Tag Archives: early voting

Will this surge spell end of Trump Era?

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Harris County, Texas, has set two records in a row since the start of early voting on Tuesday.

Dallas County up Interstate 45 hasn’t done too badly, either.

Oh, and how about Travis County, where the state Capitol can be found? They’re turning out in huge numbers, too.

Same for Bexar County.

What does this mean for the 2020 presidential election. Some Democratic activists believe it bodes well for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and us Bidenistas who want the Democrats to oust Donald Trump and Mike Pence from the White House.

I am not going to count them chickens just yet.

However, I hasten to add that Democrats have been all over TV, radio and in print telling us all to “get out and vote.” If the first two days of early voting in Texas are an indication, the message has been heard. Democrats hope it means Biden and Harris are reaping the ballot-box reward.

Let me crystal clear: I do, too, want them to harvest the electoral fruit of this get-out-the-early-vote drive.

Harris, Dallas, Bexar and Travis counties all are Democratic strongholds. I have acquaintances in blood-red Randall and Potter counties who believe the Democratic ticket is catching fire up yonder in the Panhandle. I … am not so sure about that.

However, the record-setting early-vote turnout in those Democratic bastions gives me hope that just maybe, perhaps, possibly the state could turn from an R to a D on the strength of that monstrous balloting tide.

To be sure, the Trumpkins are turning out as well. They’re flying plenty of “Trump-Pence” flags in rural Texas. Donald Trump, though, isn’t going to pitch a huge early vote among his faithful. Indeed, he wants fewer of us do our patriotic duty. Go figure.

Texans answer the call

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas started voting for president of the United States today.

How are we doing? How is the state responding to the mostly Democratic call to vote early? First indications suggest that we answered the call.

My wife and I became statistics in that effort. We voted early today. Indeed, we voted before noon today. We didn’t see a huge crowd, although voter traffic in our Princeton precinct appeared brisk.

Reporting statewide suggest that the larger counties experienced gigantic turnouts at polling places. Travis County? Big. Same with Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar counties.

I have long been a bit suspicious about early voting turnout and whether it indicates larger turnouts overall. In the past, we have seen only that larger early voter turnout means only that more voters cast their ballots prior to Election Day; the total number has remained static. In Texas, that overall turnout has remained among the worst in the nation.

That might be changing this time, given the panic that Donald Trump is trying to instill in voting Americans; he keeps yapping about “rampant fraud” in the election. There’s no such thing as “rampant” fraud anywhere.

The conventional wisdom suggests that large turnout helps Democrats, which is why Republicans are trying to suppress that turnout — with help from Russia.

Let’s see how his plays out until Oct. 30, the final day Texans can vote early. My ol’ trick knee is beginning to throb and it’s telling me we might see the dawn of a new political day in Texas.

Deed is done!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It’s done! We voted today … on the first day of early voting in Texas.

I am proud of myself and of my wife for tossing aside our long-held objection to early voting and casting our ballots for president/vice president and on down through the various contests.

We had thought about traveling to the Allen Event Center, a spacious venue where we could be assured of maintaining proper social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Then we thought differently. We voted instead in Princeton, where the poll workers had set up an efficient procedure at First Baptist Church to guarantee social distancing and to protect us in various ways from getting infected by the COVID-19 virus.

The parking lot across the street from the polling place was full of folks, some of them candidates. We were approached by two of them, a Princeton mayoral candidate and a candidate for the Princeton school board of trustees. We walked by a table manned by Democrats who offered us a sheet showing the “Democratic slate” of candidates. No thanks, we said; we got ya covered.

We didn’t wait in line. However, my sense is that the traffic had been brisk all morning and that it would remain that way at least for the first few days of early voting.

This is a good thing for those of us who are concerned about the scare tactics being blurted by Donald Trump and his GOP minions who keep citing something called “rampant voter fraud.” In truth, there is no such thing as “rampant” fraud. It’s, um, shall we say — “fake news.”

So, our votes are now logged into the system.

We did our patriotic duty. I am a proud American today.

Don’t leave this matter up to someone else

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

There once was a time when I worked for a living … and during that time of my life I would write newspaper editorials urging people at election time to be sure to vote.

My argument was simple. I tried to rejigger it to avoid repeating myself. It would go something like this:

If you do not vote, then you are going to leave this critical decision to someone else, someone who might not share your world view. Do you really want to cede that responsibility when you can take control of it in your own hands?

That argument is never more relevant than it is today.

I refer to the presidential election that’s coming up on Nov. 3. My wife and I intend to vote Tuesday morning on the first day of early voting in Texas. I once was adamantly opposed to early voting. I sought to hedge my bet, guarding against someone who gets my vote from messing up after I vote for him/her but before Election Day.

