Family Early Voting Time!

Me and Krissy and Athena, just having voted.

This year there are many good reasons to vote early, but for the Scalzi family, two stood out, one practical and one existential. The existential reason is that this year out of all other election years voting is under attack, specifically by the party in the White House and by the president, who has already signaled that he intends to deny any outcome that doesn’t make him happy. So better to vote early and in a manner that leaves no doubt one’s vote has been received and will be counted. The practical reason is that Krissy is having (minor) surgery tomorrow, and although that shouldn’t impede her ability to vote later, better safe than sorry.

Today is the first day of early voting in Ohio, so this morning the Scalzi family packed ourselves into the car and drove to the county seat of Greenville in order to vote in person at the board of elections office there. I’m pleased to say it was busy — apparently a lot of folks had the same idea we had about getting everything taken care of — but everyone was wearing masks and appropriate distancing was happening throughout the process. Most of the voters were on the older side; Athena was very definitely the youngest voter there, and I think Krissy and I were the next youngest. Young people, don’t forget to vote, and don’t forget that you can vote early.

The voting machines were new this year: They recorded the vote electronically, printed out a card with the voters choices on it, and then the printed card was fed into a repository that scanned the card as it was stored. I feel reasonably confident that my votes will be counted accurately, although to be clear I have not felt in previous years that they wouldn’t. Darke County, Ohio, whatever else it might be, is not in itself a hotbed of voter suppression.

I can’t say how the other two Scalzis voted, as I was not looking over their shoulder while they were voting, but I can say how I voted: No surprise at all, I voted Biden/Harris and otherwise voted for Democratic candidates on the ballot. With regard to the US Representative vote, this will be a futile gesture, as Warren Davidson, the Republican incumbent, is certain to win, having received nearly two votes in 2018 for every vote his opponent, Vanessa Enoch, got. Enoch is back this year and will probably do about the same. This is a very very red district; the Democrats haven’t won it since 1936, and 2020 will not be their year. Warren Davidson is in fact a solid representation of OH-8, and philosophically I’m fine with that. He’s not representative of my politics, however, so I didn’t vote his way. That’s how it works!

I do think my vote for Biden/Harris may be more representative of Ohio this year, however. Current polls have Biden and Trump evened up at around 47%; I suspect they’ll remain in or near a statistical tie through election day and we’ll just have to see what happens. If Trump loses Ohio, I suspect there is no (legal, fair) way he’ll be able to argue he didn’t lose the election, not because Ohio is a bellwether state this year but because if he’s lost Ohio, he’ll already likely have lost Florida and Pennsylvania and other “must win” states. If that turns out to be the case, I’ll be delighted to have had my vote be one that helped flip the state away from him.

In previous elections, and usually in local positions, I’ve voted for Republican candidates, particularly if they were running unopposed, as they often do for unglamorous county-wide civil jobs. This year I couldn’t bring myself to do that. I think the GOP is in a dangerous place these days, and has become a top-down, authoritarian, amoral white supremacist cult of personality. Maybe that doesn’t matter when the position is, say, County Recorder, where the prosaic function of the office doesn’t offer much opportunity for the politics of the party to intrude, and the Republican is the only person running for the office anyway. But as a matter of conscience, I can’t support the GOP for anything right now, and honestly I don’t know when I can again. The Republicans running unopposed on the ballot will get their jobs regardless. Just not with my vote.

In any event: Hey! I’ve voted! I’m happy that I have fulfilled my duty as a United States citizen, proud I have yet again extended my unbroken streak of exercising my franchise — this is my ninth consecutive presidential election — and, frankly, relieved to have done it and to know that whatever else happens, I made it clear who I want in the White House and in the government, and equally as important this year, who I do not.

And, this year above all other years, I feel pugnacious about it. Dear Donald Trump and the GOP: Fuck you, I’ve voted. The fact you’re actively working to keep other US citizens from doing so, and literally destroying public infrastructure and the public trust in the voting system to do it enrages me on a visceral level, as a human and as an American. In a perfect world all y’all would be voted out and some of you would be in prison. But I’ll settle for now with Trump out of the White House and the Senate flipped. That’ll be a good start. Let’s hope it happens.

