If You Can, Vote In Person In November. It’s Important

Don’t Give Donald Trump Any Reason Play Games With The Election Results; He Will

The global COVID-19 pandemic has upended our everyday lives, kept us staying at or close to home and avoiding public places as much as we can. It also hit right smack in the middle of the biggest campaign season; primary elections for state and federal races, including the race for President. That meant delays for those elections, as well as special elections that had been scheduled, and questions about how we could vote safely.

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Most states decided to change their primaries to entirely vote-by-mail, already a method of voting used in several states including Oregon, Washington and California. Now, most states are looking to at least give the option to mail-in votes from home to all voters for the general election on Nov. 3, where Americans will decide if Donald Trump retains his job for another four years, or gets the ultimate “You’re Fired.” Progressives and voting rights activists have long been pushing for mail-in voting because it makes voting more accessible to people who have trouble getting to polling places, including the elderly, college students and people with disabilities. Election results have also found young people are more likely to turn out when they could mail in their votes. The pandemic finally presented an opportunity to push the issue of mail-in voting.

Some states, like Arizona, California and Washington, take weeks to count all their votes because mail-in votes have to be postmarked by or on Election Day, meaning they are often received at election offices days later. That means many races in these states are not called on Election Night. This has created concerns over whether or not we will know who the winner of the presidency is on the night of Nov. 3, and what will happen if we don’t.

Arizona is the most concerning. It is considered a tossup state this year and could be the state that gives the winner his winning 270th electoral vote. In the 2018 midterm elections, several races in Arizona saw the Republican candidate ahead on Election Night, but the Democrat catch up and take the lead as mail-in votes were counted during the next week, ultimately ending in their victories (Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs were both trailing their GOP opponents on Election Night, but ultimately won). The nightmare scenario is one in which it looks as if Trump won on Election Night, but the counting of the tens of millions of absentee ballots in Arizona and elsewhere in the days and weeks after puts Biden over the top. With Trump coming out against mail-in ballots – even going so far as to suggest delaying the election – it is increasingly likely he will refuse to concede the election if these ballots put Biden over the top after it appeared Trump was ahead on Election Night. Who could forget the Trump meltdown on Election Night in 2012 when the election was called for Barack Obama even though his Republican opponent Mitt Romney appeared to be winning the popular vote. Trump practically called for a coup d’teat.

Obama ultimately won the popular vote when late mail-in ballots from California were counted, as well as absentee ballots.

The threat of Trump sending in the FBI, or worse the military, to stop counting mail-in ballots after Election Day in Phoenix and other state capitals is terrifying. Further, with news today that the United States Post Office is slowing delivery, its possible some votes may never be postmarked or be postmarked after Election Day, giving the Trump campaign clear cause to have them thrown out. Its clear the Trump administration will do anything to thwart mail-in voting this year.

Remember, this is more than just Trump’s ego not wanting to be bruised by a loss. There’s a chance Trump goes to prison once he’s out of office. New York State is investigating him and its possible Biden’s DOJ will also look into some of his actions. He isn’t just fighting for his job, he’s fighting for his freedom and perhaps the rest of his life. He’s desperate and will do anything to win.

Also, while several states have been doing mail-voting successfully for years, most states are being forced into it because of the pandemic. This trial-by-fire implementation of mail-in voting hasn’t been going so well everywhere. In New York, tens of thousands of ballots either arrived late to voters (some were not even sent out until the day before the election), or were disqualified for not having a postmark – a problem caused by the post office and not the voter. The sloth-like speed in counting votes, and the problems with postmarking and delivery, put in question how reliable mail-in voting is for the states that don’t already do it regularly.

But thankfully, voting in person, even in a pandemic, has proven to be safe.

The April 7 Wisconsin primary proved that even under the worst conditions – raging pandemic and voter suppression – voting in person is possible with low risk. Voters had to wait in long lines to vote in Milwaukee because an attempt by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to change it to all mail-in was thwarted by Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled legislature, and only one polling place was opened in Wisconsin’s largest city. In the end, though people stood in line for hours with masks and practicing social distancing, only a few COVID-19 cases were registered among poll workers. No major outbreaks were recorded that Wisconsin officials were able to tie to voting on Election Day.

New York itself has in-person early and election day voting in June for our primary. Many who requested absentee ballots and didn’t get them on time were forced to go vote in person. Tens of thousands, perhaps more, voters voted in person in June. No outbreaks were recorded, nor any cases that could be tied to voting.

In person elections were held in other countries as well this year, including South Korea and Serbia, with little effect on transmission.

If I contract COVID-19 and die from voting to replace Donald Trump with Joe Biden, it will be the greatest sacrifice I could ever make for my country.

It’s not ideal, it’s not 100 percent without risk, and in a perfect world, we’d be able to vote from the safety of our homes and trust that the United States Post Office will deliver our mail safely and promptly without the president playing games to keep his job and keep his ass out of prison. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world right now. If we want to get rid of Donald Trump, we’re going to have to show up, COVID-19 risk and all.

By voting in person, early if need be, you guarantee your vote will be counted the night of Nov. 3. The more who do it, the quicker the election can end and the fewer shenanigans Trump can play in the days after if the race isn’t called. I plan on voting in person on the first day of early voting here in New York. If I contract COVID-19 and die from voting to replace Donald Trump with Joe Biden, it will be the greatest sacrifice I could ever make for my country.

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