That rationale is no longer in play this time. I am concerned about what Donald Trump might do to muck up the election result. He is going to challenge the result, possibly, if Joe Biden gets more votes for president than he does. That’s why I intend to vote early. My wife, too.

We intend to get our votes recorded and logged into the system.

I also want to encourage everyone who can to vote early. If we do not vote ourselves for the presidency, then we are going to leave that decision to someone else who might want to (gulp!) keep Donald Trump in office for another four years.

The person you see at the other end of the church pew might be a Trumpkin. So might your next-door neighbor. Or the crowds you see at the grocery store.

Me? I am a die-heard Bidenista. I intend to cast my vote early. I don’t want to be the only person at our Princeton, Texas polling place. I want there to be a crowd of folks. I am prepared to wait in line.

I’ll be damned if I am going to leave this decision to someone who doesn’t agree with my world view.

Anxious to vote!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I cannot even begin to believe how my attitude about early voting has changed, given the context of the time.

That said, I am waiting anxiously to cast my vote on Tuesday. My wife and I will trek to a local church to cast our ballots. We want to get them recorded into the electronic system. We will insist that our votes count … as if we don’t always insist on it.

Donald Trump has sought to cast doubt on the integrity of our electoral system. I don’t believe a word he says about “rampant voter fraud” as a result of mail-in balloting. Still, I want to ensure my vote gets logged into the massive system in Collin County, then counted among the millions of Texas ballots that will be cast.

Yes, Joe Biden has our support. We want to ensure he gets it. We need him to win this election. We need former Vice President Biden to restore the presidency to a level of respect, dignity and decorum that Donald Trump has plowed asunder.

We also need him to exhibit actual leadership in this fight against the pandemic that has killed more than 215,000 Americans.

I once would have held out until Election Day to cast my ballot. The tenor of our times prompts me to rethink that dedication to Election Day voting.

We’ll be standing in line if there is a line forming at the church where we intend to vote. We’ll be masked up, standing a “social distance” from our fellow Americans and we’ll observe all the instructions the poll workers will provide to keep us safe and healthy.

Bring it!

Take that, Gov. Abbott

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The fight over whether Texas can have more than one ballot box drop-off location per county should be over … but it likely is going to drag on.

Damn!

U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman of Austin has ruled that Gov. Greg Abbott’s order limiting each of Texas’s 254 counties to a single drop-off location for absentee ballots is no longer valid. The state likely will appeal the ruling.

Pitman, named to the federal bench in 2014 by President Obama, said Abbott failed to prove the existence of widespread voter fraud, which was the governor’s rationale for limiting the drop-off locations. Abbott’s order in fact placed a hardship on those who live long distances from those locations. Moreover, the ruling inhibited voter participation in many of Texas’s more populated counties.

I live in Collin County, home to more than 1 million Texans. Many of them are voting already. Early in-person voting begins next Tuesday. However, in our county, we were limited to just a single drop-off site, the same as next-door Dallas County (a much more populous county) and tiny rural counties that have only a handful of voters.

“By limiting ballot return centers to one per county,” Pitman wrote, “older and disabled voters living in Texas’s largest and most populous counties must travel further distances to more crowded ballot return centers where they would be at an increased risk of being infected by the coronavirus in order to exercise their right to vote and have it counted.”

This whole issue, quite naturally, is revolving around a partisan axis. Democrats hated the governor’s decision; Republicans applauded it. Democrats contend the GOP governor aims to suppress the vote; Republicans contend the governor is right to be concerned about ballot security.

Except for this: There is no evidence of widespread ballot theft. Therefore, I’ll got with the Democrats’ assertion that the GOP seeks in reduce voter participation this November, believing that more voters means their guy at the top of the ballot — Donald J. Trump — is going to lose.

Which is why Democrats, led by presidential nominee Joe Biden, are urging early voting whenever possible. They want us all to have our voices heard.

To that end, Judge Pitman has sounded a clarion call for greater voter participation.

Can we vote yet?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I guess  you could say I have come full circle on this early-voting matter.

There once was a day when I would resist casting my ballot early, fearing that my candidate(s) would do something stupid or possibly illegal between the time I cast my vote and Election Day.

Those days have been plowed asunder over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. I now am anxious to vote and to vote early.

Texans can begin voting next Tuesday. My wife and I will venture to First Baptist Church in Princeton to cast our ballots. My hope now is simply to cast my vote and to ensure that it is recorded properly in the Collin County election system, which is as high-tech an apparatus as you’ll see anywhere.

Am I concerned about voting in person? Yes, but only a little. We voted at the church in this year’s primary and we were impressed with the care the poll workers took to ensure we were masked up, that kept appropriate “social distance” and that we didn’t touch anything that didn’t relate directly to the act of voting. Through it all the poll workers were spraying every surface they could find with disinfectant.