To those of you reading this who are adult US citizens: Remember to vote. I recommend voting early and in person if that’s an option for you. If not, and you choose to vote absentee, vote as early as you can, mail your ballot as quickly as you can, and make sure you follow all the directions (and have sufficient postage!). If you are voting on election day itself, know where your polling place is, take the day off work if you can, and prepare to be in line for as long as it takes to vote (bring snacks! And an extra battery for your phone!).

However you do it: Vote. Get it done, folks. It matters, this year above all. I did my part. So did Krissy and Athena. Now it’s up to you.

— JS

63 Comments on “Family Early Voting Time!”

  1. Good for you, John.

    We still plan to vote in person on November 3. Our dogs expect their walk so we go to the polling place and one votes while the holds the dogs. Then switch.

    The only possible change would be to get our ballots ahead of time then get them cancelled out when we pull the levers in the school gym.

  2. 2020 feels about 3 years long so far. October is going to feel like a year all to itself. An now till Jan 20, 2021, inauguration day, is gonna feel like a decade or so.

    Here’a hoping a landslide is so overwhelming it pushes Trump out despite his attempts to rig it.

  3. Mail in ballot going into mail today. In Illinois, mail in voters have been getting confirmations that their vote is received and acceptable. If not acceptable for some reason (signature doesn’t look correct), they are told what is wrong and how to fix it. Illinois is doing everything they can to make this work, this year.

  4. Congrats! Glad it was straightforward.

    Because of the recent shenanigans with the Post Office, I had to pay mumbledy-some-odd euros to send my absentee ballot to my home Board of Elections via a private courier service. The US Embassy sent an email offering to send ballots to the US via the diplomatic pouch and then put them in the mail, but wouldn’t you know it, the deadline for the diplomatic pouch was mid-September, before the absentee ballot reached me.

    But the Board of Elections has a website with ballot status, which informs me that my ballot has been received, so the only possible method for the 21st-century GOP to garner my vote (namely, raise my zombified corpse from its grave and command it to vote Republican) is now closed to them.

  5. Further to the Republican party in general: If you wouldn’t write Grand Old Party, why do you write GOP?

    (Also, dropped my absentee TX vote into today’s mail.)

  6. The commitment you have made on Whatever this year to raising everyone’s awareness of the importance of voting has been admirable and wonderful to see. Thank you.

    I agree with you on voting Republican. It is a sad choice I made many years ago, as I watched the GOP of the Gingrich era start their concentrated attack on all of the pillars of a free society — voting, academia, the press, the courts. Once there were principled Republicans — I remember Republican Senator John Warner of Virginia (who you will remember as well from your time in the Old Dominion), for whom I voted, refusing to support Oliver North, his party’s nominee for a Senate seat, because North was such an unprincipled person. Republicans like Warner are long gone now.

    It is unhealthy for our Republic to have a system rigged for two parties, and then to have one of those parties turn into a nihilistic, authoritarian cult of personality. Something to propose for your political advocacy on Whatever in the coming years — ballot access, making it easier for other political parties to get on the ballot. Increased ballot access would act as a pressure valve for our politics.

    Thanks again for keeping all of your fans aware of the importance of the simplest act of participation in our democracy, and keeping focus on how appalling it is that one party wishes to limit that right. And thanks, Scalzi family, for voting.

  7. I dropped off my mail in ballot at the box by the municipal complex the first day it opened. I voted similarly to you except there is at least one place it will make a difference and it was a hard choice. I live in the democratic enclave of a strongly republican county in NJ. I moved her 20 years ago and in the first mayoral election after I moved here I voted for a republican for mayor. I continued to support him as mayor and voted every time after that and made a difficult decision to vote for him instead of a Democrat when he was running for county freeholder. I know and respect him. There had not been a democratic freeholder here in my (not brief) lifetime but he had shown himself reasonably able to represent all of the citizens of his community. That’s probably why he was elected even though it was close — those of us who knew him as mayor continued to support him. In the interim democrats have gotten 2 of the 6 freeholder seats. This time I saw him on the ballot and I just couldn’t. Too many people who I had expected to do the right thing in the last 4 years have made decisions that I would have expected to be impossibly against their values. I can’t trust them to do the right thing. The family members who were yes conservative but in an we can agree to disagree way have turned out and out racist and fact resistant. I can not enable any thread of power for these people.

