Tag Archives: vote by mail

Trump undermines our electoral system

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

When have you ever heard of a president contend that an election will be “rigged” in any context? When has a president been so callous, careless and contemptuous of our electoral system to suggest that it would be corrupted enough to produce a result that he doesn’t prefer?

I am astonished beyond measure at the rhetoric that is coming from Donald John Trump as he seeks to undermine the very electoral system he took an oath to protect.

Trump has been beating the “Democrats will rig the election” drum. He stands before rally crowds and declares that the Democratic Party is seeking to “rig” the 2020 election by sending out “millions of ballots” to people who aren’t entitled to receive them.

For starters, there is not a single shred of truth to Trump’s specious assertion. Beyond that particular lie — which is precisely what it is — there is the very idea that Trump would seek to undermine the electoral system.

Just ponder that for a moment.

Trump’s presidential oath included a pledge to protect the system of government he was elected to run. What in the name of constitutional integrity is Donald Trump seeking to do here? I think I know. He seeks to torpedo the very electoral system by sowing seeds of doubt over its integrity.

His target du jour is mail-in voting. Several states have been conducting all-mail voting for years. Trump says the system invites widespread voter fraud. No! It does nothing of the sort!

My home state of Oregon was the first state to enact a vote by mail system. It did so in 1998. A study by the Heritage Foundation, a noted conservative think tank, has revealed some fascinating data.

During the time Oregon has allowed voting by mail, Heritage uncovered 15 cases of outright voter fraud. How many ballots were cast during the time period examined? Nearly 15.5 million of them!

Fifteen cases of fraud against 15.5 million total ballots. Does that look to you like a case of “rampant voter fraud?”

And yet … Donald Trump keeps hammering at the voter fraud red herring as if it’s the real thing. It is a figment of Trump’s political strategists. It poses a serious danger to our very system of free of fair elections.

To think that this is all coming from the president of the United States. Despicable.

Trump to NC voters: Hey, break the law! Vote twice!

Donald J. Trump, who in 2016 invited Russia to hack into our electoral system, has now encouraged North Carolina voters to commit an illegal act.

He says they should seek to vote twice to test the state’s voting system, to see if it is as fail safe against voter fraud as state officials insist it is.

What in the name of good government have we come to in this country? The president of the United States, who took an oath to follow the law and to be faithful to the U.S. Constitution, is now suggesting that voters in one of our states break the law.

He is encouraging voters to cast their ballots by mail and by voting in person at the polling place. Good grief! This individual is nuttier than a fruitcake.

To think that he continues to cling to the support of roughly 40 percent of the voting public — give or take a point or two — simply blows my mind!

Trump is unhinged. Get a load of what Reuters is reporting as well: Voting more than once in an election is illegal and in some states, including North Carolina, it is a felony not only to vote more than once but also to induce another to do so.

Do you know what this means? It means we have a felon sitting in the Oval Office.

Arrest that man … and lock him up!

It’s Trump vs. USPS

Donald J. “Dimwit in Chief” Trump has declared proverbial war on the United States Postal Service.

Yep, the president doesn’t want to allocate money to USPS on the basis of some specious contention that voting by mail is inherently corrupt and that it would benefit Democrats more than Republicans.

So, there you have it. Trump told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo that he will seek to withhold money for the USPS because it might use that money to institute voting by mail in time for the Nov. 3 general election.

Is there possibly anything more disgraceful than to hear a president say that he doesn’t want to grant people every opportunity to vote in a free and fair election? The head of the world’s greatest democratic republic is now on record telling us that he opposes granting the Postal Service the funds it needs to operate efficiently.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a longtime Trump supporter, agrees with Trump … naturally! He is systematically stripping the USPS of its operational ability to deliver the mail with maximum efficiency, in an apparent precursor to the voter suppression tactics Trump intends to employ to tamp down turnout for the Nov. 3 general election.

Trump’s disgraceful, disgusting and dishonorable attack on the Postal Service no longer surprises any of us. It doesn’t make any less deplorable.

We are in the midst of a pandemic. Many Americans are concerned about voting in person on Election Day. They want the option of voting by mail. We have a watershed election on tap, one that demands maximum participation among the American voting public.

