Thoughts a Week From Election Day

They are, in no particular order:

1. Vote. I mean, presuming you are an American citizen, etc. But vote. It’s actually important. And remind everyone you know to vote as well. This election matters. A lot. Vote early if you can, you’ll feel better having it done with.

2. Don’t panic. One, at this point, at the presidential level, this cake is already baked. Clinton voters don’t give a shit about the most recent email nonsense. Trump voters don’t give a shit about any of the various horrible things he’s done. Everyone’s going to vote the way they were always going to vote. It’s all over except for the waiting.

3. Take a day off from the world. But! But! But! I hear you say! Polls! Controversies! Dogs and cats living together! If you still can’t stop freaking out, disengage. I did this yesterday: I stepped away from the Internet and read books and played video games instead. It helped to take a breather. I recommend you do so, too, if the stress is getting to you.

4. Clinton’s almost certainly gonna be president. Because, per point two, all the noise at this point is just noise. Polls will tighten, the press will jump on things — Clinton’s email on Friday, Trump’s server talking to Russia today — and you and everyone you know will pray for the sweet, sweet release of death between now and next Tuesday. But at the end of the day, Clinton’s in the lead in terms of projected electoral vote count and has been for nearly the entire run of the campaign. There would have to be a collapse of historic proportions to change that. Could that happen? It’s a quantum physics universe and anything can happen. But it almost certainly won’t. As Sam Wang of the Princeton Election Consortium has noted, despite all the noise, this election has actually been incredibly stable, and stable in Clinton’s favor.

5. Clinton voters: Don’t get cocky. Clinton’s almost certainly going to win, but one way that she won’t is if everyone who was going to vote for her gets complacent. Remember that Trump is out there telling everyone the vote will be rigged and telling his voters to go be “poll watchers” (i.e., intimidate the hell out of Clinton voters), which as it happens is causing potential problems for the RNC, as it should. A number of states, including my own, have gone out of their way to make it harder for people to vote — and let’s be honest, by saying “people” here, I mean “minorities, who are overwhelmingly more likely to vote Democratic.” Also remember that Trump’s people are all in on trying to discourage Clinton voters from going to the polls, because that’s really the only way for him to win at this point. Basically lots of people would love it if you didn’t vote. Disappoint them.

6. Trump voters: It ain’t rigged. When your dude almost certainly loses next Tuesday, it won’t be because the election was rigged. It’s not. It’s literally almost impossible to rig the presidential election. The only reason for Trump to be bellowing that the election is rigged is because he can’t fathom losing fair and square, and because the GOP wants an excuse, any excuse, not to give a Clinton presidency any legitimacy. Now, you may be voting for a horrible, racist, sexist, ignorant braggart and loudmouth, but you don’t have to believe every piece of stupidity that comes out his mouth. The “election is rigged” piece is one of the stupidest. It’s not rigged. Your fellow will lose because he didn’t get the votes. Simple as that.

7. Hang in there, it’s almost over. One week, that’s all. Then afterward there is a whole other set of issues to deal with. But this friggin’ nightmare, at least, will be done. Keep it together until then, okay?

111 Comments on “Thoughts a Week From Election Day”

  1. I would add, there are down ballot elections that matter too. Even if you think Clinton will win, Republicans could still hold the Senate. A Democratic majority in the Senate would certainly help Clinton, if she wins.

  2. The nightmare will be over unless the results are close enough that (a) neither candidate will get to 270 electoral votes, based on conventional counting of same, or (b) one or more electors can tip the election into the House by being “faithless” and voting for someone other than the candidate they’re supposed to. If the apparent winner has, say, 274 votes or fewer on the morning of November 9th, it’s not necessarily over. . . .

  3. You can get through the next week by reminding yourself that next Wednesday will be National Schadenfreude Day, and you can call in sick from work and relax by laughing at the Breitbart meltdown.

  4. I do hope your point 4 is correct, but fear that that kind of thinking prevailed before 52% of my fellow UK voters decided that leaving the EU was a good idea (for the record, I voted remain).

    I’m pleased you followed point 4 with point 5, not just from a conventional mathematics perspective, but also to point out that complacency regarding victory is what can lead to losses.

    I dread to think what a Trump presidency would look like, and what it would do for the world. We’ve got enough collective problems without adding more to the pile.

  5. This is reassuring.

    I do think we’re seeing a trend in this country, though. It seems the better things tend to get overall, the more bitching people do. It looks like the worst thing that can happen is a period of rising expectations, primarily because they don’t rise equally.

  6. Though I still need to fill out my ballot, I unplugged a couple of weeks ago. I stopped scanning my Twitter feed, drastically reduced my already low FB time and popped “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy on CD into my car’s CD player (that last one ensures I won’t get blindsided by a “neutral NPR” story). I do continue to read my Feedly RSS’s (thus seeing this entry) and I cruise Instagram frequently. But my IG is carefully curated for weightlifting content. Very little politics come through.

    It’s almost over.

  7. Even if you think your vote for President doesn’t matter because you aren’t in a swing states, it DOES. For example, if Republicans retain the Senate but Clinton wins with a large popular vote majority, Republicans will not be able to jam up the works with the excuse that Clinton doesn’t have a mandate.

  8. FWIW, most of the race tightening at this point looks like conservative third-party voters defecting to Trump. This follows the left-leaning ones who defected to Hillary a week or two ago; Stein’s support is basically non-existent at this point.

    There is still a fair amount of uncertainty, however, because of the high number of undecideds. It’s unlikely all of that 5% will go for Trump, but if they do, added to the Johnson defectors, that’s enough to tip some of the narrow-margin states. If Hillary pulls off North Carolina, that’s not a problem (PA, VA and NH are solid at this point), but it’s likely she’ll lose OH and FL, and if that happens and she also misses NV and CO, she’s toast without NC.

    That said, early ballot tallies from both NV and NC are looking good, so there’s hope.

    Even if she wins, though, we still have to contend with the fact that Trump has lit a fire under some of the worst people in the country. Having a Black president made them angry enough. Following Obama with a woman is going to push a lot of them over the edge. :(

  9. Also, please, dear god, let dems take the senate.

    A republican senator was bragging recently that if Hillary is elected that he hopes there will still be only 8 justices on the supreme court. The GOP is entirely bankrupt of any policy now, and have morphed into the anti-establishment party.

    Hilary needs to win by a landslide so it doesnt come down to one state, and keep Trump from dragging it out in court. So vote like your future depends on it, because it does.

  10. I think the e-mail thing has destroyed the chance for Clinton to achieve anything/appoint SCOTUS judges, as she’ll squeak to a win and it’ll be all obstruction, all the time until the midterms, then she will spend the last two years of her presidency veto’ing everything. Then Kamala Harris will beat her in the primaries and lose the general.

  11. ETA – I don’t think the Dems can get to 50 in the senate, for clarity. So nothing will be passed.

  12. Re point 4: I would say, Clinton is going to be President absent a large and consistent polling error throughout the election so far. (Or, as you said, “a collapse of historic proportions”.) From listening to the 538 podcast, most of the 25%-ish chance they assign to Trump’s win is the probability of a correlated, multi-point error in the public polls, so that the actual voting behavior is different from what’s being polled.