  8. I’m going to vote tomorrow because my kids will be in school. I’m hoping it won’t be ridiculous, but I need to vote. Unfortunately, I can’t cancel out my wife’s family (at least three votes for Trump et al.) but it’s what I can do.

  9. I am glad, though not surprised, that Clan Scalzi took the earliest possible opportunity to exercise your franchise. Clan Snuggledorf did the same, and in fact our absentee ballots were marked received by our county clerk on September 21.

    I am interested to learn that I am not the only person to take the straight-ticket approach this year after a lifetime of examining each individual candidate to determine who I felt best matched my criteria. I am such an independent cuss that it goes against my grain to do the straight-ticket thing, but this year especially, I felt it was essential not to give my ballot to any candidate who had the letter R by their name.

    Good luck to Krissy, hope that all goes well and that recovery is swift and uneventful. And thank you both for raising a progressive, politically active adult.

  10. I don’t quite understand all the things you all seem to be voting for. In Oz we have three elections all at different times (federal every 3 years. State every 4 years and nobody cares about local government elections) In the state and federal elections you vote for the Senate and the Lower house. So two positions. (Local government is just the one councillor). What else are you all voting for?? Good luck tomorrow Krissy

  11. My (Illinois) ballot arrived in the mail yesterday–looks fairly straightforward, and I already know where the nearest drop-box is. I may wait until October 19, when early voting starts for my community, and then go in and vote personally; I’ll decide next week. But I’m safely registered, I have a plan, and I’m following it!

  12. Thank you for voting and I hope everyone does. Your comment regarding voting being under attack echoes the view held by majority on your side. Might I offer a concern however? California, which is pretty much a blue state, initiated statewide mail in voting however when searching online for the “number of registered voters in California” and even on the SOS (Secretary of State) website the number is difficult to impossible to find. I do know that I received my ballot at my new residence but have heard and seen multiple ballots for the same person at different residences among my circle of friends. This doesn’t bode well for the count accuracy if there are no checks in place to assure multiple ballots are not submitted for a voter and what happens if there are? Which ballot is accepted as valid? These are the concerns I believe are being brought up from the other side of the aisle rather than attacking voting outright. I certainly wouldn’t have believed that such errors were possible and had I not seen it with my own eyes I would have questioned the validity of their existence but it is true. Luckily the ballots in question were given to authorities to dispose of correctly.

  13. I actually voted weeks ago. Blue down ticket save for uncontested stuff. I’m not quite as angry about the GOP as JS.

    In my case it was absentee electronic as border crossing is pretty much a non starter in this pandemic and I vote in North Dakota which is pretty red, but I did my bit to get rid of the orange Cheeto.

    I’m not a big Biden/Harris fan but they won’t be Trump. Caligula’s horse would do a better job at this point.

  14. WA is almost entirely VBM, but the ballots don’t get mailed out until the 19th. I am going to be voting ASAP even though the PO shenanigans seem to have been tamped down here.
    Continuing with the acronyms, can’t wait for this CF to be over.

  15. Thank you, Scalzis, for voting in your swing state. I too will be voting straight Democratic when early voting starts on 10/24 here in NYS. I will also be mailing 60 letters to registered voters in SC and FL via https://votefwd.org/ on 10/17 – my little part to help get out the vote.

  16. Great job, Scalzis.

    In Oregon there’s still another week to register, with ballots being mailed out on the 20th. We have statewide mail-in voting, with the option to use county ballot drop-boxes as well.

  17. What offices I’m voting for: (California)

    President/vp/house
    State senate & assembly
    Local community college board
    School district board
    County superior court judge
    City council
    Director, sanitation district
    12 statewide propositions
    4 local government propositions

  18. Glad you voted. I will be voting on election day and will be at the library offering rides to the polls for those who cannot otherwise make it. FWIW I will be voting for Biden/Harris in very red Kentucky. I truly hope, but am not confident, that we can vote out Mitch.

  19. I started filling out my ballot last night, and have voted for everything except the Board of Education. As soon as I research those positions enough to feel comfortable casting my vote, I’ll complete my ballot and walk over to my local library, which has a drop-off box for absentee ballots.