And we have a president of the United States who wants to inhibit those voting opportunities, which is just one more reason to kick his sorry backside out of office.

Texas Democrats to ask SCOTUS for help in voting by mail

This is likely a bit of a reach, but perhaps the Texas Democratic Party is heartened by the U.S. Supreme Court decision to include LGBTQ Americans as those who are protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Texas Democrats today have asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on the issue of voting by mail, something Democrats want and which Republicans oppose. The high court had been seen by many as a fallback for rigid GOP conservatism; the LGBTQ ruling, though, now suggests there might be a glimmer of independence inside the nine-member Supreme Court.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has put the brakes on a lower court Texas ruling that cleared the way for voting by mail. The Fifth Circuit sided with GOP officials who keep arguing that vote by mail is too fraught with potential corruption, despite claims to the contrary by elections officials in states that have all-mail voting.

At issue is that damn pandemic that is infecting and killing Americans. Democrats are concerned that in-person voting might expose too many Americans to the COVID-19 virus. They want to boost voter turnout by allowing all-mail voting, something Republicans dislike seemingly because it would invite too many anti-Donald Trump voters to cast their ballots for president this fall.

This is no big flash, but I am standing with Democrats on this one. They have reason to be concerned about “voter suppression,” which is being practiced in the guise of protecting us against “rampant voter fraud” that simply doesn’t exist.

Donald Trump is cooking up this excuse because he fears the outcome of an election that produces massive voter turnout. His GOP allies out here in Trump Country are lining up behind him.

Democrats, meanwhile, are turning to the Supreme Court for a decision on the matter. As the Texas Tribune reports, Democrats want the court to rule on a Fifth Circuit “block on a sweeping ruling that would allow all Texas voters who are seeking to avoid becoming infected at in-person polling places to instead vote by mail. Early voting for the July 14 primary runoff election begins on June 29.”

And … yes, this has implications down the road, for the presidential election in November.

Growing fonder of vote by mail

I am not King of the World, but if I held that title, I would mandate that we all vote on Election Day, in person, in the privacy of a polling booth.

However, since I cannot do that, I am left to deal with the real world. Reality at this moment rests in a pandemic that threatens the health of voters who want to cast their ballots for president of the United States. They fear that voting in person would expose them to COVID-19. So they want to cast their ballots by mail.

I do, too.

Thus, I am baffled, flabbergasted and confused by the opposition to vote by mail by Texas’ top elected officials. Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton have formed a troika that opposes vote by mail.

Why? They contend it invites rampant voter fraud. They parrot Donald Trump. They’re all Republicans. They are launching a sickening end-around game that seeks to suppress voter turnout.

The Texas Tribune also reports — and this is rich, man! — that all three of them (four if you count Trump) have cast ballots by mail in the past. They have done so out of convenience, I reckon. The TT reports that Paxton regularly votes in person in his Collin County precinct, but has voted by mail. Same for Patrick and, yes, for Abbott.

So what’s the real problem here? Is it voter fraud as they contend? I think not!

I am not necessarily a fan of all-mail voting. You know that already. However I prefer it by a wide margin over not voting at all. I am one Texas resident who has a concern about potential exposure to a possible killer virus.

I also want Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick and Ken Paxton to stop hiding behind a phony excuse as justification for refusing to allow as many Texans as possible to cast ballots for the next president.

Rampant voter fraud does not exist. Nor will it exist if we develop a secure system of voting by mail.

Voter fraud: reddest of herrings

I am likely to begin screaming at the top of my lungs.

What will cause me such apoplexy? It will occur the next time I hear Donald John “Smartest Man in History in Chief” Trump declare that mail-in voting is an inherently corrupt method of exercising our rights as citizenship.

The second-most probable cause for my scream would be to hear it from his Republican cultists who like to echo the idiocy that pours forth from the nation’s No. 1 liar.

Texas might allow voters to cast their ballots by mail for the July runoff elections that were delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, it is that very health crisis that gives all-mail voting the legs it normally wouldn’t necessarily have.

I need to remind everyone who fears a non-existent threat of “rampant voter fraud” of this fundamental truth.

