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horn4life

Time for a FEDERAL no cause absentee ballot option?

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I think it's something we should all logically endorse with the Coronavirus reaping havoc.  I am curious to hear your thoughts on the matter?

As a dose of political reality, you can also address the multiple Republican talking points on why making people wait in crowded long lines is a better and wiser strategy, in the coronavirus age.

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Considering elections are jealously guarded by state and local authorities, that sounds like something that has little to no chance of ever happening even if it might be a great idea.

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8 minutes ago, horn4life said:

I think it's something we should all logically endorse with the Coronavirus reaping havoc.  I am curious to hear your thoughts on the matter?

As a dose of political reality, you can also address the multiple Republican talking points on why making people wait in crowded long lines is a better and wiser strategy, in the coronavirus age.

All elections are run by state and local governments. Some already have vote by mail(essentially the same thing).

Take it up with your local government. 

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If this carries over to the Fall, trump will ask to suspend voting and let the state legislatures pick their own electors.  Which by the way is 100% legal. I believe the gop controls the majority of state legislatures and would produce an electoral college victory.

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24 minutes ago, freyguy said:

Read the Constitution.  He cannot do any of that.

Hahahaha. Constitution?  Please. 

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27 minutes ago, freyguy said:

Read the Constitution.  He cannot do any of that.

Who’s going to stop him?

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Really? I thought anyone could vote by absentee ballot. I only did it once, when I was 18 and attending school outside my home State. I've never really thought about it since. I just assumed it was an option for everyone. It should be. 

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3 hours ago, Nice Guy Eddie said:

If this carries over to the Fall, trump will ask to suspend voting and let the state legislatures pick their own electors.  Which by the way is 100% legal. I believe the gop controls the majority of state legislatures and would produce an electoral college victory.

No kidding.......

 

for so many reasons,  we need this shit to be gone by June at the very latest. I don’t want trump to postpone or skip the election. We still deserve our shot to take him down.

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3 hours ago, Nice Guy Eddie said:

If this carries over to the Fall, trump will ask to suspend voting and let the state legislatures pick their own electors.  Which by the way is 100% legal. I believe the gop controls the majority of state legislatures and would produce an electoral college victory.

Democrats control 13 states (both houses), Republicans control 32 (both houses), 5 states have split control or no control (NE).  Democrats have long ignored this part of the system (look at swing states like FL, AZ, PA, OH, MN, WI, MI, NC, VA).  Places where the presidential vote goes 52-48 one way or the other every cycle...and those states are ruled by a comfortable GOP margin.  Traditionally left states like ME, CT, and NY are also very close to tilting both houses to the GOP instead of the split system they have now.  Be careful wishing away the electoral college because when it does happen, the Republicans will immediately move to abolish the 17th amendment and you'd have a super Majority rule/fillibuster proof control of the U.S. Senate by Republicans in that case (admittedly neither one has a chance of happening in the next quarter century).  

Anyway, this thread does raise a point.  We all know he's gonna try something.  We can get into radical hyperbole, but he does have somewhat smart people already looking into what can he legally do (with 'legal' having a very wide berth here) to tamper with the elections.  And I don't mean Russian facebook ads.  I mean affecting how the elderly (aka, his base) can get their votes case without having to show up.  

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2 hours ago, WhatTheBuck said:

Really? I thought anyone could vote by absentee ballot. I only did it once, when I was 18 and attending school outside my home State. I've never really thought about it since. I just assumed it was an option for everyone. It should be. 

In Texas, you have to be able to explain cause for not being in the county you are registered in during all of early voting and election day.  College, work (i.e. offshore, out of country) or military service and some disabilities are all acceptable answers.   Also anyone over 70 is automatically eligible for vote-by-mail.  BUT everyone has to reapply every year.   And you choose the elections you wish to receive from local, state and federal.  

The Texas Democratic Party sent out vote by mail applications  to eligible D voters for the primary and will do so again for the general.  

https://www.votetexas.gov/

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And this thread is right.  We need better systems for voting.  But then the more votes cast, the more likely for Democratic victories.  So let's stick with our old clunky system, easier to suppress votes, see Harris County in the primary.   

BTW, the TDP is pushing for those who can to vote by mail, or at least early vote, to help keep the poll lines shorter.  Please ask those who you know who are eligible to use this convenience.  

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22 minutes ago, pyrohornIII said:

In Texas, you have to be able to explain cause for not being in the county you are registered in during all of early voting and election day.  College, work (i.e. offshore, out of country) or military service and some disabilities are all acceptable answers.   Also anyone over 70 is automatically eligible for vote-by-mail.  BUT everyone has to reapply every year.   And you choose the elections you wish to receive from local, state and federal.  