  20. @Rick, the ‘other side of the aisle’ in in fact attacking voting outright, by closing polling places, limiting early in-person voting, and taking other steps to discourage voters who might not go their way (i.e., Black voters) from casting their ballots. This is extensively documented and happening nin real time. The controversy truly is not a concern about a handful of erroneous ballots in California.

    BTW, California voters can track their ballots here:

    https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-status/wheres-my-ballot

  21. Checked my voter registration over the weekend, checked mail-in balloting and early voting sites for Arizona this morning. Mail-in ballots are supposed to be sent starting tomorrow; first early voting locations don’t open until Oct 22nd. (One of the locations is at the West Campus of Arizona State University, only about a mile from us; They’re supposed to have a drop box as well. I’ve marked the date on the calendar.)

  22. I’ve been doing postcards to voters, with the latest campaign for the Ohio supreme court. Getting sick of had writing the word “gerrymandering”, but I hope it helps get John o’donnell and Jennifer Brunner in to balance things out better. A lot of people skip the judges part of the ballot, I’ve read, and especially Democrats. It’s overwhelming for sure. So we’re trying to drive name recognition for good judges that lean liberal.

  23. Pappenheimer, can I ask where you got the 19th as the mail-out date? I’ve checked the state election page and it’s giving the 16th.

    To anyone else in Washington state: the Elections Division is open for curbside service, you have until the 26th to register to vote online or by mail – you can register in person on Election Day – and everyone is strongly encouraged to get their ballot in the mail a week before Election Day if using USPS, to take it to a secure dropbox or to a mobile voting center. The mobile centers and local elections offices will also have accessible voting machines. Look up your county here.

  24. CA here, apparently mine is in the mail. I too have a text alert which says when it’s accepted, which is nice.

    I’ve also got to weed through all the special interest, sorry, ballot initiatives, to decide what to vote for – I am actually voting for the Uber/Lyft amendment as the over-reach on AB5 was truly ridiculous, if you decide when/where to work, and to set the tier of income you’ll take, you’re a contractor, not an employee.

    Will probably vote this weekend, ballot should be here by then.

    I’m with John in the no Republicans, ever, voting. If you stand with trump, you stand for bigotry, corruption and incompetence.

    If there was a fiscally conservative, socially liberal party I’d vote for it, but as we don’t have a fiscally conservative party, it’s got to be the Dems. Fortunately since we have top two primaries here, we tend to get a choice between ultra-left Dem and sorta-left Dem, so I can vote sorta-left.

  25. @William, in the U.S., elections are run by the states, not the federal government. States hold elections with national consequences on the first Tuesday in November every even-numbered year: Presidents (4-year term), Senators (6 years), and Representatives (2 years). The two-major-party system gave rise to primary elections, where Republicans and Democrats vote to see who will represent their party in the general (November) election; states usually hold primaries in the spring or early summer.

    Beyond the national candidates, various elections determine state governors, state legislatures, county-wide and city-wide leaders, and ballot measures — propositions, much like bills a legislature would pass, except placed before the people for a vote instead, usually the result of interest groups obtaining enough petition signatures to qualify their proposals for the ballot. Different offices come up for election at different times, so my ballot may not look exactly like that of someone across town, let alone in another state.

    I’m in California, and this election, my ballot includes:
    – community college board of trustees
    – state senator
    – state assembly representative
    – U.S. representative
    – ballot measure for local school district
    – county district attorney
    – county superior court judges
    – 1 county measure
    – 12 state measures (California loves its “propositions”)
    – U.S. president and vice president

    (Sorry if that was more than you, or anyone, needed)

  26. Thank you for voting Democrat, though it was no surprise. I concur with your decision to vote early (if not often!). And an even better strategy than not voting for a Republican for the down-ticket offices is to write in someone. That lets them know you are actively opposed to the Republican candidate. And Krissy would make an excellent tax assessor or councilperson, as would Athena!

  27. Thanks for posting about this; I firmly believe that this is the most important election of my lifetime, so I’m hoping that as many people as possible get out and cast a ballot. I also support the Biden/Harris ticket, and have already cast my absentee ballot in Wisconsin. And on Election Day, I will be working at the polls all day, trying to keep things running smoothly for those willing to brave the coronavirus, as well as processing all of the absentee ballots.

