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More on mail ballots

Here’s a second story from the Trib on the attempted destruction of the Postal Service in the name of vote suppression by Donald Trump.

“I think the goal of Donald Trump’s comments are to destabilize faith in voting systems and we’ll be telling them the truth that voting by mail is safe and secure,” said state Rep. Erin Zwiener, D-Driftwood. “We’ll counteract fear with facts.”

Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins said eligible voters in the state’s most populous county who are worried about delays in the mail will be able to drop off their mail-in ballots at any of the county’s 11 offices “beginning whenever they receive their ballots and continuing through Election Day, November 3, at 7:00 PM.”

“Preserving every eligible citizen’s right to vote is a pillar of our democracy,” he said in a statement. “My office is doing everything in our power to withstand the challenges of the ongoing global pandemic and uphold this essential right for eligible voters. But it is shameful that partisan politics has led to the destruction of the United States Postal Office – an institution we need dearly right now.”

Hollins stressed that “despite this latest form of voter suppression, voting by mail remains the safest method for Texans to vote this November.”

Abhi Rahman, a spokesman for the Texas Democratic Party, said it is working to send out 1.7 million vote-by-mail applications to eligible Texans — the largest number in the party’s history. The party has already sent out 900,000 and is sending out the other 815,000 this week, he said.

“We believe strongly that Texans should be able to vote safely and securely during the time of the pandemic,” Rahman said. “Vote by mail is good for democracy, good for our state and good for our country.”

Regarding the president’s recent comments, Rahman said the party will continue to utilize its voter protection team, in addition to a website designed to help register all voters in the state.

“I think that Texans will crawl over broken glass to vote Donald Trump out of office and be vigilant to make sure their vote is counted,” he said.

[…]

The changes at the Postal Service have raised concerns that the process will be slowed down. In the name of cutting costs, the agency has reportedly reduced overtime for workers, banned extra trips used to make sure mail is delivered on-time and is decommissioning 10% of its mail sorting machines. According to The Washington Post, sorting capacity in Houston alone has dropped by 470,000 pieces of mail per hour. Those changes will have an effect on businesses that depend on the mail and people who use it to receive their paychecks or prescriptions, among many other things. But they also have the potential to make it harder for people to get their ballots in before the deadline.

Voter mobilization groups say they will encourage voters to send their ballots in as early as possible to avoid any risk of the delays affecting their vote.

“Our goal as a state should be to have the greatest possible number of Texans vote and for them all to be equally heard at the ballot box,” Drew Galloway, the executive director of MOVE Texas, which works to engage young voters, said in a statement to The Texas Tribune. “This means expanding on popular and secure reforms like mail-in ballots.”

Galloway also said the group’s organizers “received countless calls” before the primary runoff elections in July with questions about late absentee ballots — many of which, he said, were not received or arrived too late.

“This is unacceptable,” he said.

Republicans in Texas have largely remained quiet on the issue.

See here for the background. Of course Republican leaders have been silent on this, they are all far too cowardly to ever say a word in opposition to their Dear Leader. Democrats have been much more vocal, and while this story has totally blown up and caused some of the worst excesses to halt, there really needs to be a bigger, broader, and louder response from Democrats, especially Congressional Democrats. I mean, they do have some power here, and they need to exercise it.

Now is a good time to call your member of Congress, especially your Democratic member of Congress, and ask them to demand hearings ASAP, with subpoenas and the threat of being hauled in front of Congress by Capitol police if those subpoenas are not obeyed. No more playing nice here, this is as serious as it gets.

At the CEC meeting yesterday, County Clerk Chris Hollins spoke after the other business was done, and he talked about what his office is doing to ensure people can vote despite all of this garbage. I’ve already noted that people can drop off completed mail ballots at any of the 11 County Clerk offices. Hollins reported there will be 120 (!) early voting locations, which should make the in-person experience as safe as possible. (Yes, they need election workers. The gig pays $17 an hour. Go apply if you can.) There were other questions asked of Hollins, including one I posted about early voting locations as mail ballot dropoffs. He didn’t get to the questions, but promised there would be an easily visible FAQ section on the Harris Votes webpage shortly, which would include responses to the questions we asked, so check there in a few days. Trump’s destruction is obscene and anti-American, but it’s also an obstacle that can be overcome. We’re going to be able to handle it here in Harris County, and other urban counties appear to be in decent shape as well. If you’re not sure about your county, pester your officials as needed to get them on the ball. Like I said, this is as serious as it gets.

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59 Comments

  1. voter_worker says:

    FWIW I send stuff via USPS all the time including stuff I don’t want to go missing. So far they have a 100 percent lifetime track record with my stuff. As for their personnel, I used the Barbara Jordan unit for years for personal mail and bulk mail for a non-profit I volunteered with. The people there could be a little salty sometimes but a smile and “good morning” always got one back. If I dropped a first class item addressed to a 770 zip code in the inside collection bin before midnight, almost every time it would be delivered the next day. Good times!

  2. Flypusher says:

    I see, with hard evidence lacking, that we’ve moved into the speculative fiction portion of the discussion.

  3. Mainstream says:

    voter_worker: FWIW my experience with the postal service has been quite different, including an important check which never arrived and was shown on tracking as lost between two post offices, urgent medicines for another person which was misdirected to my mail box, lots of mail intended for others. And I have not found employees at most locations to be in a hurry to do anything, except at the Greenbriar Station where staff is top notch.

    I consistently receive Republican candidate mailers after the elections in which they are running, which seems suspicious to me.

  4. voter_worker says:

    Mainstream, everyone is piling in on them so I thought as long as we’re being anecdotal I’d put in my two cents which happens to be on the positive side. FedX, on the other hand, managed to destroy a $400 item I shipped with them and then lied to the recipient about why it wasn’t delivered to their address, forcing them to drive to their local facility where the FedX staff had to admit they didn’t have the item because it had been destroyed in shipment. So, everyone has a story, right?

  5. Flypusher says:

    I can tell one bad USPS story too, about the one on Almeda. They completely lost a package I sent to my brother (in CA at the time). Fortunately I had insured it. But if I look at the aggregate, far more success than failure.

    Are changes needed at the Post Office? Hell yes!! Put it on the list of things to do in January.

  6. Bill Daniels says:

    Here’s a postal worker taking time out of his busy day to steal Trump signs and stuff them in his mail truck, while on duty. But hey, I’m sure folks like this would never tamper with ballots, amirite, y’all?

    https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/crime/2016/11/05/postal-worker-caught-allegedly-stealing-trump-sign/93349650/

  7. voter_worker says:

    That’s all Mr. Berry could dig up? From 2016? With millions of ballots cast by mail every year, that’s it? I’m not gonna sweat the infinitesimally small chance that it could happen again and it would be my ballot.

  8. voter_worker says:

    Dang Bill you had me convinced the cad stole ballots, then I re-read it and it was a Trump yard sign. My bad. So, even more tenuous than I first thought.

  9. Manny says:

    In a small town, and the alleged post man was never identified? Sounds like another paid for Trump/Republican boogeyman creation.