The Texas Democratic Party sent out vote by mail applications  to eligible D voters for the primary and will do so again for the general.  

https://www.votetexas.gov/

Ah, I didn't know that. That sucks. I had to double check but yeah, anyone in Ohio can vote by absentee ballot. I just assumed that was universal. From the Ohio SoS website:

"All Ohio voters whose registration information is up-to-date have the opportunity to vote in any election from the convenience of their own homes by requesting an absentee ballot."

(...) 

"Voters need only fill out and return an application and their absentee ballot will be mailed to them so they may make their selections at their leisure and return their ballot to the board of elections ahead of Election Day."

Seems like common sense to me. 

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2 hours ago, pyrohornIII said:

In Texas, you have to be able to explain cause for not being in the county you are registered in during all of early voting and election day.  College, work (i.e. offshore, out of country) or military service and some disabilities are all acceptable answers.   Also anyone over 70 is automatically eligible for vote-by-mail.  BUT everyone has to reapply every year.   And you choose the elections you wish to receive from local, state and federal.  

The Texas Democratic Party sent out vote by mail applications  to eligible D voters for the primary and will do so again for the general.  

https://www.votetexas.gov/

Anyone over 70 is automatically allowed to vote by mail in Texas?
 

thats bullshit. Those people vote overwhelmingly GOP.

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3 hours ago, Voldemort86 said:

Anyone over 70 is automatically allowed to vote by mail in Texas?
 

thats bullshit. Those people vote overwhelmingly GOP.

What an amazing coincidence. 

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2 hours ago, WhatTheBuck said:

What an amazing coincidence. 

I know right?
 

democrats need some semblance of power in this state so badly. I hope we can get the state house this year, but repubs are still favored as of now.

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In my extremely red county, 200 of 4000 Red votes were cast by mail.  That's 5%.   50 of 500 were cast by Dems, or 10%.    I would imagine most were over 70 in both cases.

The Republicans often love to be seen voting in that age bracket.  Most are retired and don't have a lot else to do.  60% wait until election day for both parties.   That's primary, so the general will be somewhat different.     

Still, at least in my little case study, the VBM ballots are used more by Blue than Red.  Not sure if the TDP is pushing this more than the Republicans or not, but percentage-wise they are more successful.  

You are right, making it available only to the elderly is bogus.   I'm not defending that.  Just stating the state laws and some results. 

And you are also right, we need to take the state house back, and it is doable, but will take some work and contribution of time and money.  

The coronavirus has everything in the air right now.  Face to face canvassing is most successful, but clearly off the table for now.  Same for local events and gatherings.  Not only that, but just general meetings for planning and training are in a holding pattern.  Fortunately there are a lot of trainings available online already.

By law each county has to have their democratic convention this coming Saturday.  Already we are getting instructions on how to abbreviate the meetings or include some conference calling or other type of telecommunication.   Hard to do in rural counties without much broadband or cell coverage.  Likewise there are proposals in the works as to effectively holding the state convention online.   It's a crazy time.    But I have to say the TDP is working harder now to catch up move forward in better reaching out to voters.  As far as policy goes, this I can't address as easily.  

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1 hour ago, pyrohornIII said:

In my extremely red county, 200 of 4000 Red votes were cast by mail.  That's 5%.   50 of 500 were cast by Dems, or 10%.    I would imagine most were over 70 in both cases.

The Republicans often love to be seen voting in that age bracket.  Most are retired and don't have a lot else to do.  60% wait until election day for both parties.   That's primary, so the general will be somewhat different.     

Still, at least in my little case study, the VBM ballots are used more by Blue than Red.  Not sure if the TDP is pushing this more than the Republicans or not, but percentage-wise they are more successful.  

You are right, making it available only to the elderly is bogus.   I'm not defending that.  Just stating the state laws and some results. 

And you are also right, we need to take the state house back, and it is doable, but will take some work and contribution of time and money.  

The coronavirus has everything in the air right now.  Face to face canvassing is most successful, but clearly off the table for now.  Same for local events and gatherings.  Not only that, but just general meetings for planning and training are in a holding pattern.  Fortunately there are a lot of trainings available online already.

By law each county has to have their democratic convention this coming Saturday.  Already we are getting instructions on how to abbreviate the meetings or include some conference calling or other type of telecommunication.   Hard to do in rural counties without much broadband or cell coverage.  Likewise there are proposals in the works as to effectively holding the state convention online.   It's a crazy time.    But I have to say the TDP is working harder now to catch up move forward in better reaching out to voters.  As far as policy goes, this I can't address as easily.  

After seeing Democratic primary turnout up across the board before coronavirus.......

