The Rationalist Papers (27): Who wants to prevent you from voting?

Only one party in the 2020 Presidential election is attempting to make it hard for people to vote, or to have their vote counted. It’s the Republicans.

Just a reminder: these Rationalist Papers posts are for the group I call the deciders: conservatives, moderates, undecided, and third-party voters considering their choices in the 2020 US Presidential election.

No one knows whose name is on the ballots that the Republicans are attempting to invalidate, or who’s the preferred candidate of the people who have to wait in long lines to vote. So why do only Republicans want to prevent voting?

Republicans are acting to invalidate ballots and make voting more difficult

Here’s a short and incomplete list of Republican and Trump campaign actions to invalidate mail ballots:

Voters also face long wait times to vote. Voters in Georgia waited up to five hours to vote earlier this year. As NPR wrote:

The clogged polling locations in metro Atlanta reflect an underlying pattern: the number of places to vote has shrunk statewide, with little recourse. Although the reduction in polling places has taken place across racial lines, it has primarily caused long lines in nonwhite neighborhoods where voter registration has surged and more residents cast ballots in person on Election Day. The pruning of polling places started long before the pandemic, which has discouraged people from voting in person.

In Georgia, considered a battleground state for control of the White House and U.S. Senate, the difficulty of voting in Black communities like Union City could possibly tip the results on Nov. 3. With massive turnout expected, lines could be even longer than they were for the primary, despite a rise in mail-in voting and Georgians already turning out by the hundreds of thousands to cast ballots early.

Nine Georgia counties near Atlanta include half the state’s active voters but only 38% of the polling places. In these areas, the number of voters per polling location has risen from 2,600 to 3,600. The Georgia state leadership and governor are Republicans.

Trump argues that there is widespread fraud. There isn’t.

Trump says the only way he can lose is if there is fraud. (This is an unsupported statement, as the polls indicate that he is likely to lose because people prefer Biden to him in swing states like Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.)

His statements at rallies about “widespread fraud” are exaggerated. He said Mitt Romney received zero votes in Philadelphia; he actually received more than 96,000. He said that Democratic governors in Nevada and Pennsylvania are in charge of counting ballots; in fact, it is county boards of elections who do the count. He claimed that thousands of mail-in ballots were fraudulent, but the example he cited, in a Pennsylvania county, involved nine ballots that were not sent in ballot envelopes. And he said that in Nevada, voters are not required to sign ballots; they are, and every signature is verified.

According to G. Terry Madonna, public affairs professors at Franklin & Marshall college, there are no serious studies that show widespread voter fraud of the type Trump is shouting about.

According to a study by the Brennan Center for Justice, the rate of voting fraud overall in the US is 0.0009%. That is 9 votes per million. In the 2016 election, 137 million people voted; at this rate, there were about 1,200 fraudulent votes among the hundred-million plus legitimate ones.

Trump says we need to know the results on election night. With so many millions of people voting by mail in the pandemic, this is impossible. It will take days, and possibly weeks, to know the winner. Stopping on election night means not counting those votes. Including yours, possibly.

Why don’t they want to count your vote?

The fascinating thing about all this activity is that only Republicans are attempting to block votes. Votes for whom? Doesn’t matter. The Republican position is that fewer votes is better for them.

They’d like to block your vote even if you voted for Trump, because your vote might come with a few Biden votes in the same batch.

There are no Democratic lawsuits or legal action to block or fail to count votes. None.

Only one party wants to make it difficult for you to vote, or to fail to count your vote. That’s certainly not pro-democracy.

So why not stick it to the people who don’t want you to vote?

2 responses to “The Rationalist Papers (27): Who wants to prevent you from voting?

  1. Both voter suppression and voting fraud are real, but have not been significant, in my lifetime. Both ought to be guarded against and investigated.

    Some want all to vote (or be able to vote (and you can add this phrase any time you see vote)).
    Some want all eligible to vote.
    Some want only those properly registered to vote.
    Some want only those who vote regularly to vote.
    Some think it is too hard to vote, to register, or to be eligible.
    Some think it is too easy to vote, to register, or to be eligible.
    Some see variants of the above as suppression and some see it as protection.

    Some see mailing ballots out to all as progress, others see the potential for fraud.
    Some see mailing ballots out to all requesters as progress, others see the potential for fraud.
    and so on.
    Some see straight-line voting, harvesting, ID rules, exclusion of felons, “independents” voting, roll purging, etc. as progress, others as suppression, others as fraud, etc.

    Americans move about every 7 years (12x a life) (US Census Bureau), so if you miss a Presidential vote, you likely have moved since.

    Guess the voter turnout in AOC’s primary victory? 12% of democrats in a largely democratic district.
    Why? The plot thickens. https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7774-a-closer-look-at-voter-turnout-in-2018-new-york-congressional-primaries

    So, it’s complicated. And it’s local as states and lower governments determine the voting process in most aspects.

    This election cycle we received hundreds of mailings from at least three sides and at least two states and many for our underage kid. I suspect that the mailings from Iowa and for the kid are based on at least a mistake, if not fraud. It is possible that the parties used a mailing list from a source not related to the election rolls for the kid’s (some of his classmates are old enough), but Iowa confuses me as I am not sure if the person in our household who got the propaganda has ever visited Iowa.

    Me: Everyone who is eligible ought to be able to register and vote in an easy manner of their choice without influence from the parties or anyone else and no one else ought to be able to vote.

    I also think folks who live or own property in several places ought to be able to vote on local matters in all places in which they “live” or “own.”

    Some interesting reading:
    https://www.npr.org/2020/06/12/873878423/voting-and-elections-divide-republicans-and-democrats-like-little-else-heres-why
    https://www.wbur.org/cognoscenti/2020/09/01/voting-rights-election-2020-imari-paris-jeffries-rahsaan-hall
    https://www.texastribune.org/2020/03/05/texas-democrats-sue-state-keep-straight-ticket-voting-2020/

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