  28. Coincidentally received my mail-in ballot for the British Columbia provincial election today. I’ll be posting it back on the weekend. It’s due October 24.

    @William, unlike us Westminster derived systems with some ability to dissolve the legislature on short notice and have a snap election, American ones run to a strict cycle. Given that regularity they have this habit of smushing a bunch of elections together. So an American voter this year might be voting on
    * President
    * Congressional Representative (Lower House)
    * Senator (if it’s one of the 1/3 up for election) (Upper House)
    * State offices
    * Country offices
    * Local offices including
    ** Sheriff !?!
    ** Judges !?!

    I’ve heard that the huge ballots that result are part of the reason Americans believe that paper ballots are not practical and have a greater tendency to use voting machines no matter how dodgy.

  29. Congrats on voting early. I will be dropping the mail ballot off in person at the county office. Living in a state whose electoral votes are not in doubt in any way allows me to vote third party. I know the two major parties are beholden to billionaires, lobbyists, corporations, unions and foreign interests. So they don’t receive my vote for federal and state office until they change their ways. That is how it works. It’s not enough to mouth the words. Our elected representatives are not there to earn millions in graft and speaking fees.

  30. Maryland was pretty easy. I put in a request months ago for mail in ballots to be sent via email to my wife, my two 80-something parents, and myself. All emails were received the week of September 21-26, printed, and filled in. Drop boxes came into being the next week, I picked up my parent’s ballots and dropped all four off on October 1st.

    The only issue I had was my printer wouldn’t get the blasted envelopes correct, which have a 9 digit ID to match the ballot to a person. Luckily, my wife’s printer had no such issues.

    The governor here, Larry Hogan, is Republican, in a very Blue state, but he has criticized Trump much more than he has agreed with him. Other than someone like that, I agree completely, the GOP needs to be carpet bombed in this country.

    The interesting thing about the latest NBC/WSJ poll, showing Biden’s lead growing to 53-39, is that it seems to be the first time Trump has lost some of his base, as his numbers dropped 4 points, 43 to 39. I had given up on that happening, but the interesting thing was my wife and I visited a nearby cousin last Thursday. She has been a Trump supporter his whole 4 years. She said the debate was the last straw, and that she won’t be voting for him. So she is part of that 4 point swing. Wonder if even more will bail on Cheetolini after his weekend Covid-19 escapades.

  31. William, what Alan Swann said. In New York City, for whatever stupid reason, our Mayoral election is neither in this Presidential election year nor the Gubernatorial election year two years from now, but next year. Besides President and Congress this year, we voted for State Senate and Assembly members, plus judgeships. The City Council is elected next year, the same as the Mayor. We do have a two (consecutive) term limit for Mayor and City Council, so we will be electing a new Mayor next year. I hope someone else runs, because the announced choices so far are less than inspiring.

    New York has only one week of early voting, starting October 24, but rather than waiting even that long, we got our absentee ballots (first time ever) last week, and sent them in immediately.

    It was heartening to read the “occasionally I voted Republican but NOT this year” comments. As for “first vote for President” when I was 18, the voting age was still 21, so I was unable to cast my vote against Richard Nixon until four years later.

  32. @Not the Reddit Chris S.: This is probably not the place for an extended discussion, but as fixes to AB 5 go, Proposition 22 ain’t it. unless by fixing the law you mean ‘guaranteeing the right of venture capitalists to finally make some profit off gig apps’.

    And at some point soon I need to open my voters’ guide and figure out what other godforsaken proposals we put on the ballot. Californians are a little, uh, enthusiastic about ballot initiatives.

  33. @Rick: Had any of the purported recipients of multiple ballots attempted to utilize more than one, they would have been apprehended for committing election fraud, a felony. We’ve been doing this in CA since 1849. We know how to log in ballots and check off who voted and who is eligible to vote.