    I think they’re being a bit over-cautious in their projections… but that’s also why I like them a bit better than other polling trackers. (I like statistics!) And apparently this kind of polling error has happened in the past, so it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility.

    (I also think Clinton will win, but I’m not sure I’d say “almost certainly”.)

  13. Your advice about taking a day off…golden. I put on music a day last week and dug into a book. It’s kind of amazing how relaxing that kind of solitude is.

  14. It IS rigged, in the simple sense that every modern Presidential election has been rigged: it’s much, much harder for some people to vote than others. But typically this form of rigging gives an advantage to Republicans, because the people who have it the hardest are Democratic constituencies: usually urban, usually poor, usually minorities. They’re the ones standing in line for hours while I zip in and out and my daughter says hi to the poll worker ladies.

  15. And if you find yourself thinking that it’s ok not to vote, because all those earlier voters definitely voted for Clinton, try looking across the pond as an example of what can happen when people become complacent.

    Brexit Britain really isn’t a fun place to be in, as the BRexiteers march in close formation over the cliff, berating the rest of us for our unpatriotic assumption that gravity applies whether we believe in it or not…

  16. For clarification, would you be willing to give some examples of how certain states, including your own, are making it harder for certain groups of people to register and vote? I have lived in many states, mostly across the Western US, and I have seen all people, of all ethnic backgrounds, registering and voting everywhere I have lived. I have been through the process of changing my address because of moving, and it is almost automatic when I do so for the clerk to ask “Would you like to register to vote?”, leading me to say “Yes, please” and receiving a simple card: Check here for Republican, here for Democrat, here for Independent. Check the box, return it to the clerk, and be on my way. A few weeks later and I get my permanent registration card.
    Personally I have not seen, heard, or read of any serious impediments to voter registration that involves somehow keeping those wanting to register from going to their local DMV or voter registration office and filling out the forms themselves. If you are waiting for someone to come to your door and do it for you….why? Is it lack of transportation? Lack of access? Is the office only open when you are busy or working (most offices are open at least one weekend day a month for those that work 9-5, M-F)? What is it that is keeping supposedly millions of systematically oppressed people from registering and voting? And why is this not being addressed with local, county, or state authorities? If there is a known problem, and it is documented that there is an issue, why not alert someone in power to bring justice to these atrocities?
    I realize that many of my questions and statements may seem argumentative. I understand that most people who visit this site and read your articles will not agree with me or my line of thinking. I also understand, fully, that nearly everyone who reads this comment (if it is posted) will come at me with no holds barred, attempting to tear down any rebuttal I may or may not have before I can even voice it. I understand all of these things, and yet I am still asking these questions. Because sometimes we have to ask questions that are uncomfortable to get some real answers. Answers that make us think about who we are and where we are as a people, instead of answers that make us feel all warm and cozy inside.
    So, if you wish to “flame” me, or ridicule me, or attack me, or whatever you wish…I cannot stop you. I will not respond to vulgarities, obscenities, or personal attacks. Other than that, I’m game.

  17. Besides, Congress is crucially important. The Senate is balanced on a knife edge, so if there is a contested Senate race in your district, you absolutely have to go vote.

    Even if there is not, there is the House of Representatives. At this point, the Republicans are likely to retain a narrow House majority, despite a majority of Americans not desiring this, through the magic of creative districting (a thing that Both Sides truly do, but the Republicans after 2010 got much much better at it through superior technology). However, the slimmer that margin is, the more likely it is that a President Clinton might actually be able to pass something once in a while. Pare it down.

  18. @Kevin Sibona: The answer is mostly very simple: Not enough polling places open in poor urban districts.

    I think that’s actually a bigger deal than voter registration obstacles, voter ID laws, etc., though these things all play a role and can be argued about elsewhere. Fixing it takes money, of course, which governments that aren’t favored by these voters anyway are often unwilling to spend.

    Early voting makes it much easier, where available–and Republican state governments have tried hard to pare that down.

  19. I filled out my mail-in ballot during the final debate and mailed it in as I went out to dinner. I’ve turned off the news since. Two days ago, checking my ballot’s status, it had been received and counted. I feel a sense of peace and calm: I’ve done everything I can do as an individual participant in the American election process, other than continually urging all my friends and family to cast their ballots, which I do every day.

    soapbox on ::
    Ignoring the news is an important part of peace and sanity in today’s world. It’s good to be informed—It’s not good to be whipped up by the media into a frenzy of panic and insecurity over everything bad that happens in the world. The news broadcasts today are often so much more “infotainment” than “information”. It really really annoys me to hear the same couple of sound bytes (often pulled completely out of any context) repeated over and over and over and over again, ad nauseam, because it incites high viewer counts and thus more advertising revenue for the networks.

    And then there’s the truly stupid stuff, even in something innocuous like the daily commute traffic report. The other day we had a decent amount of rain. “…There’s a lot of rain on the road, be careful because it’s DANGEROUS out there! …” instead of “… There a lot of rain on the road, be careful because it’s SLIPPERY out there! …” The first carries the message of a threat with no implication of the cause or a possible solution. The second articulates the threat as the result of a situation, for which there is a known solution: “slow down, be alert so your car doesn’t slide out of control”, etc.

    The power of words…
    :: soapbox off

  20. Note also, the African-American voters who feel the worst of this actually are voting: in spite of everything, in modern elections they turn out as consistently as white voters or more so. They’re doing it in spite of all the difficulties. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem. They shouldn’t have to.

  21. @Shawna: clearly what the US will need in 2024 is a credible black (or other minority) female candidate. Ideally she would be a non-extreme and rational republican (if such a beast can be conceived of)….

  22. I think I might take the week off… Too stressful (add in the Cubs in the World Series and I’m a nervous wreck).
    And then there’s my local vote – I am really hoping two initiatives pass (public transport and carbon tax) – the opposition to these is basically Trumpian level of lies (in the carbon tax case from the left as well as the polluters).
    And of course, not being a citizen I can’t even vote. At least a vote would give me an illusion of control…

  23. All the rational Republicans are jumping ship at this point because it’s impossible to win a primary without appealing to trigger-happy bigots.

    It’s kind of all happening the way I predicted years ago: The GOP is being abandoned to the far right, and the moderates are fleeing to either the Libertarians or the Blue Dogs. We may see a Blue Dog/progressive split in the future, but I don’t think that will break the party. Dem philosophy is much more cooperative to begin with, so building coalitions is easier.

  24. @Nebilon: Condi Rice would be the closest thing we’ve got. But even if she didn’t have big problems from being associated with Bush’s war machinations, I have a feeling she might have some personal trouble continuing her association with the current manifestation of the Republican Party.

  25. @Kevin above: I’d recommend checking out Texas, which has one of the lowest registration and turnout rates in the country, in part because it’s so hard to get registered. Demographically, it should be at least pink, what with the relatively high % of both PoC and college-educated residents, and a not-especially-high percentage of white evangelicals. But turnout breakdowns don’t match the Census at all.

