Election Day 2020. Mood: intermittent rage

The parking lot at the church where we vote. The streets were also (illegally) parked full on both sides. This is a Sunday type crowd. I’ve never seen it this crowded on Election Day.

Continued from here. After that post, another huge snafu hit our county elections office: it turned out that half of the first 25,000 absentee ballots printed had an error in the tabulation marks that was going to make them illegible to the ballot machines, and of those, half had already been sent out. (Fun fact: the official who oversees this process runs as a Republican. A few years ago this wouldn’t have bothered me, but a pattern is definitely emerging). At a minimum about 6,500 absentee ballots would not be readable. On top of that, state elections statute requires all absentee ballots to be counted in the same way, so the cure for those ballots (“duplication,” or an election worker manually transfers your vote from the faulty ballot to the new one) would have to be applied to all ballots, i.e., all absentee ballots were going to have to be duplicated, even those with no printed error. More than sixty percent of registered voters in the county asked for and received an absentee ballot. The county tried to get a court to let them apply a different solution not allowed for in the law (making a tiny mark on the ballot with a black marker so that the original ballots would be legible), but of course the state supreme court has been gerrymandered to hell and they refused. As we all know, Democratic voters were more likely to vote absentee than Republicans. Anyway, on top of the possibility that the state Republican Party (GOP) could challenge the absentee and early votes — something already underway in at least two states that I’m aware of — that was kind of the last straw for me. I surrendered my unopened absentee ballot a week ago and notified the town clerk I would vote in person on Election Day.

 

Line stretches outside the polling place. Something else I’ve never seen in Wisconsin (this would be pretty normal in Texas and Florida).

I’ve blogged about the polling place before, so I won’t get into that aspect of it. Except to say that the church has been renovated (I’d planned a post about that earlier this year, and then 2020 happened) and I don’t especially like the result. But times change and the world moves on from the places we knew. The mood was really tense in that line — you could sense it. I suspect that (see demographic observation above) most of the people were there to cast an in-person vote for the incumbent president, and I heard a few comments about relatives and friends who’d “switched sides” and who’d be sorry later. I was tense, too, because only about every other person had a mask on. I hate to draw a correlation between GOP voters and people who don’t understand the necessity of public health measures, but if you believe the demographics of how this was supposed to go in Wisconsin, the connection is unavoidable.

This sign right outside the door was all the further Thorin went in the open. Someone came and told me off for photographing a polling place. I noted that there is no state statute against photographing outside polling places. That person told me i was undermining the democratic process or some shit. Thorin got so mad I had to put him in my pocket. Brandishing a sword at the polls is definitely voter intimidation.

So I got inside, got in the line for my ward and my last name, and waited. Usually I see a lot of people I know from the church (they tend to volunteer to run the election), but none of them were there. I used to be able to get my ballot from the ladies who taught me in Sunday School, but they are all my mother’s age and I am sure they chose to stay home. The election worker at the entrance gave me a pen and said, “It’s yours to keep.” The lady behind me would not stay six feet away despite repeated polite requests, until I said, “If you don’t stay six feet away I’m going to make a fuss.” (That’s Wisconsin-ese for “throw a temper tantrum.”) She called me a bitch — talk about projection — and I spat out, “Whatever, this bitch wants you to stay fucking six feet away.” Then she tried to jump the line ahead of me and the election people caught her and pulled her back.

I got my ballot and went to the voting cubicles. Usually we have a bank of electronic voting machines but there were only two this time — I think they were there for disabled people? — in any case I know that in some places they are disinfecting the machines after every usage and I could see why that would really slow things down. I voted for Biden / Harris, and for the Democrats in our congressional and state assembly races. Then I voted “yes” on the town referendum question. All of the other races had GOP candidates running unopposed. About two years ago I started undervoting in all unopposed races, no matter the party of the candidate, but I’m so angry right now that for the first time in my life, I voted “write” in for various Disney characters and an entity of my own invention, “Decaying Wombat.” I inserted the ballot in the machine and got the “you have voted in the November 2020 election” screen. I put my pen in my pocket next to Thorin and grabbed an “I voted” sticker.

I let Thorin have it. He was annoyed that I put it on his sword but he didn’t want it on his nose, either. Picky!

What remains: I’m angry that I have to put my health and my father’s at risk because for some reason, elected officials in this country can’t make voting fair and safe. One party has been working a lot harder on undermining our access to voting than the others for the last decade, but this is the height of insanity. I should have been able to vote absentee without worrying that the GOP was going to try to invalidate my ballot just because I didn’t want to put us at risk. Anyone who observed the last seven months of voting in this country would be justified in comparing us to a third-world nation.

I’m angry that basic rights such as reproductive freedom and health care hang on by threads and that the election of one village idiot to the presidency or the death of one learned women will mean that the gains of fifty years in this regard will be gone. I am angry that the hard-won rights of gay and non-binary people are now at severe risk. I am angry that the GOP didn’t stand up at the beginning for the things they are always telling us they care about, which should have precluded the election of this doofus in 2016. I am angry that the idiot bungled the pandemic response so badly that dad and I are basically trapped in the house at this point, and that what may be the last years of life have left him isolated for much of the time, his communication skills deteriorating as he refuses to put on his hearing aids, and talks only to me and the personal care people. I am angry that he can’t see his grandchildren. I am angry that all the work I did to get him out and communicating after his stroke has been rendered meaningless.