  34. @mythago – I’ve got to go with whatever option there is to gut it, AB5 was a badly thought out disaster from day one, as you can tell by the ever-increasing list of carve outs that the legislature is adding to it as more and more people realize just how bad it is. It needs to be shredded and rethought from the ground up, the idea is laudable, the execution incompetent. The VCs are still and will be forever losing money on Uber/Lyft etc, so that’s nice, we at least get some money back from the oligarchs/kelptocrats.

    But maybe not the place, as you say

  35. Kat, Sure it a person could be found that dropped the ballot in the mail box. I understand they could be charged for those crimes, assuming you know who dropped the ballot in the mail box. What if a ballot hat been cast for me before I cast my ballot. I understand that I can track “MY” ballot but what if there existed another ballot for me? at a different address? would it have a different tracking number? If so how do I track it?
    Anyway, not the forum for this discussion. I was merely pointing out what I had come across.

  36. Waiting for my Maryland absentee ballot, which I plan to deposit in a ballot dropbox – they are putting boxes at most of the county high schools plus some community centers. I still need to research the local nonpartisan issues (Board of Education, judgeships, several county questions).

  37. Waves to fellow Marylander @otterb

    I should have made clear that mail-in and absentee ballots are synonymous in Maryland, they did like several states, and allowed widespread absentee balloting because of COVID-19. Our closest drop box was at a Library.

  38. @Rick, I take it you didn’t go to the link, which would likely answer your what-if questions about the handling of ballots and might allay your worries about ballots multiplying a la the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. That is, of course, if the concern is with election problems and not with both-sidesing actual vote suppression from ‘across the aisle.’

    Every election I volunteer as a poll watcher, usually under the Democrats because that’s who is offering, even though I am not a Democrat. And at every training it is emphasized that our job is to make sure every voter is able to cast their ballot. Period. There is no joking about only helping the ‘right’ voters, no wink-wink to suggest that we are just saying these things for the record. Is some of this self-interest? Sure, some; the last statistic I saw was that for every suppression tactic that stops one Republican from voting, three Democrats are stopped from voting. But most of it is genuine outrage that anyone is being intimidated or stalled out of casting their ballot, however they choose to do so. There’s a real enthusiasm for making sure that the American process of going in to cast your ballot is honored. I have seen some of the best behavior towards our fellow citizens when they participate in a civic duty and help one another to vote.

    No one who thinks of themselves as a patriotic American should even consider lowering themselves to trying to keep others from voting.

  39. I am planning to take a half day and go to Costco on the other side of the island, and if I can sort out some of the local issues, will do in-person voting at the county election board as well. There are a couple of things (the TMT) that I have been edumacated on, but a couple others that I still need to research. I hate receiving the mailers that say vote NO on Issue 3, without elaborating why.

  40. Our early voting opens on the 19th here in ole’ Georgia. I suspect I’ll wait a day or two in hopes the crowds decrease a little.

    The point you make about unopposed candidates in low level posts is an interesting one. Years ago I decided to skip any individual vote if there were only one candidate no matter what party fronted them. My theory is that they obviously don’t need my vote to win and no choice is actually being presented to me, so I refuse to cast a vote. As you mentioned, it’s usually for posts that are nearly non-political anyway. I think this is the first time I’ve heard anyone make mention of it.

  41. I voted yesterday, and I felt such a weight lift off my shoulders as my ballot slid away into the dropbox. (Here in New Jersey, mail-in ballots were sent to all registered voters, and each county has at least ten dropboxes scattered around; using a dropbox keeps your ballot from being the Post Office’s responsibility. For those who choose to vote in person, there will be special handicapped-accessible voting machines for people who really need them, and everyone else will get a provisional paper ballot – which won’t be counted if it turns out that voter already sent their mail-in ballot.)

    Trump may yet steal the election; he might even manage to win the electoral college, the way he did four years ago. But I’ve done what I can to evict him from power.

    Now, we wait.

  42. Agree, voted absentee in Michigan. Dropped off our ballots at Holland city hall. I can’t vote for any Republican candidates. When a major political party decides that they don’t believe in the concept of a democratic republic then they need to be totally defeated. I’ll consider them when they decided to believe in democracy.

  43. Good for you. I’m looking into early voting this year for the first time. My usual voting location is nearly never full, or I think the line had three people in it at the most that I had to wait behind (for 2016, actually, now that I think about it). But I’m also deep in Dump country, surrounded by those damned flags and yard signs everywhere. I’m sure the intimidation factor will be out in force.