    States that have easier registration and voting methods have much higher turnout rates, which is important for the democratic process to be truly representative. People who have disabilities, language barriers, transportation limitations, long work hours (with no paid time off to vote), or who are the primary caregivers for small children simply can’t afford to do something that requires going to a remote location during work hours and standing in long lines. Both registering and voting can easily eat up a whole day if you don’t have a car and if you can’t risk losing a day’s pay, being legally allowed to take that time off is meaningless. And forget about trying to stand in lines if you have children under five to manage. Your average two year old would be done within 30 minutes.

    Voting shouldn’t be hard to do. It’s every citizen’s right, and regulations that make it hard for certain populations to do are inherently undemocratic.

  26. And if you live in Utah, check the McMullin guy who’s got a real shot at the first third party electoral votes in this century
    I’m from Europe and I find people who claim a duopol to be a democracy ridiculous, so got fix it ‘muricans

  27. Kevin Sibona: “For clarification, would you be willing to give some examples of how certain states, including your own, are making it harder for certain groups of people to register and vote?”

    You can easily google examples, Kevin, as there are many. For example: this year the Republican-controlled legislature of Arizona passed a restriction on mail-in ballots, including making it a felony for someone else to mail that ballot with your permission. Many states have added many new additional restrictions to voting, ranging from moves like Ohio*, Wisconsin and West Virginia’s reducing early-voting opportunities (including entirely removing weekends and shortening weekday hours) or added new additional restrictions such as having specific forms of photo-identification or proof-of-citizenship which can be time consuming to get and can cost additional money. This is especially true if those measures are not particularly publicized, making it difficult for last-minute corrections. Want a passport? It’s a 6-week wait, normally…but if you have money, you can get it expedited in 2…for additional fees. Kansas attempted to block people who had registered at the DMV under the ‘motor voter’ law; that’s still being argued in court. Iowa passed an executive order from the governor to make it more difficult for anyone with a felony conviction to get their voting rights restored…which when you consider the racial statistics of the inmate population, suggests a particular targeted group.

    People ARE doing something about it. There are literally dozens of lawsuits, counter-referendums and constitutional challenges in process right now. Some haven’t stood, some have and many more have been suspended until AFTER the election as many courts see them as the attempts to influence the electorate that they are, just like the various gerrymandering of districts that both parties have engaged in. It’s also noteworthy that most of the states passing these laws are ones that disproportionately impact people who are poor or lower on the higher educational strata. Since many of those groups include minorities and large Democrat voting blocks, it’s not hard to see what the intent here is on a larger scale.

    * – John would know better than I would, but the elimination of Ohio’s ‘Golden Week’ was deemed unconstitutional and has been restored, but not for lack of trying on the part of the Republican establishment there.

  28. I have tried and failed to disengage several times. The trendline on 538 looks catastrophic right now. As Clinton has tapered off, Trump has smashed through his 41% ceiling and is continuing to gain. It feels like wishful thinking to assume this is just noise. If this trend keeps up, it’ll be a coin toss next Tuesday.

  29. 3. Take a day off from the world.

    I did that two days after the latest email scare. I’d read everything about it I could – till my brain started to hurt – and then decided I needed a break. So I re-listened* to the last chapter of Connie Willis’s latest novel. Which was a very soothing/healing activity.

    *Or whatever the equivalent to rereading a book is when it comes to audio books

    PS: Whenever your brain or soul hurts, Connie Willis will be there for you. When I was younger I reread Wodehouse when I was down. Now it’s Willis. Reading (and especially rereading) ‘To say nothing of the dog’ will do more for you than a mega tub of ice-cream and/or a bottle of the finest malt. It’s the ultimate comfort food for the spirit

  30. On the subject of difficulty voting, it’s also important to note that photo IDs are commonly required (at least in the Southeast). The easiest photo ID to acquire in most states is a driver’s license, but that requires going to the DMV, which is a huge time sink; the reason behind the time investment is that in many states, there aren’t enough DMV locations, and their hours aren’t convenient to most working people (I hear that in Alabama they’ve actually been shutting DMVs down in certain parts of the state with majority Black populations). It’s possible to get a non-driver’s license photo ID, but the method of acquisition is usually similar, with the same obstacles built into the process; beyond that, certain states disallow certain forms of identification as invalid even though they’re still perfectly legitimate modes of identification at the federal level.

    The point is that registering to vote isn’t the major barrier towards voting; there are often other requirements on top of registration that prevent people with an inordinate number of socioeconomic burdens from enjoying their franchise as citizens.

  31. Also, there have been cases of authorities in red states taking aim at voter registration organizations, pouncing on minor irregularities and charging the heads of the organization of voter fraud.

  32. Regarding point 3: you’re joking, but I just read a piece earlier today exactly about cats and dogs living together, on the blog of an author I follow. Can you imagine that? The world is indeed in peril…

  33. Mail-in voting here in WA state. Mailed in my ballot last week and immediately hit the off button on the radio when an NPR story starts anything with the election. The peace of mind after sending in my vote = Priceless. I did check and the vote has arrived and went through the signature check and is now slotted to be counted Nov 8th. I am so done with this election. It has been the worst election in modern American history. I don’t watch American sound-byte news. Because I speak Swedish, I watch the Swedish news. Rational people, no screaming, no ranting. And more international news than we get. So I still get news, without the unrelenting barrage of non-news on American TV. All good here. Mental health in excellent shape. Go Cubbies.

  34. Hmm. The one thing that I’m not sure that I totally agree with is that I don’t think that Trump’s server and Russia are going to get any traction, whereas the latest FBI/email thing is all over the place. (On the other hand, former Rep. Joe Walsh, a very vocal Trump supporter, came out saying that Comey screwed this one up big-time)

  35. Every two years around this time, I re-read “An Election” by OGH. It’s just enough time for me to forget all the details of the funny. And it’s always good.

  36. Convince a friend to vote! I just pulled a sample ballot for a friend and found her polling place for her. She wasn’t going to vote, because there’s no way Hillary will carry South Dakota. I convinced her it did matter! You need to vote for Hillary but even more important vote on the down ballot races and the initiated measures. We’ve got some really important local issues that we can make a difference on. And while your there, you might as well vote for Hillary because, why not? I dropped Mom’s absentee ballot off yesterday, so with my vote, that’s 3. If everyone could get two people to the polls…

  37. You may think people will long for the sweet release of death, but it’s not universally true. A 90-year-old man who lives at my mother’s senior residence said he hopes he makes it to Election Day, as otherwise his curiosity would go unrequited.

  38. I wish I could disengage, but I’m just too damn nervous. We’ve never had a demagogue like Trump get this close to the White House, and the race is way too close for comfort. I know I won’t be able to relax until Hillary declares victory next week.

    And hell, there’s a big part of me that just wants to go on /b/ and troll the Trump fans about their hero getting stomped by a woman. Yes, I realize this is not good for me.

  39. I just realized that I haven’t watched any TV news in at least a year. Between not really watching any in the first place (The Daily Show and Rachel Maddow), grad school and this election, yeah, haven’t even considered turning it on.

    I know a person can get hung over from too much alcohol, and from too much cheese; can an entire country get hung over form too much election?

  40. I’m getting an absentee ballot next time (that’s how we do early voting in NJ), and getting my vote in asap; we’ve done that before for vacations, but it would provide peace of mind.

    Voten todos – no queremos demasiados republicanos en el senado o la camara de diputados.

