Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Don't fear voting in person in November. If you are going to vote by absentee, don't wait too late.

by Rod Williams -  In an editorial today in The Tennessean, David Plazas explains that Tennessee is one of 46 states that received a letter from the U.S. Postal Service warning that absentee/mail-in ballots may not be delivered by the deadline. They must arrive by the time polls close at 7 p.m. on Election Day or they will not be counted. 

There may be some people who think they are voting absentee in a timely manner who are not going to have their vote counted because it will not be retuned by the deadline.   The deadline to request an absentee ballot for the Nov. 3 presidential election is Oct. 27. If people wait until the deadline to request the ballot, it is doubtful it can be mailed to the person requesting the ballot, they can fill out the ballot and it can be returned to the election commission by Election Day. If you wait until the deadline to request your ballot, you have waited too late. 

I voted in the recent primary and it was a easy and the Covid-19 precautions were the best I have seen anywhere.  I closely observed. Poll officials would not let anyone enter without a mask. The poll officials themselves had on mask and paper disposable gowns and disposable gloves.  The floors everywhere were marked so one knew where to stand so there was no danger of getting within six feet of another person. Crowd control was maintained so their was no bunching up waiting in the polling place.  I have been lots of places where when someone asked a question and the person asking was having difficulted hearing through the gabble of a mask, the speaker would pull down their mask and repeat themselves.  I did not see that happen.  

When one approached the poll official to request the ballot, the poll officials did not touch the identification of the voter.  If was placed on a piece of paper by the voter, the poll official then pulled the paper to himself, looked at the Id then pushed the paper back to the voter.  Little cocktail straws were used by the voter to make their selection on the screen.  Voters did not touch anything.  Then the voter took their ballot and placed it in the ballot box touching noting but their own ballot.  I was impressed. 

The only place where I could see there might be problem is if people are waiting outside in long lines.  Poll officials would have a hard time enforcing social distancing outside the door of the polling place.  If one goes during slack times, that should not be a problem and more than likely people will observe the social distancing while in line.  During early voting, I was working the polls trying to get signatures for the petition to recall the mayor.  At Howard School, there were lines of people outside the polling place but they were orderly and masked and maintaining their distance. 

If you are maintaining strict quarantine and just too fearful to go vote and you live in Tennessee don't worry about it.  Your vote is not going to affect the outcome of the election.  If we had popular election of the president, then that would be a different story. If we lived in a battleground state, that would be a different story, but we know Tennessee is not in play.  Tennessee has eleven electoral votes and they are not proportionately distributed; the winner gets them all.  Tennessee will vote for Donald Trump. If you are just too fearful to go vote, don't do it and don't feel bad about it. It is just not that important to the outcome.  

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