    But I’m waiting a little bit because thanks to all the Dump stuff, I don’t really even know who is running for office in all these other elections, let alone Governor. Probably that craptastic boot-licker Abbott again (ugh), but who’s the opponent? Haven’t watched the local news in a while, and I’m gonna get super informed before I think about even walking into that place. The info provided before an election around here, because I’m out-county and not a big city, is generally lousy. Gotta do some digging tomorrow, first thing on the to-do list.

  44. I feel the same way you do about the GOP this year. Luckily, there was no one running unopposed in my area (FL), but I would have done the same as you if there had been. I find it sad.

  45. I mailed mine last week. Since I’ll actually be out of town on Election Day, even though I would have done it that way, regardless. I’m kinda proud of Bay City, MI, as they actually sent me an email that they had received my ballot.

  46. If I may slightly disagree with Our Gracious Host on something he said about downballot races:

    Yes, County Recorder matters. It’s how we got A Raisin in the Sun and Hansberry v. Lee; and redlining in general; and insurance redlining today. Because thanks to machine politics in a jurisdiction that Our Gracious Host had four years to observe, the County Recorder was so racist that he couldn’t have been put into an episode of Lovecraft Country without everybody saying it was too much.

    You have to know your local party in at least some detail before voting a straight ticket. Out here, one is relatively safe evading them elephants (because such a high proportion of elephants keep white sheets and hoods in their closets… if they’re even that subtle about it). That isn’t true everywhere, though; “Democrat” in Chicago and in San Francisco means something different than in Champaign and Oakland.

  47. Ballots will go out in WA State on October 13th. The only people in the state who use electronic machines do so at voting centers with machines designed to assist people with various disabilities. All other ballots are paper, tabulated by scanners, and are randomly audited by hand counts. I’ll be using a drop box. I’ve been an elections observer, and noted that a few ballots have to be redone by election workers because they get trashed by mail sorters.

    To me, an election is not really valid without an audit. The problem with electronic voting is that (unlike with ATMs) we only do it a few times a year. That makes every election a beta test. Lots of beta tests do work, though, and I hope yours does.

  48. I made the startling discovery that I was not, in fact, registered to vote.

    Oddly enough, other local democrats and folks with “ethnic” surnames made similar discoveries.

    I received my most recent ballot with no problem, as has been the case for every election in which I’ve voted.

    Yet this time, no ballot. Odd thing, that.

    In any case, I took care of said oddity first thing yesterday morning and will soon take my opportunity to throw in with democracy and a relatively stable existence.

  49. We applied for absentee ballots here in South Carolina and have the means to track the process online. The ballots were mailed on 24 September but have, unlike our neighbor’s ballot, failed to arrive.

    We don’t have early voting, per se, but this year anyone can apply for an absentee ballot and has the option to go to a location and utilize the same system that you described – which we will be doing the latter part of next week.

    I am going to continue to monitor the online system to ensure that someone else doesn’t submit our requested absentee ballots. While my solid “ Blue” vote will not make a difference for President ( it is South Carolina after all) there is a tight race for Lindsey Graham’s seat – and hope to make a difference there.

    WRT your companion post, remember – Vote Blue – it doesn’t matter Who (this time).

  50. I voted early today in Franklin County. It took me about 40 minutes at 9 am. Lots of people.

  51. Here in California, I was notified Monday that my ballot was mailed Monday and will arrive in 5-7 days. I’m keeping a close eye on it as I’ve had issues with mail theft (although I’m sure it’s not ballots they’re after). I’ve already done my ballot research on the propositions and the top of the ticket is an easy call (I marked the Biden circle in my sample ballot immediately with great relish), but I still need to do some research on the local races to make a reasonably informed vote.

    For the CA folks trying to figure out the propositions, I highly recommend checking out http://peterates.com/
    I don’t always agree with his assessments, but he does very good detailed writeups on each proposition and I always learn something new reading them.

  52. I want to personally thank you, John, and all the other fine folks I follow online, who have kept the importance of voting this year front and center. I would be voting anyway (I mean, seriously!) but it helps a lot to see folks I respect speaking up.