We are going to have our voices heard no matter what. I guess my preference would have been to vote by mail. We have chosen instead to troop down the street for just a few minutes to vote in person.

We have heard the message from Joe Biden and others who back him: Vote early, either in person or by mail … just be sure to vote.

Vote early … or else?

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I truly cannot believe I am saying this, but the decision we have made in our house to vote early is beginning to look more attractive with each passing day.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made the decision even more righteous by deciding to limit hand-delivered absentee drop boxes to one per county. That’s one place to drop off your ballots no matter whether you live in a small rural county or a large urban one. My wife and I reside in Collin County, home to 1 million Texans.

Let’s see how this works. Democrats blame the Republican governor of employing voter-suppression tactics by issuing such a restrictive order.

The Texas Tribune reports: Voting rights advocates say Abbott’s move will make absentee balloting more difficult in a year when more Texans than ever are expected to vote by mail. Drop-off locations, advocates said, are particularly important given concerns about Postal Service delays, especially for disabled voters or those without access to reliable transportation.

… Abbott described his proclamation as an effort to “strengthen ballot security protocols throughout the state.” A spokesperson did not respond to questions about how allowing multiple drop-off locations might lead to fraud.

The USPS has come under intense scrutiny over the way it plans to handle a huge spike in mail-in voting in this pandemic age.

My wife and I intend to vote early in person at one of the polling locations set aside here in Collin County. We might vote at the Allen Event Center, which is a sizable venue that provides ample space for us to “socially distance.” Or we might vote at First Baptist Church in Princeton, where we’ve voted in earlier elections. We were impressed with how well the poll workers kept us safe during that election, so we might stay close to home to cast our ballots.

I would have preferred to wait until Election Day to cast my ballot. I now will heed the plea offered by Joe Biden and others in his camp who urge Americans to vote early. Vote “in person” if we can. Well, we can vote in person so we will do that and we will do so early.

I want my vote to count. I suppose, furthermore, that perhaps Donald Trump has sown enough suspicion in my own mind and heart about the Postal Service to make sure I vote in person at the earliest possible moment.

Looking forward to early Election Day

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I truly cannot believe I am about to make the following statement.

Which is that I am looking forward to voting early for president of the United States of America.

Texas opens the door to early voting on Oct. 13. We keep hearing about the need to vote as early as possible, to vote in person if we can and if we can protect ourselves against the coronavirus.

We’re going to vote on the first day of early voting. 

You know of my longstanding desire to wait until Election Day to cast my ballot. I am tossing that preference aside with increasing glee.

I am growing more concerned about Donald Trump’s potential for electoral chicanery. He says the only way Joe Biden will win is if the election is “rigged.” Trump is threatening to refuse to accept the result if Biden gets more votes than he does. Trump is suggesting “rampant voter fraud” where no fraud exists.

So with that in mind, we are going to the polls on the first day of early voting. We’ll stand in a socially distanced line for as long as it takes on that day. We will then cast our ballots.

We will vote proudly for Joe Biden. Our votes will be logged into our state’s electronic balloting system.

Then we will await the results of the election.

If Biden wins and then restores dignity to the office of the presidency, my hope is that he ends the suspicion being hurled at our electoral system.

The most frightening aspect of this suspicion is that it is coming from the guy who is masquerading as our current president. We are witnessing an astonishing display of desperation from Donald J. Trump.

I will answer Donald Trump’s horrifying effort to undermine our electoral system by voting early on the very first day that the option becomes available.

Changing election views

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

This blasted COVID-19 pandemic is forcing yours truly into a significant change in attitude about how to conduct elections.

I mean, I used to stand solidly behind the notion of voting exclusively on Election Day. I still like the idea. I would prefer to vote that way.

Then the pandemic struck. It has filled me with serious concern about getting sick while waiting to cast my ballot. So … I became a fan of voting by mail. It isn’t inherently corrupt, as Donald Trump alleges — with no basis for the allegation of “rampant voter fraud.” 

Given that I live in Texas, a state that isn’t likely to welcome universal mail-in voting, I am now going to endorse the notion of voting early. My wife and I plan to do so on the first day we can vote in Texas.

Why the change of heart? I keep hearing from election experts that early voting is the best way to ensure that our ballot gets counted.

Therein lies the fundamental reason for any concern about Election 2020. It is imperative that our votes count. It is critical to everyone that their voices are heard.

All this yammering about potential U.S. Postal Service screw-ups and how our ballots might not arrive in time, or that they might get tossed for this and/or that reason makes me a bit nervous. I do have faith in our local election officials’ ability to conduct a free, fair and accurate election.

However, just to be sure …

We’re going to vote early. We have some time yet in Texas to cast our ballots.

Were it not for this pandemic, I would be waiting all the way to Election Day. This is a big part of the “new normal” that neither my wife and I anticipated when the pandemic swept across the United States.

We’re ready for it.