP-controlled state governments to choose electors, completely ignoring an unfavorable or uncertain popular vote, state and national Republican sources told Gellman.”

    Which leads to why he is pushing for new justice ASAP. That will guarantee a win in the Court when the Dems cry foul.

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