Tag Archives: mail-in voting

Shame on you, Gov. Abbott

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

What you see on this blog is an editorial illustration that spells out the idiocy of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to restrict the number of mail-in drop boxes for each of the state’s 254 counties.

Harris County is the state’s most populous county. Loving County is the least populated county. They both get a single drop box. I live in Collin County, with a population of more than 1 million residents; we get a single drop box, too. As does Dallas County, Bexar County, Travis County … all of em!

You want to see a thinly veiled attempt at voter suppression? This map spells it out for you.

Abbott declared some phony concern over ballot security. Never mind the absence of any credible evidence that supports that concern. County election officials throughout Texas do their jobs with diligence and dedication. They take oaths to protect the U.S. and Texas constitutions.

Abbott’s answer to this bogus fear is to eliminate multiple drop box sites in all counties regardless of their population.

I am incredulous to think that Abbott actually believes we are going to fall for his fraudulent claim that ballot security is the driving force behind this maneuver. It is nothing of the sort.

What we see here is an attempt to persuade potentially millions of Texans from voting early, which purportedly bodes well for Democratic candidates and poorly for Republicans — such as Gov. Abbott.

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.

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.

Mind made up: going to vote early

I will vote early, but certainly not often, which would be corrupt, yes?

My wife and I have talked about whether we should vote early in this election cycle. We both have decided that, by golly, yes we will.

It gives me the nervous jerks to admit such a thing. I have written often over many years about my aversion to early voting in elections when I can vote on Election Day. This year, under certain circumstances, we have decided we’re going to avoid the crowd and vote early at a polling place to be announced soon by Collin County election officials. My concern centers on the fear that the candidate who gets my vote might mess up between the time I cast the ballot and when they count the ballots.

The coronavirus pandemic has frightened me sufficiently to forgo my usual Election Day routine.

I am not sure whether we’ll have vote by mail in Texas. Our state attorney general, Republican Ken Paxton, is vowing to resist voting in that fashion. He has swilled the Donald Trump Kool-Aid that makes him think all-mail voting is corrupt. It isn’t.

If Texas is not going to allow voting by mail, then I intend to vote early to ensure that my ballot gets logged in and that my wife and I can have our voices heard on who we want elected president of the United States.

Spoiler alert: It ain’t Donald J. Trump! It will be Joseph R. Biden Jr.!

The president is seeking to undermine the integrity and efficiency of our state and local election systems. He keeps harping on the specious and phony threat of corruption.

Our household intends to vote early to protect ourselves against exposure to the killer virus from a big Election Day crowd. I don’t expect Texas to join those states that have used all-mail voting with great success. We do a good job in Texas, though, in conducting early voting.

So … early voting will have to do.

The more the better

Democracy is a “participation sport.”

That is to say that the more citizens who participate in the democratic exercise of voting, the more representative the government that results is of the people it is designed to protect and defend.

This is my way of furthering an argument I used to make while working in daily print journalism. I aimed the argument at voters who failed to participate in local elections. Local government elections generally draw abysmal voter turnouts. I witnessed it in Oregon and Texas, where I worked for nearly 37 years as a journalist.

I sought to urge voters to cast their ballots so they would have a voice in the government that sets tax policy, determines the quality of law enforcement and fire protection, picks up the trash and provides water for us to drink.

So … how does this logic play out now as the nation prepares to elect a president of the United States? The same argument applies.

However, Donald Trump and his Republican pals want to suppress voter turnout. We have a pandemic raging across the country. Millions of voters are afraid of getting sick by voting on Election Day; they want to vote by mail. Trump opposes that idea, promoting a specious argument that mail-in voting is inherently corrupt. Except that it isn’t corrupt.

The Trumpkin Corps wants us to believe we cannot vote by mail without our ballots being stolen or compromised in an unspecified nefarious manner.

It is imperative that we do all we can to encourage more voters to decide this election. Not fewer of them. I do not want others to determine who we elect as president of the United States.

If we are able to vote by mail, I intend to cast my vote in that fashion. Absent that, I intend to vote early in Texas, even though I have a lengthy history of reciting on this blog my loathing of early voting. My preference is to vote on Election Day as a hedge against the candidate of my choice doing something stupid or criminal that makes me regret my vote.

The pandemic changes that dynamic for me.

Thus, it should be imperative that we allow more people to vote. The reasons are as straightforward as they are regarding local elections.

Democracy works better when more citizens — not fewer of them — take part in this fundamental element of living in a free society.

Rigged election? Yeah, maybe

I think I have figured out how the 2020 election is going to be “rigged.”

Donald Trump has launched what might become a self-fulfilling prophecy with his incessant yammering about how the election will be the “most corrupt in history.” The corruption well might come from Trump his own self.

He is seeking to withhold funds for the Postal Service to prevent the USPS from conducting mail-in voting. He contends that mail-in voting is inherently corrupt; he makes that accusation without a scintilla of evidence, quite naturally.

So he wants to suppress the vote. He wants to discourage Americans from voting, even as many of us fear being infected by the coronavirus pandemic that is killing about 1,000 Americans each day.

Trump wants to deny Americans the right to vote? That, I submit, is corruption at its worst.

So, what Trump is proposing is to taint the voting process, to produce the “most corrupt election in American history.”

Is that what Donald Trump would call a promise kept?

Voter fraud lie creates more secure system?

It occurs to me that Donald Trump’s incessant, relentless lying about “rampant voter fraud” involving mail-in voting might have a positive outcome.

Trump’s fraudulent assertion has alerted state and local election officials to do all they can to ensure voting security.

