Vote twice in June 2020: early, often

long waits at polling places are disruptive and disenfranchising

I got to vote twice in the month of June. Legally. Really! The first time was for the school budget (it passed – yay!), the school board, and the library trustees. That vote was scheduled for the middle of May but postponed because of the coronavirus.

Everyone was supposed to get a ballot by mail by the end of May. The documents were due at the local board of education office by June 9. But because some of the local districts were having trouble printing them out, the deadline was extended to June 16. And the really great thing is that there were 10,700 votes cast in Albany, thrice what the average turnout had been in the past five years.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Presidential primary in New York State was scheduled for the end of April but postponed over COVID-19. Then it was canceled because all of the candidates except Joe Biden had dropped out. However, the Presidential primary, now on June 23 – simultaneous with other ballot initiatives – “should still be held, with all qualifying candidates restored to the ballot, a federal judge ruled.”

I HATED the thought that I was going to be disenfranchised. And, not incidentally, we’ve seen a LOT of difficulties with the franchise in places such as Wisconsin and Georgia. The Brennan Center notes that “long waits at polling places are disruptive, disenfranchising, and all too common. Black and Latino voters are especially likely to endure them.”

With less than five months until Election Day, Is the U.S. ready? Kim Wehle, the author of What You Need to Know About Voting, says no. We should have more options for paper ballots. There are often fewer polling places, because of COVID-19, but also the powers that be are targeting minority communities with polling closures.

Here’s to you, EW

I HAVE to vote. People, especially black people, suffered and DIED for the opportunity to cast their ballot. I decided to vote, by mail, for Elizabeth Warren because that’s who I wanted to win. One could make the strategic case for Bernie, who I voted for four years ago.

But I had never voted for a woman for President in the primary. In 1972, Shirley Chisholm failed to get on the ballot in my Congressional district. Since then, I’ve voted for a bunch of guys who never got the nomination such as Fred Harris and Dennis Kucinich.

In the primary, I vote with my heart. In the general election, I vote with my head.

BTW, I don’t think Warren will be the Vice-Presidential nominee. She turned 71 yesterday. If she weren’t running with a guy who will be turning 78 seventeen days after the general election, I think she’d have a better chance. Also, they are both from the Northeast.

I like Stacie Abrams of Georgia. The reason she’s not currently in elected office is that the former secretary of state, Brian Kemp, now the governor, rigged the system. Someone (a black male) also made me wonder if sizism could play a role in whether to choose her.

Of the folks listed here, I’m guessing Kamala Harris or Val Demings or Tammy Duckworth or maybe Susan Rice. Meanwhile, read How To Read Polls In 2020.

Second Tuesday in September: New York primary day (NOT)

There are several statewide races this year, including Governor/Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller and Attorney General.

The second Tuesday in September has been primary day in New York State for non-federal offices. It’s not today because it’s September 11, 9/11. It’ll be held Thursday, September 13 instead.

September 11, 2001 was a Tuesday so it was primary day. Unsurprising, the voting, which had already begun at 6 a.m. in New York City and a few other counties, was postponed to September 25, notably with seven new polling places.

I understand it, I really do. September 11 is for not forgetting. But what better way to to remember than to stick up a proverbial middle finger at terrorism by casting the ballot that the planes hitting the World Trade Center interrupted? This is, BTW, the third time the vote has been on the 13th, also in 2007 and in 2012.

Truth be told, I think a September primary is too late. In races with an unchallenged incumbent, a late primary is a disadvantage to anyone running in a primary, who will have only eight weeks to consolidate the fractured segments of the party and run against a usually entrenched and better financed opponent.

The federal primary in New York State is at the end of June, so those running for Congress, House and Senate, compete then. I think ALL the primaries should be held at that time. It would also create a savings for the local Boards of Election, who wouldn’t need to find people to staff the voting booths in both June AND September.

Finally, here’s my my annual complaint. People in New York City, Long Island, some NYC suburbs, and Erie County (Buffalo) can vote from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. But those in the rest of the state, it’s only noon until 9 p.m., quite possibly the shortest primary slot in the country.

There are several statewide races this year, including Governor/Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller and Attorney General. Why should the folks downstate have six more hours, 15 instead of nine, to vote? I’d favor some way to even things out, such as 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. everywhere in New York State.