It is this: We already have voter fraud in this country. It’s been a small problem in certain pockets of the country for, oh, about as long as we have had a United States of America. Every now and then, we hear about cadavers casting ballots; does Duval County, Texas, ring a bell for anyone?

Do we have widespread, rampant voter fraud now? No. We do not!

Does mail-in voting necessarily produce voter fraud? No. It does not!

How does one define “widespread” voter fraud? Well, I suggest it involves a level of fraudulent voting that far exceeds the hit-miss instances we hear about on occasion.

In 2016, roughly 135 million Americans voted for president of the United States. The vast bulk of those votes went either to Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Virtually every ballot cast in 2016 was done according to the rules set by every state in the nation.

However, you will recall that Trump came forth with an accusation that since has been debunked and dismissed, that about 5 million “illegal aliens” voted for Clinton, giving her the 3-million vote plurality she won; Trump was elected, though, because he won enough Electoral College votes to win the presidency.

My point is that Trump’s yammering about mail-in voting “corruption” is merely a continuation of his ongoing bitching about the voting process.

Voter fraud is a canard, a phony-baloney excuse to disguise Trump’s real intent, which is to deny Americans the ability to vote. Mail-in voting boosts turnout tremendously and empowers Americans who otherwise might be inclined to sit on their hands.

With the nation still reeling from a pandemic, we need to search for ways to keep our democratic process alive and well.

Mail-in voting far better than not voting at all

I offer this recommendation with a hint of trepidation, given my often-stated preference for traditional Election Day voting.

Given the option of facing an election later this year threatened by potentially fatal viral infection, I choose instead to endorse a revolutionary reform in the way we elect our presidents: Let’s go to a mail-in system.

Donald Trump doesn’t want this to occur even under the threat of the coronavirus pandemic. The president says, without a hint of evidence, that mail-in balloting is corrupt, that it invites voter fraud.

We all know what’s going on inside Trump’s thick and vacuous skull: He sees a system that would boost voter turnout and it poses a threat to his re-election.

Five states conduct their elections by mail. One of them is Oregon, the state where I was born and where mail-in voting was first begun. All the states report that their systems are secure. Moreover, they all report that incidents of fraudulent voting constitute a tiny, infinitesimal portion of the total number of ballots cast.

Mail-in voting can be done nationally on a state-by-state basis.

Texas isn’t one of the mail-in election states. A state judge recently issued a ruling that opens the door to more expansive mail-in voting in Texas. State Attorney General Ken “The Indicted One” Paxton has said he plans to appeal the ruling; the AG doesn’t want mail-in voting, either.

Americans are faced with a potentially frightening dilemma this November if they are forced to go to their polling places while the pandemic is still sickening and killing us. How do they venture to the polls and expose themselves to possibly being infected by the COVID-19 virus?

What’s the option? Staying at home and filling out a ballot that comes to them via the Postal Service and then sending the ballot back to the county election office where it will be stored until it’s counted on Election Day.

The turnout among residents who face that threat would increase dramatically. Indeed, states with mail-in voting report voter turnout that far exceeds the national average.

What, I must ask, is wrong with allowing more rather than fewer Americans the chance to cast their ballots? Isn’t a representative democracy built from a framework that encourages greater participation? Of course it is!

My version of The Perfect World would be an election system that allows us to vote on Election Day at the polling place of our choice. Moreover, such a world would produce voter turnouts that outpace the sometimes dismal turnouts we experience.

I cannot achieve electoral perfection. Moreover, I certainly can’t achieve it with the potentially dire threat posed by a killer virus.

A reasonable and workable alternative is to allow American citizens the chance to vote by mail for president of the United States.

It is time to come up with an alternate election plan

This is not a great flash, but I’ll offer this bit of advice anyway. Donald Trump needs immediately to order a blue-ribbon team of experts to devise a way to conduct a presidential election Nov. 3 if conditions do not allow for a safe in-person vote of citizens.

We have been at that moment for several weeks now. The U.S. Constitution sets out an election date, which is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. That cannot be changed without amending the Constitution.

I offer this bit of advice only because presidents take an oath that implies many unspecified responsibilities. One of them is that the president must be able to multitask in times of  crisis.

We’re in the midst of a monumental crisis at the moment, with the coronavirus killing thousands of Americans and — at this time — making in-person balloting impossible, given the threat of exposure to infection.