  41. My brain tells me Clinton should win, given certain objective indicators, but my intuition tells me not to trust my brain. Hate it when that happens.

  42. Whatever happens FBI Director Comey should probably resign; I can’t see how he can work for Clinton after this.

  43. I’m still terrified, and will continue to be, because what you’re seeing in the polls is all the Johnson voters going home to the GOP – most of the remaining Johnson voters probably will do that – and the GOP rank-and-file getting used to the idea that sure, they can in fact vote for a white supremacist and misogynist who likes to talk about throwing tactical nuclear weapons around and has pledged – pledged! – to restore torture, order the army to commit war crimes, and jail his political opponents.

    Not to mention what his party wants to do to queer people like me. (He’s pledged to appoint only judges approved by the Heritage Society, which, in turn, thinks it should be legal for states to make LGBT people illegal by fiat, like before 2003. Ending marriage equality is only the start of their agenda.)

    So even if we squeak out of this one, we’ve got an electorate loaded with a near-majority of people perfectly willing to vote authoritarian, with all that implies.

    This election, I’m afraid, isn’t going to end much. If it had been a runaway, then it might’ve ended some things. But it’s looking like we’re not going to get that.

  44. @jkjones2185 Alabama moved 31 out of 75 DMV offices in the state to just one day a month service alleging budget concerns (they were going to close all 31 of them completely, but there was a huge outcry). And yes, those offices were overwhelmingly in rural counties or in counties with an African-American majority. They decided to close them just a year after a voter ID law requiring a driver’s license went into effect; there is a lawsuit over it, but it isn’t set to go to trial until next year. But similar laws in Texas, North Carolina and Wisconsin were all struck down.

  45. Oh, right, I almost forgot there’s a big political event in November. Of course, Guy Fawkes Day!


    Further to point #5: It would be so very lovely and pragmatically useful if the short-fingered vulgarian (trademark of, & eternal fame to, the late Spy magazine) were to suffer not just a loss but one of historic, humiliating proportions. Let’s please all get all possible turnout, in hopes of making that possible and also ensuring flipping the Senate. A historic mandate by objective measures would make the next President’s job, whoever she may be, just that little bit easier.

    As to down-ballot, for the benefit of my fellow Californians, I have built what I believe is a pretty good Nov. 8th ballot guide in my usual place. With 17 statewide propositions on the ballot, I’d suggest a little extra time studying, and I’ve linked to major analyses and endorsements for each votable item.

    On the longer-term matter, probably I’ve been oblivious (because that’s how privilege works), but I’ve been surprised at just how much violent misogyny, racial/ethnic hatred, weird nativism, and conspiracy-mongering had been hidden behind the dog-whistling. The ugly coming out in the open has its advantages, as now we can thrash out our unfinished business, Ghu willing. And let’s help the GOP re-find its better self, as the Republic needs them, too.

  46. I’m just so gorram tired of the election. I want it to be over, and I want the fascist cheeto to disappear forever. Please.

  47. Re: voter suppression–as wizardru points out above, there are tons of examples if you just google it. Here’s one that’s particularly blatant: in North Carolina, Republican activists have gotten thousands of voters–disproportionately minority voters–purged from the voter rolls on the grounds that a mailing sent to their registered addresses was returned as “undeliverable.” There are a lot of reasons why a mailing might be returned as “undeliverable” that should not affect the right to vote–maybe the voter moved, but remains in the same county (several of the people affected had moved to nursing homes), maybe the post office made a mistake, maybe the person gets her mail at a P.O. box but the mailing was sent to her home. Once you’re removed from the voter roll, in some places you might need to attend a hearing to get back on it–another unnecessary obstacle to the vote that disproportionately affects lower income voters. And a lot of these people don’t even know they’ve been removed!
    There’s an emergency hearing scheduled for Wednesday, so with luck this particular grossness will be remedied by Election Day.

  48. @Meg: Ah, the old vote-caging trick. The classics never die. (Pretty sure courts have smacked it down before, though that’s no guarantee.)

  49. Here in Texas, former US Speaker of the House Jim Wright was refused a voter registration card because of a typo on his driver’s license. Many elderly people let their licenses expire once they no longer feel safe driving, and are shocked when poll workers refuse to accept their old licenses as valid IDs. My 96 year old Aunt Lou insisted on renewing her license this year for just this reason – tottered into the DMV on her walker, aced the eye exam, and walked out with a photo ID good for another five years. But not everyone has that ability. She also has her birth certificate, which many elderly southerners, particularly poor elderly southerners, don’t have. The need to suddenly prove their citizenship is a shock and an insult to many of these old folks, particularly when they didn’t need to before.

  50. “3. Take a day off from the world.”

    I now bring audiobooks on my hour-long commute. Gives me something other than news to listen to. Bill Bryson’s “One Summer” was particularly entertaining.

  51. If you don’t vote you are not guarding the right to vote. Doesn’t matter who you vote for, just vote for the candidate you like best – and it doesn’t have to be a leading candidate. A vote is never wasted, it’s a popular opinion fed by the leading parties that an independent vote is wasted. Enough voters going to independent or third party can cause a “safe” state to become a swing state – and the leading parties hates that. It may not impact the final outcome, but it would stir things up if the votes are spreading all over the place. An election is one of the few opportunities that the ordinary citizen can stir things up legally.

  52. Has everyone here (who hasn’t already said so) voted? I have. I’m from a pretty red state, but my vote can still be useful on the state and local level.

    @ Kevin Sibona
    Most of the states (all with state governments controlled by Republicans) that have adopted voter suppression methods such as increased difficulty in registration used the non-existent problem of “voter fraud” as their excuse. A recent multi-year study showed about 30 fraudulent votes out of over 1 billion votes cast. Their excuse for reducing early voting hours and the number of polling places is financial problems. They never seem to offer any excuse for having smaller numbers of voting machines if poorer/minority areas. The real reason is that they’re trying to reduce turnout by groups likely to vote Democrat: poor people, people of color, students and in some cases elderly people.
    The recent court judgement throwing out the NC voting restrictions noted that the NC legislature specifically designed it to reduce voting by African Americans. Right after the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, the NC legislature requested statistics on voting behavior of NCians, broken down by race, and then passed a law specifically targeting African Americans.
    I’m delighted that you found it easy to register and I hope you find it easy to vote. Every American should have the same. And they don’t.

  53. @NH
    “Doesn’t matter who you vote for …” I get what you’re saying, but in fact it does matter who you vote for. That’s the whole point of voting, and that’s why the votes are counted.

  54. @Kevin Sibona: In addition to the specifics referenced above, your comment that “…I have seen all people, of all ethnic backgrounds, registering and voting everywhere I have lived…” attacks a straw man. Of course minorities are allowed to vote. The restrictions just make it more difficult for them to do so. So perhaps Demo turnout is reduced by 5%.

    When that happens, you’ll still have anecdotal information about some minority voters. But restrictions in place will (for instance) “target African Americans with almost surgical precision” (see the page 11 of the decision).

  55. VOTE VOTE VOTE. Yes.

    Also: the down ticket races are as important as the Big Cheese; what does it profit the world that you elect your candidate and she can’t do anything for four years because Congress is sitting and counting its collective toes?

