As if 2020 and COVID-19 weren't making things difficult already, it's also an election year. During the primary, the problems were clear: It's difficult to social distance, and many voting precincts had closed due to a lack of volunteers. The obvious solution is voting absentee (I wrote about this
and "fake news" regarding absentee balloting 2 weeks ago). With the primaries over and the Dem convention in full swing, it's time to look ahead and plan for November and how you will vote.
As mentioned in my previous blog, 5 states have already been doing all-mail-in voting for years, and it works very well for them. But what about your
state? Are there limitations? How do you request it? What happens if you don't get the ballot in time?
Fortunately, there are online resources for you: Vote.org
has some very good information. Just find your state, and you will have links for what the state's plan is with COVID-19, some accumulated information for your state, a link to your state's election site, and a link to request an absentee ballot.This ABC News site
has good information for each state, including deadlines and requirements for each state. This US Government site
has a link to your state's election site, if that's all you need.Ballotpedia.org
Has a comprehensive analysis of each state's changes to voting rules for this election because of COVID-19.
One of the things to consider most strongly (once you've decided you're going to vote absentee) is what to do with your ballot once you get it and make your selections. The most obvious action would be to mail it in (check the envelope for what the proper postage is - if any. Many states don't require postage at all).
However, the USPS is undergoing an eruption of changes which appear to be blatantly aimed at disrupting service. The new Postmaster General has eliminated overtime, removed sidewalk mail drop boxes, and actually removed automatic sorting machines. Perhaps in tRump's "mind", he's thinking that anyone who wants to vote absentee is someone who cares about their well-being, and thus must be a Democrat. He may also be realizing that mailed in paper ballots cannot be hacked the way electronic voting machines can.
There's also the galling conflict of interest in that Louis DeJoy (the Postmaster General) is heavily invested in UPS and FedEx
, both of which are obvious competitors to the USPS. It's as if tRump's version of "drain the swamp" is to instead let the foxes into the hen house.
Because of this, I think the prudent thing to do is hand-deliver your ballot (if you're physically able to) to a local drop-off point, rather than mailing it in. Using the links provided above, you should be able to find the closest one to you, and your "window of opportunity" for dropping it off. That will ensure it arrives, while also taking the stress off an already overburdened postal system. This will generally be easier in more populated areas, but this is one of the most important elections in our lifetime, so be sure your vote gets counted!