Indeed, Trump’s aim is to suppress voter turnout. More voters, in Trump’s view, means less likelihood that he’ll be re-elected on Nov. 3. That’s OK with me. I also favor greater turnout because is spreads electoral power among more people, diluting the power and influence of special interests.

I tend to favor in-person voting. I likely will vote in person on Election Day. However, I have no qualms about voting by mail if Texas election officials hand me that option in time for the presidential election. Am I concerned that my vote won’t count? No. Not in the least.

Indeed, all this attention being paid to Trump’s specious and malicious assertions of “rampant fraud” is likely to make mail-in voting even more secure than it already is in the states that allow or require it.

I have been able to watch local election officials do their job with professionalism. My career in print journalism gave me an up close look at county clerks in Oregon and in Texas, where I practiced my craft for nearly 37 years. They all performed their duties with professionalism. They were conscientious about the integrity of the system they managed.

Now that Donald Trump has raised a phony specter of “rampant voter fraud,” it stands to reason that he has alerted the officials on the front line of this process to be sure it remains safe and secure.

Thanks, Mr. President.

Now … shut the hell up!

Sowing fear of democracy

Donald J. Trump’s fear campaign is kicking into high gear.

It is despicable, deplorable and disgraceful. All at once. There are many more angry adjectives to attach to it.

He wants us to believe that mail-in voting is inherently corrupt. He floated the bizarre and unlawful idea that he would seek to delay the Nov. 3 election, claiming he wants to ensure a corruption-free balloting process. He can’t do anything of the sort and congressional leaders pushed back … hard! Trump has backed off that idiocy.

However, he has sown the seeds of doubt in the minds of many Americans. This is a preposterous and dangerous affront to an electoral system that works well in the states that employ it. Voter fraud? It’s infinitesimal! Indeed, it can be argued that mail-in voting is more secure than the conventional method.

That won’t stop Trump from seeking to block efforts to encourage voting in this Pandemic Era. He doesn’t give a rat’s a** about anything other than assuring his re-election.

He is denigrating the work that state and local officials do to protect against voter fraud. Why in the name of electoral integrity can’t we solicit the advice and counsel of state election officials on how they conduct all-mail voting? Of course we can! Donald Trump, though, will continue to hammer home the idea that this method of voting is somehow corrupt.

It … isn’t!

The Demagogue in Chief must cease his disgraceful campaign of fear. Sadly, he won’t.

Voter fraud issue is, um, a fraud

I want to give a serious full-throated shout-out to The Hill newspaper for providing a marvelous bit of perspective on the phony issue of voter fraud as it concerns the possibility of an all-mail vote for president of the United States later this year.

To sum it up: The fraudulent vote issue is a fraudulent allegation.

There you have it.

The Hill takes pains to point out that mail fraud is the rarest of political events in the United States. Moreover, it points out that in the state that began all-mail voting, the instance of mail fraud is even more rare than it is nationally. Oregon, the state where I was born, was the first of our states to conduct all-mail voting and has enjoyed great success in protecting the sanctity of this cherished right of citizenship.

Read The Hill story here.

Voter fraud has become a red herring, a canard, a phony excuse to keep more Americans from voting. Republicans are leading the amen chorus seeking to persuade Americans that mail-in voting invites fraudulent ballot-casting. The leader of that chorus is Donald John “Stable Genius in Chief” Trump, who of course tosses out that demagogic rhetoric without a scintilla of evidence to back it up.

All-mail voting is not the way I want to cast my ballot, but if the coronavirus is going to suppress the balloting because Americans fear potential deadly exposure to the virus, then all-mail voting is reasonable — and secure — alternative.

The voter fraud demagoguery needs to be called out for what it is: a bald-faced effort to suppress voter turnout as a dodge to protect certain politicians’ from losing their cherished perches of power.

More, not fewer, voters make democracy work

One of the obligatory editorials I would write back when I was a working stiff involved seeking to get voters to get off their duffs and do their duty as citizens of this great country.

Their duty involved voting. One of the arguments I sought to make at three newspapers where I wrote these opinion pieces was a straightforward one: More voters, not fewer of them, create a stronger democratic system.

Thus, when I hear arguments from mostly Republican officials who want to suppress voter participation, why, it just infuriates me to no end.

GOP officials in Texas and elsewhere are flinging the red herring about “rampant voter fraud” by opposing mail-in voting. What they really intend to do is to prevent voters from casting ballots particularly in this frightening moment … with the world reeling from the global coronavirus pandemic.

This bit of idiocy even came from the nation’s No. 1 Republican, Donald “Imbecile in Chief” Trump, who said mail-in voting — in addition to promoting voter fraud — would doom Republicans from getting elected. Keep that in mind. I’ll get back to that.

A federal judge recently ruled that Texans who fear coming down with the COVID-19 virus by voting in person on Election Day are free to cast their ballots by mail; the U.S. Fifth Circuit of Appeals, though, put the brakes on the judge’s ruling. So we’re now back to Square One.

Republicans in Texans, led by Attorney General Ken Paxton, appear more frightened at the prospect of more voters taking part in an all-mail election. Paxton hides behind the bogus notion of “widespread voter fraud.” The five states that conduct their elections by mail-in voting report no evidence of rampant fraudulent voting. Is there some voter fraud? Sure. There also is fraudulent voting when citizens cast their ballots on Election Day — in polling booths.

Back to my fundamental point. My argument about more voters making for a stronger democratic system than fewer of them holds up now as it has all along.

Paltry voter turnouts undeniably hand more power to fewer people. They deny consensus decisions. They result in voters ceding the power granted to them in the U.S. Constitution to someone who might feel differently about issues and candidates.

Thus, if we are facing an ongoing global pandemic, I want there to be a mail-in option to ensure greater voter turnout. I want a stronger, not a weaker, democratic system.