  56. First, thank you to everyone who commented to my questions. I appreciate the civility. Unfortunately, it is a rare thing these days and in this political climate to find those that disagree with you but remain decent.
    These were the answers, for the most part, that I was looking for. They might not have been the ones that I wanted, but they are definitely the ones I got. The purpose of asking these questions was because I constantly hear about “voter suppression” but rarely ever hear about how it is happening. In my personal experiences, I have never been to a polling place where I had to wait longer than 10-15 minutes to vote, I have never had an issue registering to vote, and I have never seen any instances of suppression or intimidation first-hand.
    Does this mean that it does not happen? Doubtful. Not just doubtful, but anyone who has spent time in the world knows that things happen even if you don’t see or experience them yourself. However, what I have seen is such a variety of people registering and voting without incident wherever I go. I lived in TX for several years, in San Antonio. It is impossible to go anywhere in SA and not be surrounded by all people of color and ethnic groups. In a single trip to change my address at the local DMV, not only did I register to vote but several other “non-white, non-Republican” people did the same. We all went through the same process. I was not handed a different card than my neighbor, nor was he sent to a different area to process his registration. We visited the same clerk, received the same forms, and had the same experience.
    This is not some straw man attack. These are the actual experiences that I have had. I registered at the DMV in KS when I moved there from TX. The biggest issue I had was that KS required a certified copy of my birth certificate in order to get my license. It took about $20 and 3 weeks to get it from CA. Voting in CA, NV, AZ, TX, KS, and MO have all been the same: I register at the DMV when I change my address, I go to the local polling place (which currently is about 2 miles from my home), walk in, maybe wait 5-10 minutes, vote, leave. Everyone in my area does the same thing.
    I get that densely populated urban areas might experience longer wait times, and it may seem that there are fewer polling places, but when the difference is 3 polling places for about 20,000 people (my current residence) versus 20-25 polling places for 1.5M (estimated for San Antonio), sometimes you will have longer wait times because of the sheer amount of voters.
    At any rate, again I thank you all for being much more civil than any other experience I have had with other groups. Have a great day, and may we all survive the next 4 years, whomever becomes president. ;)

  57. KEVIN

    If you are seriously curious about this issue, then I suggest you Google it. There are loads of examples. Here is a current one, just for example:

    The requirement that people have up-to-date addresses on their IDs is a huge barrier for many poor people and elderly people who tend to move around. The idea that you are going to go to the DMV and update your address every time you move is just ludicrous- especially considering the huge hassle and time waste of the DMV. And black people are more likely to be poor. Also, I don’t see why it should matter. Last I checked, the right to vote has nothing to do with the ability to maintain a stable residence. Moreover, even if some people are voting in counties where they no longer live, what difference does that make? So long as they are only registered and voting in one place, who cares if they drove from a neighboring city on election day? I did this for years as a young person. I moved around a lot as a student, so my address on my ID was my parents’ address, and I drove there to vote every election even though I didn’t even live in that town any more. If you dig into this situation in N Carolina, you will see that more recently, GOP-affiliated groups sent letters to the residents that they suspected did not still live at the address where they were registered, and if the resident did not respond to the letter correctly, their registration was purged- which they don’t know until they try to vote. These are registered voters, whose right to vote is challenged by citizens who are then purged from rosters because their paperwork is not in order. It’s an injustice, and it is targeted.

    There are cases like this all over the country. Usually they are challenged (the NAACP is currently challenging the NC issue) but the regulations are not overturned in time for elections. The idea is to keep challenges going, keep them in the court, keep the disruption happening- so the advocates are constantly fighting for people’s right to vote. Meanwhile, actual real voters are caught up in the mess. It happens every year.

    To be fair, I don’t think the Democrats are above crap like this. It just so happens that is easier to target specific groups that vote Dem than it is to target groups that vote Rep, so the Republicans do it more.

  58. I voted last Friday, before Comey went off the reservation, and I would do it the same way now. The biggest worry I have now is how many seats the GOP will lose in the House and Senate. However many it is I will always wish it was more.

    They are the cause of way too many things aimed to regression of the rights we have as American citizens. Gerrymandering and voter suppression are a part of it. So is screwing up the impact the Affordable Care Act could have.

    I think the best thing that might come out of it all is the FBI getting their budget slashed. They have long deserved that. They spent so much time setting up and entrapping people with limited mental facilities as terrorists that they have totally missed the boat on being capable of helping in the terrorist fight.

    If you haven’t voted do so as soon as possible and suck in as much relief from it as you can. That works better if you can vote your conscience but that is a tough one again this time.

  59. Kevin,
    glad you came back to comment. Our host has fostered a place where folks who ask reasonable questions can and should expect similar responses. You will find that the folks here can disagree in a civil fashion, even if they don’t agree (and may never see eye to eye on certain issues). It leads to great conversations.

    The thing that is troubling about the ‘voter fraud protections’ that have been put into place is that, on the surface, many seem reasonable. It’s when you start looking more closely and doing the math that you notice the problems. If you have a stable job, house life and/or the money to not be concerned otherwise than a requirement to not have your voter registration revoked because you moved from one low-rent apartment to another will never register as an issue to you (or me). Many of the recent legislation on this part is in this vein. What’s more troubling is how it became a movement across the country in many locations and how it really only started when Obama was successfully elected. When a lot of people who traditionally were not motivated to vote suddenly DO, it gets people who don’t normally get those votes worried.

    These don’t have to necessarily be racist in nature or motivation, even if they happen to target minorities unequally. They generally constitute a political tactic designed to make some people fight harder for the constitutional right to vote, which is troubling. Thankfully, virtually all of them get challenged and some overturned. And just to be clear, this is hardly a GOP-only issue, but this particular recent strategy has been heavily in their camp (though again, not exclusively). Regardless of who does it, it should be challenged. Democracy is a choice and a right: if someone chooses not to vote, that is very different from finding that they can’t, especially when they thought they could.

    Regardless, cheers! One way or the other, we should be done with this nonsense in a week’s time and on to a whole new kind of nonsense. :)

  60. The MSM is definitely and unapologetically (that a word?) biased in favor in Clinton and trashes Trump (some deserved, but not to the extent delivered by the MSM). To my thinking, that is a strong form of ‘rigged”. The MSM is failing miserably in their privilege of providing unbiased, well researched news .. political or otherwise. I think this is reflected as many of the MSM fades into the sunset as their business models fail. People see this bias and are voting with the eyes (getting news elsewhere) and their pocket books (not buys these rags).

  61. Though it’s increasingly clear that somebody in the FBI is in the tank for Trump and proudly unconcerned about the Hatch Act, I don’t think that stuff is really having much effect. Hillary’s numbers were starting to decline before the Comey letter popped; it’s just that the debates were scheduled unusually long before the election, and there’s been enough time since Trump did something stupid in front of a live audience of millions that conservatives are thinking of him as acceptable again.

    At this point in 2012, Obama was running behind where Hillary Clinton is now, and a bunch of national tracking polls had him trailing Romney, but state poll aggregates gave Obama the lead. The situation was kind of like now, with the zeitgeist saying he was going to lose while people like Wang and Silver and Drew Linzer said he would probably win. One difference was that his numbers were rising instead of falling–but most national news outlets didn’t notice it, and talked a good line about Romney having the momentum. In the end they pinned Obama’s win on Hurricane Sandy, which I don’t think is correct; it’s kind of like the way they attribute Trump’s gains to the Comey letter.