I am angry that our president sold us out to the Russians. I am angry that he has trashed NATO. I am angry that he panders to dictators and authoritarians and strong men of all kinds. I am angry that he steals money from the US Treasury. I am angry about how he has treated immigrants. I am angry at his cynical cabinet appointments and all of the graft he pulled into government with them, and with his family. I am angry about all the family dairy farms that were destroyed by his China policy. I am angry at the way he cheers on corrupt police forces and eggs on the forces of violence that want to tear our country apart.

Because, yeah. I am casualty of all of this too, because: I am angry at every person who stands behind him, cheering.

~ by Servetus on November 3, 2020.

25 Responses to “Election Day 2020. Mood: intermittent rage”

  1. My dear. I spend far too much time on social
    Media and every time I see something new and crazy that’s going on in America I am stunned and curse those idiots. I sometimes forget there are those people in America who look around in shock and horror at a place they no longer recognize as their homeland. I have no idea how painful it must be. I can’t imagine. I am not religious so I don’t pray. But you are in my thoughts. However this election goes, stay safe, stay healthy and stay strong. This can’t go on forever

    Liked by 2 people

    • The events of 2020 have actually made quantum time theory much more plausible to me. But it’s sort of stunning — I succeed to some extent in walling myself off from opinions I find not simply problematic but truly objectionable in democratic society, and then I learn who actually holds them. Thanks for your positive thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope you haven’t caught Covid will voting!!!! And I so hope Biden/Harris will win in a blue landslide – fingers crossed.

    I thought of you yesterday while watching a documentary from an german reporter (Ingo Zamperoni) who is married to an American who grew up in Wisconsin and now has a divided family because her father is a Trump supporter.
    Zamperoni interviewed family and friends from both sides and it was very enlightening, even if I knew a lot of things already through some of your posts or comments.

    Like

  3. I am just appalled that that is the way “democratic” elections are being held in the US, and I am also very sorry that you have to go through all of this. You and all other American friends. I have no words, and I am at the point where I am imploring the universe to intervene – on all of our behalf.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess in some areas there were armed police outside the polling stations. If that doesn’t scream “third world.” ??

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  4. Oh dear! I feel with you, stay strong and hopeful. You are so right to be angry. With the news and comments about this election I have got also the impression this is a behaviour of a third world nation.
    But please let Thorin help fighting for you, it is better for his mood either. I think he is proud that he could come with you.
    Good luck and stay healthy

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    • It’s true that Thorin is also trapped in the house with us. Can dwarrow get cabin fever? Thanks for your good wishes.

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  5. I’m so sorry that’s it’s all so fucked up. Canadians are watching you all and holding our breath. I’m praying for you. Can’t imagine that level of frustration, I’m sure it’s beyond exhausting.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah … I’m still trying to get a handle on my actual mood. Happy about the outcome of course but the amount of angst expands to fill the available space. We’re at an all time covid-19 peak (or rather, nadir) and I honestly wonder when it will be safe to go out again.

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  6. Haven’t slept all night. It’s all so awful. Thinking of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It sounds so awful, I have no words.
    Here, in France, we just hope this Trump-madness will stop but…
    Stay strong.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for voting! As I type this, Biden is leading by a small margin in Wisconsin with 97% of the votes counted so I am crossing everything I can for you! It’s so enfuriating how difficult is has been made to vote but I am so fervently hoping that despite all the obstacles, Biden and Harris will win. Fingers crossed.Good to see that you had Thorin in your corner.
    Did your father come with you to vote in person?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dad voted absentee, with me carrying his ballot into the Town offices. The fact that our town is so small meant that the town clerk was able to glance at the envelope and immediately reassure me that the ballot was correctly filled out and they would accept the ballot for counting. He didn’t want to go, and I didn’t want him to go.

      Thanks for cheering us on. I don’t think the difference is small enough for there to be an automatic recount (I think the difference would have to be 0.25% of votes cast, and that’s 8,000 votes). The Trump campaign can pay for a recount (price tag: $3M, and they are already fundraising for it), but they can’t even ask for one until Dec 1 when election totals are certified. The point may be moot by then. It’s possible that the state legislature could make some kind of investigation into the election but it’s a bit hard to see how they could do it quickly. What I foresee in future is a crackdown on the absentee voting rules, as we are currently governed by a heavily gerrymandered legislature. What we need is permission for the precincts to count absentee ballots before the day of the election, but that will again be prevented by the legislature.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. ❤ ❤ ❤

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  10. Holding my breath too. This wait is excruciating. Your anger is justified. We must keep angry and not slip into complacency and acceptance.

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  11. Never thought i’d say that but intermittently watching the elections to distract myself from other worries.. but meant to say well done Wisconsin and saw a brief docu on BBC as they have reporters all over the place, how beautiful it is! Especially with the fall colours , utterly stunning!

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    • Thanks. It IS really gorgeous here every season of the year except Spring. And well, even then it’s preparing to be gorgeous. I’m catching up from my acedia of the last week, but I am glad to see your dad is doing slightly better.

      Like

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