 

im not worried. I think democratic enthusiasm is in a good place right now.  We just need this corona virus thing to go away by June at the latest. I don’t want to hear republicans start talking about postponing the election. 

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If we are still in some form of quarantine, we should start early voting after the party conventions have concluded and continue it through the Friday before the election.

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40 minutes ago, Voldemort86 said:

After seeing Democratic primary turnout up across the board before coronavirus.......

 

im not worried. I think democratic enthusiasm is in a good place right now.  We just need this corona virus thing to go away by June at the latest. I don’t want to hear republicans start talking about postponing the election. 

it’s not about whether it goes away, it’s if it comes back in the fall. 

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Let me make sure I have this straight.  We are going to trust the same government that is massively behind the curve in making Coronavirus testing kits available with the responsibility of making sure there are an adequate number of absentee ballots available for the election.  Sure, why not?  I've yet to see any evidence that this could turn out to be a complete clusterfuck and way beyond their capabilities right now.

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A federal law requiring "no cause" absentee voting, is not the same as having the federal government take over elections.  Though had the GOP had any concerns about Russia interfering a lot of infrastructure could have been in place to assure accurate vote counting, and a paper trail in all states.

ONLY the GOP does not want an accurate paper trail, and as many people voting as possible.  The GOP instead prefers to try and limit voter access because it is the only way their minority views have a chance.  BECAUSE of this predisposition to NOT want all people to vote it is unlikely that such a bill could pass the Senate.  Because fair, free and equitable voting has been something the GOP has been rabidly against since the Equal Rights Amendment was signed into law. 

Because of the reality of the position of the GOP, I doubt such a reasonable idea as trying to allow people to vote and prevent the spread of Coronavirus is probably a non-starter. But it's always nice to dream that the GOP might put country before party at some point.  I seriously doubt you would see much if any opposition fro Democrats on making it easier to vote, but if you watch Fox news you can repeat something they said as your own thoughts in rebuttal.

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Coronavirus exposes absurdity of vote by mail restrictions in US

Quote

In the face of Covid-19, election officials around the country are urging Americans to cast votes by mail to avoid crowded polling places during the rest of the primary season.

Voters have responded willingly: Wisconsin election clerks are reporting a surge of requests for mail-in ballots ahead of the state’s primary next month. More than 111,000 people have already cast mail-in ballots in Illinois, which has resisted calls so far to delay its primary amid the coronavirus outbreak. The mail-in ballot request deadline in the state, which could more than double the number of mail-in ballots from its 2016 primary, passed last week.

Advocates have called for federal legislation to mail ballots to every eligible voter in the country. This pragmatic solution for allowing people to vote while protecting their health, however, has revealed deep cracks and inconsistencies in America’s election system as several states grapple with the restrictions that would need to be overhauled, at least temporarily, to allow many voters to participate.

 deep concern that unless elected officials act immediately to clarify the rules around absentee balloting, Americans could be left with a dangerous choice in November. “Nobody should have to risk their life to exercise democracy,” said the New York state senator Alessandra Biaggi, who recently introduced legislation that would allow voters to request an absentee ballot amid a public health risk.

Every state in the US allows at least some voters to vote by mail, but restrictions vary widely from state to state. Some states, like Washington and Oregon, conduct their elections entirely by mail. Other states allow voters to request an absentee ballot, but set varying deadlines for when the application and ballot must be received. Several states, including those with upcoming primaries, also have longstanding restrictions on who can use a mail-in ballot, risking millions of votes in the upcoming election.

New York, set to hold its primary in April, is among 17 states that require voters to give a specific excuse if they want to vote by mail. New York only lets voters cast an absentee ballot if they swear they cannot appear at the polls, and the state only has six acceptable reasons for requesting an absentee ballot.

John Conklin, a spokesman for the New York board of elections, conceded that “fear of pandemic” was not on the approved list of excuses for mailing in a ballot. But he said there was some “wiggle room”. “Illness is not defined anywhere and a voter could use that to justify a lot of things,” he said, adding that the requests were mostly based on the “honor system”.

Several other states are in a similar position to New York. Catherine Sheehan, a spokeswoman for the Delaware department of elections, said the state accepts absentee ballots from voters who list one of six pre-approved excuses that do not include a public health crisis. Jennifer Gardner, a spokeswoman for the West Virginia secretary of state, said her office was researching whether the state’s absentee restrictions could be loosened.

With primaries fast approaching, voting advocates are pushing governors to issue emergency executive orders clarifying that anyone can cast a mail-in ballot ahead of November when the political environment will be more heated.

Some state governments have made progress. Denise Merrill, Connecticut’s top election official, asked the state’s governor on Friday to issue an emergency executive order that would allow anyone concerned about coronavirus to request an absentee ballot. Alabama loosened restrictions on Friday on absentee voting ahead of a runoff election in the state.

In Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine moved on Monday to postpone in-person voting for Tuesday’s scheduled primary until 2 June, with mail-in voting extended until then. But civil rights groups said in a Sunday letter the state should make it so any person a voter chooses can return a requested mail-in ballot in person as well.

Even if states ease their restrictions, however, voters may be deterred from voting by mail, said Amber McReynolds, the CEO of the National Vote at Home Institute, a group that advocates for voting by mail. “There’s such low usage in those states that have had that barrier of there being an excuse for such a long time, I think most of those voters, just from a behavioral and analytical perspective, don’t have any idea that’s an option,” she said.

McReynolds said the flurry of emergency changes should prompt states to urgently revisit their absentee ballot regulations.

“If your policy isn’t gonna work for a public health crisis, or for people who are ill from the public health crisis, then maybe your policy doesn’t work generally,” she said.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/mar/17/coronavirus-vote-by-mail-restrictions-us

 

While each state could retain its autonomy on how to achieve the federal goals, the feds could issue some basic rules to run elections by, including vote by mail.  

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Friday, the Texas Democratic Party filed a suit against the State to force them to provide vote by mail for anyone who feels threatened by coronavirus.  

https://www.texastribune.org/2020/03/20/citing-coronavirus-threat-texas-democrats-sue-expand-mail-voting/

Quote

Citing coronavirus threat, Texas Democrats sue to expand mail-in voting

The Democratic Party wants a judge to declare the novel coronavirus a circumstance that allows anyone to request a mail-in ballot. The GOP has opposed expanding the state's limited absentee voting rules.

BY ALEXA URA MARCH 20, 20205 PM

Super Tuesday voting lines at the Metropolitan Multi Service Center near downtown Houston on Tuesday, March 3, 2020.

The lawsuit comes after days of uncertainty over the fate of the May runoff elections. Photo credit: Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

Coronavirus in Texas

The latest updates on coronavirus in Texas: At least five Texans' deaths have been linked to COVID-19 as the state experiences a public health disasterCommunity spread has been discovered, more than 300 cases have been disclosed and the number of positive tests is expected to increase exponentially. A patchwork of school cancellations, calls for social distancing and business closures are disrupting the economy and Texans' daily lives. If you're looking for information on coronavirus testing, here's what you need to know

 

 

 MORE IN THIS SERIES 

Following fruitless negotiations over how to proceed with the upcoming primary runoff elections, Texas Democrats are looking to the courts to push for an expansion of voting by mail in the state.

In a lawsuit filed in Travis County district court late Friday, the Democrats are asking a judge to declare that a portion of the Texas election code allowing voters to cast a mail-in ballot if they suffer from a disability applies to any voter in Texas "if they believe they should practice social distancing in order to hinder" the spread of the new coronavirus.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Texas Democratic Party and two individual voters who would seek to vote by mail given the state of the coronavirus outbreak.

"Whatever happens from this moment forward with respect to the pandemic, numerous voters, including the two individual Plaintiffs herein, seek to avail themselves of the option of mail-in ballots," the lawsuit reads. "Similarly, the Texas Democratic Party needs to know how state law permits local election officials to handle such ballots cast in the Texas Democratic Party Runoff Primary Election so the [party] can determine how it desires to proceed in selecting nominees who were facing a runoff."

 

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2 hours ago, pyrohornIII said:

Friday, the Texas Democratic Party filed a suit against the State to force them to provide vote by mail for anyone who feels threatened by coronavirus.  

https://www.texastribune.org/2020/03/20/citing-coronavirus-threat-texas-democrats-sue-expand-mail-voting/

 

It’s bullshit......... and the Texas GOP knows it.

 

the whole system is designed to keep repubs in power as long as possible. Axing straight ticket voting doesn’t matter for all those dipshits in the rural counties who vote gop at 90%+ a pop. We saw how bad the lines in the black part of Houston got.

 I can’t believe people in this state let the GOP get away with all the things that they do.

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Yep.  I don't think they will have a leg to stand on to continue the status quo.  There is no reason, we already have VBM in place.  It just needs to be expanded.  Once it happens once, then from there it will be natural to accept it as standard SOP.  Especially since they refuse to move elections to saturdays or declare them holidays.  

 

What you will see soon will be a lot of articles from both sides talking to the security of such a method, both from the voter side and the vote counter side.  Going to change some things in our election officials offices.  

 

 

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Neil Diamond still sings Sweet Caroline, in the lockdown, what a cool guy...

What would be the best method of using a home ballot system, as there are many who still lack reliable internet service..?
A mail ballot option gives too much chance to hoodlums (or maybe government backers) tossing ballots in trash as well...

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