    I don’t think there’s enough time left for Hillary to lose, as long as people convert those polls into votes.

  62. @ Kevin Sibona
    In your post, you’ve identified several things that are potential targets for vote suppression.

    * You mention in San Antonio you went to the DMV to register to vote – by closing DMV offices in certain areas, or shifting their hours of operation, states can reduce the ability of people to use their DMV as a registration location. This can have a powerful effect on people who (1) don’t have a car, or (2) don’t have the ability to take time off to get to the DMV during business hours, or (3) don’t have good public transit in their neighborhood that leads to the DMV office. Documents filed in court cases on the issue have indicated that 300,000 registered voters in Wisconsin don’t have the ID required to vote and 900,000 in Texas.

    * You mention the $20 and 3 weeks it took to get a copy of your birth certificate. For you, $20 may be a minimal amount, but for someone who’s poorer than you, $20 might be a much more significant amount. While many states will waive fees associated with voting ID, they require proof of indigence, which can itself be an additional barrier of paperwork.

    * You mention the polling place as 2 miles from your home and has a wait time of 5-10 minutes. Great! But what if the state or county decided to reduce the number of polling places even as the number of voters grew? Even if only 3% of voters wait for 60+ minutes to vote, that’s tens of millions of people. State and local governments can make polling place decisions to determine which neighborhoods that happens in, such that in 2012, African-Americans on average waited twice as long as Caucasians on average in voting lines across the country. The longer the wait times, the more likely it is that someone will be unwilling to wait to cast a vote.

    From the comment about different cards for different races, it sounds like you expect voter suppression from the 1950s/1960s Jim Crow era. But the civil rights legislation that came out of that era 50 years ago outlawed that type of blatant discrimination. People can be far more subtle than you expect, and the whole idea behind many voter suppression techniques is that it is only a hurdle to the targeted neighborhoods/socioeconomic/racial groups, because the people creating such suppression want those who will not notice/care about the barrier to vote for them.

  63. 6. ” Trump voters: It ain’t rigged.”
    5. ” A number of states, including my own, have gone out of their way to make it harder for people to vote — and let’s be honest, by saying “people” here, I mean “minorities, who are overwhelmingly more likely to vote Democratic.” ”

    It would appear you contradict yourself — describe how the election is being rigged (mostly in favor of the Republicans), then claim it isn’t rigged.

    And, ignoring at the congressional level, gerrymandering has made it such that the clear majority of the results are, actually, rigged.

  64. Voting is a right for US citizens. Washington state doesn’t require proof of residency, much less citizenship when getting a drivers license, but will offer voter registration while applying. All you need is an electric bill. Toss in vote by mail, with minimum safeguards to secure your vote, and you have a perfect environment for fixing an election, especially in King County.,_2004
    Sour grapes about a decades old election? Couldn’t happen again?

    My ballot is almost complete, but I haven’t picked a. Presidental choice. I’m torn between Gary and Donald, but iI might just leave it blank. It probably won’t matter anyway.

    If HRC wins, I fully expect to see a new Jeopardy question. “Who are the only husband and wife to be impeached?” The Republicans are searching for a qualified special prosecutor as we speak.

    I’m praying that Gary wins NM or Utah, and the election gets tossed to the house because neither Donald nor Hill gets the 280 required electoral votes.

    Dumb question. If it does get tossed to the house, do the lame ducks do the picking?

  65. When I moved, I wanted the correct address on my driver’s license (Washington state doesn’t send out stickers with the correction), so had to take time off work and drive 15 miles to the nearest DMV, public transit in my rural county not being great — and at that I was lucky: if I’d wanted to upgrade to an “enhanced” DL, that trip would have been an hour one-way, as the closer place doesn’t offer that service. While updating the address, we found that my first name was spelled incorrectly; happily I had my passport with me, as I was planning to visit friends near the border and we’d been thinking of going to Vancouver for the day, and we were able to correct it on the spot rather than having to drive 15 miles back home, pull my birth certificate out of the Red File, and drive back.

    I checked the voter registration website in early October to confirm my personal information had been updated. It hadn’t, and showed that I was registered in another county from two moves before. I was able to correct the address before the deadline, but I was sweating when my ballot didn’t arrive in the mail until the day after the “if it’s not there by x date, call your County Elections Board” deadline.

    Spouse and I sat down with the voter information packet and our ballots, and we still had to go on-line to get sufficient information to make an informed decision on a couple of the ballot initiatives, and to discover that there was in fact a Democratic candidate running for one office as an approved write-in. There was a mobile polling station at our library last Saturday, and we were able to drop our ballots in a secured box rather than mailing them in.

    I am a white, middle-aged, middle-class woman living 10 miles from downtown Seattle (on the other side of Puget Sound, but still), and my ability to make an informed vote could have been derailed at any number of points along the way. For someone who couldn’t take the time off work, or without a car, or a passport . . . yes, it absolutely can be a challenge to vote.

  66. Oh Thank you Scalzi, I came here looking for some election solace and mostly found it.
    (538 has Trump at a 30% chance of winning… trending up… Arghhhh!)
    I need to pull back. If only my job didn’t have me in front of the computer for 50% of my day.

    Kevin, glad you found this place. A very civil group, (and when not there is the hammer.)

  67. As a UK citizen I find the qualifications for getting a vote in the USA interesting. In the UK each Local Authority has an Electoral Registration Officer who has a legal duty to maintain an accurate Register of Electors, generally speaking any adult who has a fixed place of residence and a national insurance number qualifies who is a British, Irish or European citizen, or a Commonwealth citizen with leave to remain in the UK. If you want to register on line you also have to provide a date of birth and will probably need to provide evidence of this, though the requirements are set locally. Registration can happen at any time of the year, though the Register is updated annually with a form being sent to each household and is the responsibility of individual electors. In other words it is pretty easy compared to the USA.

    I am also rather surprised by the idea that your local officials can decide where to have polling stations. Generally in the UK there will be a Polling Station in each ward, unless the area is sufficiently densely populated that adjacent wards are combined, a ward is a local political unit for electing councillors, with a population of about 5,500, I’ve been able to walk to my local Polling Station every where I have lived. They always used to be local primary schools (and the kids got the day off!), but are now any place which has enough space, wheelchair access and appropriate facilities for the staff, always at least three people. Of course we still use paper ballots which are cheaper than voting machines, but the idea that you can reduce the number of polling stations on the grounds of cost seems extraordinary to me, this is part of the cost of democracy which just has to be paid.

    Anyway I hope Hilary Clinton wins as the consequences of Trump winning seem likely to be bad for a lot of Americans and for the rest of the world.

  68. David said: “It would appear you contradict yourself — describe how the election is being rigged (mostly in favor of the Republicans), then claim it isn’t rigged.”

    No, he doesn’t. He points out that the counting of votes and the election process is not rigged. He then points out that a number of states have made it harder to participate in that process, which is not rigged. The rebuke of the first is not the same as the observation of the second.

