I recently sent an envelope via the United States Postal Service (USPS) from San Diego to Detroit.
I was told it would take “two to five” days to reach its destination.
It took eight days to arrive.
Why does this matter?
It matters because we have an election in November.
And due to the pandemic, we’ll have record numbers of people voting by mail-in ballot.
And, according to this recent article:
“More than 18,500 Floridians’ ballots were not counted during the March presidential primary after many arrived by mail after the deadline.”
And not only late-returned ballots, said the article, but
“…large numbers of mail ballots have been rejected because they…were missing a postmark.”
- You could mail your ballot in plenty of time, but USPS may take its time delivering it – like the envelope I mailed.
- USPS could deliver your ballot on time, but neglect to postmark it.
- If your ballot is late or missing a postmark, your vote may not be counted.
There are other reasons your ballot could be rejected – according to the article, “Mail ballots can be tossed for a range of reasons that vary from state to state.”
So let’s focus on a situation that is in our control.
And come October and November, the way we control at least part of what happens with our mail-in ballots is…
By not mailing them.
Mail ballot drop-off locations:
This is a partial list of 63 mail ballot drop-off locations in San Diego County for the March 2020 election, provided by the Registrar of Voters. In this instance, all the locations are libraries.
The document details the dates for ballot drop-offs, and extended hours on election day. Each library’s name is a link to its website, so it’s easy to check the hours of operation.
According to my local librarian, the March drop-off process at my library was managed by volunteers from the League of Women Voters. Ballots were kept secure in locked containers, and picked up by the Registrar of Voters.
Notice what’s missing?
Any USPS involvement for getting your ballot to the Registrar of Voters.
Notice what else is missing?
Your worries about your ballot being late. Of not being postmarked. Or your ballot ending up looking like this, as so many pieces of mail do:
And if you think that with USPS this doesn’t happen a lot – consider this:
How many other organizations do you know that have pre-printed plastic bags with “Our Sincere Apologies” all set up and ready to go to handle their screw-ups?
The November 2020 election is already fraught with problems that are out of our control. To name a few:
- If you’re thinking of taking your mail-in ballot to your polling place, remember that due to the pandemic, there are fewer volunteers to work at polling places, meaning fewer polling places. Not all states permit ballot drop-off at polling places, and some states require it be your assigned precinct polling place.
- Some states don’t provide postage-paid envelopes for returning mail-in ballots:
If you live in one of those states and you forget to apply postage, USPS says it will deliver your ballot anyway. But – USPS also said my piece of mail would arrive in “two to five days.”
- Trump screaming “Voter fraud!” every time he hears “mail-in ballots.” This makes his Republican congressional toadies reluctant to provide the money to help states educate voters on the correct use of mail-in ballots, and prepare states for processing the expected massive amount of mail-ins.
And speaking of Trump and his toadies, the new head of USPS, Louis DeJoy – a North Carolina businessman and top Republican fundraiser – recently told employees to leave mail behind at distribution centers if it delayed letter carriers from their routes, according to this recent article:
The article referenced:
“…internal USPS documents obtained by the Washington Post and verified by the American Postal Workers Union and three people with knowledge of their contents, but who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid retribution.
“‘If the plants run late, they will keep the mail for the next day,’ according to a document titled, New PMG’s [Postmaster General’s] Expectations and Plan.’ Traditionally, postal workers are trained not to leave letters behind and to make multiple delivery trips to ensure timely distribution of letters and parcels.”
Concerns about Louis DeJoy are widespread, like in this July 19 article on NBCNews.com:
The article says, in part:
“Now, as millions of voters are relying on the Postal Service to support our elections during the coronavirus pandemic, Trump is politicizing another once-nonpartisan government agency. Having a political ally with ethical and competence questions like DeJoy lead the agency potentially puts November’s election at risk.
“Public records reveal that DeJoy donated more than $1.2 million to the Trump Victory Fund and millions more to the Republican Party.
“Public reports indicate that DeJoy is planning to eliminate overtime, which could cause delivery delays and hinder voting by mail.
“Installing a loyalist like DeJoy is another way Trump could undermine the agency and suppress voting in 2020.”
And in case you had any doubts about where ole Louie’s loyalty lies, take a look at this March 27 fundraiser invitation:
Minimum donation: $2,800. Throw in a VIP reception and a photo opportunity: $35,000.
With this Trump-loving DeJoy jerk in charge, who the hell knows what might happen to our mail-in ballots?
One final note: This post comes with this caveat:
On the list of libraries above, 63 libraries in San Diego County were open to receive mail-in ballots in March.
Due to the pandemic, as of today…
Many of those libraries are closed. With no reopening date in the foreseeable future.
So it’s up to us to educate ourselves about drop-off ballot locations.
But we don’t need to wait until November.
We can start checking our Registrar of Voters website today, and make it a regular practice. We can call them, we can email them, but however you choose to make contact – make contact. Keep making contact until that drop-off location list is available.
Then find your drop-off location, and make a plan for getting your mail-in ballot to your location in plenty of time:
Well before Election Day, November 3.
Let’s not let Trump, and Ole Louie, and USPS get in between us – and our vote:
Update: Trump and Republicans Ramp Up Attacks on Mail-In Ballots
Early yesterday morning Fox News carried this story:
The story was prompted by Trump tweeting this:
According to the Fox News story,
“The president and Republicans have been warning about possible voter fraud connected to mail-in voting for months, while Democrats and the media have often pointed to a lack of evidence that mail-in voting, and absentee voting, lead to voter fraud.
“The president and the GOP have railed against recent attempts by Democrats to increase voting by mail; the RNC and the Trump reelection campaign have doubled their legal budget this year to hit back at efforts by Democrats to overhaul voting laws in response to the pandemic.
“Democrats, pushing back against the claims by Trump and the GOP, say that cases of actual voter fraud are limited and claim that Republicans are trying to suppress voter turnout to improve their chances of winning elections.
“Meanwhile, Trump campaign national press secretary Hogan Gidley said Monday that the president has a right to be skeptical of election results, claiming Democrats have a ‘history of cheating.’”
A few hours later, this story appeared:
Trump had posted the same “CORRUPT ELECTION” message on Facebook.
It appears that – miraculously – somehow Mark Zuckerberg is starting to grow a spine. The article says, in part:
“Facebook on Tuesday followed through with a new policy of adding additional voting information to posts from politicians related to elections, appending a link to a post from President Trump:
“The post in question claims, baselessly, that mail-in voting will ‘lead to the most CORRUPT ELECTION in our Nation’s History!’ The hashtag #RIGGEDELECTION is also included.
“Facebook last week began attaching labels to posts by federal elected officials and candidates leading users to usa.gov/voting, which contains basic info about elections and voting.
“For posts, like the one by Trump, that mention mail-in voting, the link will take users to a section with state-by-state instructions on how to register to vote by mail.”
This time around, Twitter seemed to give Trump’s post a pass:
“A spokesperson for Twitter told The Hill that the same post that was labeled on Facebook does not violate any of Twitter’s policies and will not be labeled.
“Per the platform’s civic integrity policy, Twitter will not take action against ‘broad, non-specific statements.’”
- Start contacting/checking your county’s Registrar of Voters office/website for mail-in ballot drop-off locations.
- When it comes to politics and politicians, be skeptical, and…