Less than one hundred days until we vote. Here are my voting options in the state of Missouri:
Hold my breath and stand in a big cloud of Covid. People in my area don’t mask up. I am certain if a mask was required in order to enter the polling place it would be stripped off once inside, and if required inside, our residents would complain that masking was a new Jim Crow law designed to stigmatize loyal supporters of the President. Masks or not, they could argue that social distancing will create lines long enough to discourage in-person voting, where most of the covid-denying president’s supporters will be. It’s the reasoning I would use if our loyalties were reversed.
Vote with an absentee ballot. Absentee ballots require a reason. I was surprised to see that Vulnerability to Covid (over 65, immunocompromised) is a valid excuse this year. But of course, how do I prove I’m immunocompromised? If they just take it on faith, it could later be called into question. And of course, it doesn’t feel good that absentee ballots will probably be counted only after the race is called. It would be as if I lived in California or Hawaii - sure, my vote counts, but not for the purposes of the media and the “calling” of the election.
Vote by mail. This intrigues me. The governor signed a law for this year that if you order a ballot and get it notarized, you can mail it in. I’m pretty certain that will be contested too. And - doesn’t that negate the whole idea of a secret ballot? If it’s like other things I’ve had notarized, they have to witness you filling it in. I have no voting secrets, but it’s another irregularity that could end up putting the result in the courts.
I’m worried that if the vote is contested, that will delay the results, perhaps past the day they certify the electors, thus keeping Trump in office. So it’s possible that the Safe Harbor rule they argued in Bush v Gore 2000 would keep him in office if he tries to drag it out, right? And he loves dragging things through the courts.
I just heard former Republican chair Michael Steele say that absentee voting and voting by mail are the same thing. The difference is that in my state (one of 16), you can vote absentee in person early, and absentee requires an excuse and generally mail-in requires a notary, though for the August 4th election I read that if you have an excuse you don’t need a notary. I think we’re just going to bundle up and vote in person. God, this is going to be awful.