  69. @Jimbot: I believe it is (since the 20th Amendment) the newly elected House (and Senate, for the VP) that do the picking. The new members of Congress take office on January 3, then on January 6 there is a special session to count the Electoral College votes for President and Vice-President. If there’s no majority, the House and Senate votes to select the President and VP happen “immediately”.

  70. @Jimbot: Any 12th Amendment ‘continent election’ of the President by the House, or the VP by the Senate, commenced in 2017, would be done by the incoming Congress not the lame-duck one. This is, I should stress, merely a consequence of date line-up, as the 12th Amendment doesn’t specify which Congress shall do the contingent election.

    The one and only time contingent election has selected a president was in early 1825 following the multiway-split 1824 election among (in descending order of electoral votes) Andrew Jackson, J.Q. Adams, William H. Crawford, and Henry Clay. On that occasion, because of when Congress’s terms then expired, it was the lame-duck 23rd Congress’s House that held contingent election. With the 24 then-extant states casting votes (each state’s delegation having one vote), the House selected Adams with a 13-vote bare majority on the first ballot. (The Trumpian General Jackson’s cries of ‘corrupt bargain’ immediately followed.)

    You might be curious how a state’s House delegation decides on its single voter per voting round, given many split Democratic/Republican delegations and some festooned with teabaggers. Answer: However the House rules du jour say they should. In 1825, the House argued for days over rules for the contingent election, and decided:

    1. Closed session with only House members, Senators, House officers, and stenographers present.

    2. Adjournment motions would be out of order unless offered and seconded by state delegations, not individual House members.

    3. Each state was permitted to put its vote into its ballot box only if a majority of its state delegation agreed on a candidate. Otherwise, the state’s vote was declared “divided” and was forfeit for that round.

    4. State votes were determined, the results were recorded on two ballots, and deposited in duplicate ballot boxes in the House chamber. The contents were counted by tellers, compared, and reported to the House.

    Source: Hind’s Precedents of the House of Representatives (Washington:
    GPO, 1907), vol. 3, pp. 292-293, as cited on .

    History doesn’t record whether the House sent up white smoke or not. (The incoming 115th Congress in 2017 could re-adopt the 1825 rules if, Ghu forbid, contingent election is needed, or could invent all-new and more-exciting rules.)

    There was one contingent election of a VP in the Senate after 1825 on a different occasion when the Electoral College vote didn’t have a majority, but it was rather less of an affair because, well, VP, and also because Senators get to just vote rather than get one vote by state.

    It should be noted that if contingent elections deadlock, the chamber in question is directed to keep trying as long as it takes. Eventually, the Constitution (as amended) requires that the VP serve as Acting President. Acting President Mike Pence (and reproductive rights, etc. going straight back to the Middle Ages) is thus a significant and depressing if unlikely threat.

  71. Regarding advance polls, I imagine the morality in the U.S. is the same as in Canada. I called elections Canada long distance, said I was able bodied and would be in town on election day, and asked if it was moral to vote at an advance poll. I was told yes.

  72. Proud to day I voted the day after early voting was available in Florida. After that “hanging chad” controversy I don’t take any chances. Remembering what my ancestors went through just to obtain the privilege, it would be an insult if I (and everyone I know of eligible age) did not vote. What I find most interesting now is to read old speeches from the sixties by Malcolm X and James Baldwin talking about exactly what is happening now. We saw it then; now everyone does!

  73. @Sean Crawford: In the US, early-voting rules are different in every state. All of them must allow mail-in absentee ballots for people who request them far enough in advance, with a reasonable excuse for not being around on Election Day. Some of them go no further than that, but both mail-in and in-person early voting that is available to everyone has become increasingly popular. The details vary a lot, though.

  74. I just learned that if you voted early in Massachusetts (whether it was mail-in or in person, though it doesn’t say that), you can track the status of your ballot here. I’m reassured to see that the ballot I cast on the first day of early voting, October 24th, is listed as received and not rejected.

  75. @ Jimbot
    A recent multi-year study showed about 30 cases of voter fraud among over 1 billion votes cast. You have a better chance of being struck by lightning than of committing voter fraud.
    The number of required Electoral College votes is 270, not 280.

  76. In some choir years and years ago, I sang a song by Bach (Komm, süßer Tod) which expresses my feelings toward this election:

    Come soothing death
    Come sweet repose
    Bear me away
    In gladness.

    Please, let it be over!


    In reading his posts about Trump, I can’t tell if he considers the deplorables irrelevant to Trump’s popularity, or if he’s just flatly denying that they even exist. He does insist that the media is putting all Trump supporters into the basket, which sounds like what somebody who’d never watched television might think on hearing television news relayed to him by a neighbor, in the same way that his attempts to depict emotional reactions in his fiction read like what somebody who’d never had an emotion of his own would write.

  78. @ jimbot: If you’re concerned and you’re in King County (which I’m going to guess maybe not), you can watch this livestream of the ballot processing: here. Scroll down a bit to see the action.

  79. No, he doesn’t. He points out that the counting of votes and the election process is not rigged. He then points out that a number of states have made it harder to participate in that process, which is not rigged. The rebuke of the first is not the same as the observation of the second.

    To add to that, the fact that it’s very difficult to rig the election through fraudlent vote counts, ballot stuffing, and voter fraud; and that the risk of doing so is high, leads to people taking the legal routes of gerrymandering and voter suppression. They have the advantages that you don’t need to keep them secret, and nobody goes to jail if they’re discovered.

  80. The MSM is definitely and unapologetically (that a word?) biased in favor in Clinton and trashes Trump (some deserved, but not to the extent delivered by the MSM).

    Assertion, not a fact.

    Do you have some content analysis to back that up? And have you controlled for acts that would be considered inherently negative (i.e., incidents of sexual misconduct).?

  81. Dear JimBot,

    “I’m praying that Gary wins NM or Utah, and the election gets tossed to the house because neither Donald nor Hill gets the 2[7]0 required electoral votes.”



    In what remotely realistic scenario does that work out BETTER? I’m really curious how you see that playing out well.

    Note– it has to be remotely realistic, not just your favorite longshot candidate getting in. ‘Cause, if one wants to play the really-good-drug-delusion game, I can hope for that to happen and the House to choose Bernie Sanders.

    Because that it SO going to happen in this reality, right?

    If your basic argument is that the majority of people don’t like either Clinton or Trump, tell me which plausible candidate is better-liked, on the aggregate of all voters? I am pretty sure the polling to date indicates the answer is “None.”

    If you want to encourage the wackjob contingent to push even harder on the “illegitimacy” of the President, handing it off to the House would do the trick even better than baseless assertions of birthplace or voter fraud or rigged campaigns.

    So, again, I ask…


    pax / Ctein

  82. Jimbot is relying on wrong information in his assertion about voter registration in King Country; I know this because my mother just went through the process last week. She moved up from Oregon a couple years ago but has had a lot of health problems, and simply hadn’t gotten around to getting current non-driver’s ID. She was able to register with her old Oregon ID plus a couple of proofs of current residency. Note that it did take the ID. There are alternatives involving more and more stacks of documentation, but you absolutely can’t just wave an electrical bill and get registered to vote.

    (Realistically, it certainly didn’t hurt that Mom is your archetypal little old grandmotherly white lady.)