So it becomes imperative, absolutely essential for there to be an alternative to voting drawn up, tested and determined to be an effective way for Americans to cast their ballots for president of the United States … on Nov. 3.

The best alternative to the current system, it seems to me, is mail-in balloting. Several states already conduct elections using the U.S. Postal Service. Surely, clearly there must be some statewide experts in, say, Oregon and Washington — where this is done already — who would be willing to share their knowledge and how we can employ such a system nationally if the need arises.

I am aware that Trump thinks Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is a “snake,” and he likely doesn’t think much of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. I mean, they’re both Democrats. However, they also govern states that have employed voting by mail successfully.

Time is not anyone’s ally here. Let’s get busy looking for alternatives to conducting the 2020 presidential election.

Vote by mail in case of emergency? Hmm, let’s think about this

They’ve been voting for president by mail in the state of my birth, Oregon, since 2000.

Now the state’s senior U.S. senator, Democrat Ron Wyden, has come up with an idea to nationalize this practice in case of a medical emergency that prohibits Americans from traipsing to their polling places on Election Day.

Man, oh man. This gives me fits. Here’s why.

I like what I consider to be the “pageantry” of voting on Election Day, of going to the polling place and casting my ballot. I like handing my ballot to an election judge or placing it into a bin where it’s counted once the polling place closes.

Oregon and a few other states do it differently. They send ballots to voters in the mail. Voters then fill out their ballots and send ’em in also by mail. They’re collected and then tabulated.

Sen. Wyden’s idea might be worth doing … but only if the current pandemic escalates into something far more dangerous than it is at this moment.

As The Oregonian reports: “No voter should have to choose between exercising their constitutional right and putting their health at risk,” Wyden told The Washington Post. “When disaster strikes, the safest route for seniors, individuals with compromised immune systems or other at-risk populations is to provide every voter with a paper ballot they can return by mail or drop-off site.”

Wyden is asking the federal government for $500 million to help states get ready for a vote-by-mail program if national health officials determine it’s too dangerous medically for voters to cast their ballots the old-fashioned way.

If that’s what happens, then I’m all for it. I will not surrender my right as an American patriot to do my civic duty, to perform my role as a citizen.

Beto on Texas vote turnout: It’s a conspiracy?

Readers of this blog know that I admire Beto O’Rourke, the former West Texas congressman who nearly got elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018.

However, I believe the young man is mistaken when he offers this reason — as published in this Twitter message — for the historically low voter turnout in Texas. He blames it on some sort of conspiracy by “those in power.”

Hmm. Here’s my take on it.

I believe Texans at times suffer from a case of “voter fatigue.” It’s also a bit of a cultural phenomenon that afflicts suppressed voter turnout here. The lowest percentage of turnouts occur in states that formerly comprised the Old Confederacy. Does that mean we care less about the health of our form of government that citizens who live in high-turnout states such as Wisconsin, Oregon and Washington? No, it doesn’t mean that all.

Texas’ Constitution establishes a lot of electoral offices. We vote for our entire slate of statewide constitutional offices every four years; those elections occur during those “midterm” years. We vote for municipal and school district offices every odd-numbered year. If we live in a community college district, we get to vote on boards of regents, too!

O’Rourke blames this lack of turnout on the ability of “those in power” to suppress voter participation. I believe that is an overly cynical view.

I remain a voting traditionalist. I prefer to vote on Election Day when I’ll be at home. I am no fan of vote by mail, which some states require; it’s been said that the high turnout in Oregon and Washington is a direct result of those states’ mail-voting provisions.

I would like to see Election Day turned into a national holiday. I would like to see state, local and federal governments conduct intensive public-service campaigns to encourage voter turnout.

As a voting junkie, I enjoy the prospect of standing in line at my polling place and waiting my turn to exercise my constitutional right of citizenship.

I just cannot buy into Beto’s belief that the lack of turnout in Texas is the result of some dark conspiracy.

What now? Well, Beto might run for president in 2020. Maybe he can channel the enthusiasm he generated in his near-miss loss for the U.S. Senate in Texas into a national wave. That would dispel any conspiratorial notion, correct?