    But then I don’t really expect much interest in factual detail from either Trump or Johnson supporters, since an interest in facts would quickly undermine either’s campaign.

  83. John,
    It’s nice that Hillary has an 80% chance of winning, but that’s slightly worse than the chance of surviving a round of Russian roulette, and the downside is pretty nearly the same. I’m using diazepam to get me through next Tuesday without blowing a gasket.

  84. John, excellent post as always. I took advantage of early voting today (Maryland). The line was 40 minutes long. According to the few poll managers working the station who had been there through at least two other elections, they said the wait was normally 3 – 5 minutes. It’s been this way since it opened, they said. Regardless, I’m done.
    Now the upshot: You mentioned in a previous post about your productivity. That was so me it almost hurt. But now that I’ve voted? After it was over, I realized when I left work today that I hadn’t given it a thought. As if my body and mind were saying, “I did what I can do. Next problem?”
    Thanks again.

  85. Bruce Baugh @ 8.03:

    I believe jimbot is referencing Washington’s non-compliance with the Federal “Real ID” Act. The process of getting a new license goes much more easily if one can present ID that is Federally recognized, such as a passport or driver’s license from another state, but other documents can be accepted — you just need a lot more of them. (A concealed carry permit from one of Washington’s counties can be put towards this.) Washington also asks for an applicant’s Social Security number, ostensibly for the purposes of tracking child support payments.

  86. @etein
    Congress doesn’t have to choose from the party candidates. Romney or Gore would be much better Presidents than Don or Hill.
    I watched Watergate unfold as a teenager. A couple of months of sound and fury selecting a President would be preferable to months or years of hearings, special prosecutors, etc.

    Did they all vote for Al Franken?
    The 280 was a mis-type.

  87. November 9 is going to be a very interesting day. Clinton wins, it’s almost inevitable that there will be a roar of outrage from the other camp (the “RIGGED!” cry you are already hearing being ramped up) and frankly given the recent Bundy verdict… things could get ugly. At least on a local level. Trump wins and we are going to have more screaming, this time in pain from the sane contingent over there, trying to outshout the OTHER lot running around in circles and shooting jubilant guns into the air to celebrate. Personally, I still feel we’re choosing between Disaster and Full On Catastrophe and things are likely to get worse before they get better. But oh dear god just let it be over now. I am so done with the whole mess. (and yes, I voted already. My state has blessed vote-by-mail and there are no lines or queues or voter ID demand shenanigans. Voted, mailed, done and dusted. It really should NOT be as hard as they’re making it be in some places…)

  88. @Nebilon: it’s pretty easy to think of at least one non-white woman who would be a credible presidential candidate in 2024 if she chooses to run. In 2024 Kamala Harris will most likely be the senior Senator from California, halfway through her second term. I imagine she’ll at least think about running for president; most Senators do.

  89. IMO, a Hillary presidency would be bad mainly because of the inevitable Republican obstructionism; the rubbish which BHO had to tolerate was a gentle shower compared to the current and projected blizzard of shit.

  90. To me, a Clinton presidency will be tolerable only BECAUSE of Republican obstructionism, and a Trump presidency will be tolerable because Congress will likely obstruct him no matter who controls it (he’s not exactly loved by Establishment Republicans). My worst nightmare is an activist President (from either party; Dubya is the most recent example) combined with a compliant Congress.

  91. My good man Ctein:

    I certainly do wish the incoming House of Representatives would pick Bernie Sanders in a (possible) 12th Amendment ‘contingent election’ beginning January 6th, but (as a reminder in case you care) the House is permitted to choose only among the three highest Electoral College vote-getters. That would take a heck of a write-in campaign.

    However, I note that Sanders actually is a qualified write-in candidate here in California. So, if you wish to vote for him a second time, you actually can. Yr. welcome.

  92. @Rex Little: Fear an activist Congress, too. The Congressional Republicans have become far more radicalized than they were even in the days of Bush. There will be a storm of extreme-right legislation that Trump will happily sign, because he really doesn’t give a damn about any of that either way, and it’ll win him loyalty from those establishment Republicans.

    The scariest thing in this whole campaign, to me, wasn’t something Trump said at all, it was something a couple of supposedly regular Republicans said: Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich’s proposal to get Congress to undo the civil-service reforms of the 19th century, so they can fire every civil servant who was hired under Obama and replace them with ideologically compatible people. That’s going to allow Trump and his people to hollow out the executive branch in ways we can barely imagine. Think of how Iraq was governed right after the invasion, with this flock of American grifters, fanatics and conservative fellow travelers going over there to implement whatever half-assed theory they pulled out of Atlas Shrugged.

  93. @ Jimbot
    No. Franken was properly elected by a small margin, with a very well conducted recount process that I monitored daily. (I’m interested in voting rights.) One of the interesting details is that counties run by Republicans actually hurt their guy by being so restrictive and trying so hard to exclude people. A nice case of hoisting themselves by their own petard.
    Widespread voter fraud is a myth pushed by Republicans to try to keep Democrats from voting: the latest version of the “literacy test”, so to speak. If you’re not interested in the findings of the Brennan Center (“The truth about voter fraud”), you might be convinced by John Ashcroft failing to find more than a handful of cases, despite diligently searching for them for 6 years.

  94. Someone I know from Trump country showed up on my facebook feed. It was a false meme about Hillary. I commented with a link to snopes showing it was incorrect. Then I go check out their home page, and they had about a dozen more memes, all of them easily found on snopes as false.

    Have people always been this indifferent to truth and we never saw it because facebook didnt exist to show us? Or has the internet made it possible for people to find sites that feed them what they want to hear even if untrue?

    Can we get AI fact checkers soon? Like if you try to share a known disproven meme, Jarvis pops up and talks you down.

  95. Here’s what keeps me up at night: Trump & co. have set the stage for a nasty and scary election day. Trumpites will be intimidating (at the least) and possibly harassing people in lines to vote. They might be outright threatening. So what if it’s illegal? You get arrested (maybe) after a few hours, but someone else takes your place. And as the day goes on, people are afraid to show up at their polling place. In other places, some people push back, and both sides scream that the other side started it.

    In my nightmares, this scenario leads to a confusing and disqualified election, with no one sure who actually won, because who knows how all the noise affected voting. Enter anarchy. Enter a flabbergasted world, one part horrified, one part gloating, all parts holding their breath as they watch the very public downfall of the Great American Experiment in Democracy. Enter your favorite dystopian future…

    My point is that Trump doesn’t need to win OR lose this election. He only needs to disrupt our fragile hold on our flailing republic. It’s possible he’s done enough already to accomplish that on election day.

  96. Greg, I have relatives that think Snopes regularly makes errors about political facts. They are otherwise nice people who have a cognitive disconnect. One volunteers regularly at her church’s food pantry. And doesn’t get that the people she helps who “really” need it are representative of the large numbers nationally that need help.

  97. I am in panic. Trump is going to win. The last buffer state has fallen and New Hampshire is now at 65% and dropping. There’s a reason for the Hatch act. One person decided that they wanted Trump to win and had the power to deliver. James Comey has single-handedly given the election to Trump and we will have only him to thank. Since his decision to insert himself in the process, Hillary’s chances have been crashing. Just look at the freefall on 538. Much faster than any of the Trump falls.

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