For the first time since I became a registered voter in 1976, I will not be voting on Election Day. I requested and filled out a mail-in ballot, which is not the right thing to call it because I wound up putting it my town’s drop-box.
It doesn’t feel great. I like Election Day. I like talking to the poll-standers and taking in the scene. I have vast nostalgia for the old “mechanical lever” voting machines, a technology that was patented in the late 1800s and essentially did not change for more than 100 years.
The machine was a cocoon. You went inside it, voted and emerged, an electoral butterfly. I liked the satisfying series of clicks and clunks the machine made and the way pulling the big lever simultaneously cast your vote and opened the curtain to let you out.
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In 2002, at a West Hartford polling place I — and the worried poll workers — observed a man thrashing around inside the machine and muttering. Eventually he began to speak more loudly: “I can’t find the one I want to vote in. I want to vote in the DIRTY campaign. The one I keep seeing on TV.”
The more he spoke, the more it became clear he wanted to vote in the race between Jim Maloney and Nancy Johnson, which was taking place in a congressional district some distance from where he stood.
Indeed, that race was a bloody brawl, partly because the fifth and sixth districts had lately been collapsed into one, leaving the two incumbents to fight over a single seat, like dogs snarling over a lone portion of kibble
This year will be an Election Day like no other. As I write this, 40 million Americans have already voted. Consider that number in the context of 2016 when 138.8 million Americans voted. If you get in an office pool about this year’s total vote, go big. Go 150 million or higher.
Here in fair Connecticut, can we have a nice Election Day? Probably not, because tempers are running high and so are temperatures, as our COVID numbers climb.
Which brings up a sticky subject.
Certain people are going to show up at the polls with no face mask. In other circumstances, that would be a violation of Executive Order 7NNN, but in most states, including this one, the authorities have bent over backward to accommodate voting rights of all citizens, including dangerous idiots.
Accordingly, when a mask-less dangerous idiot shows up at the polls, said idiot will be (a) offered a mask (b) offered the chance to go back to his or her car to get a mask without losing his or her place in line (c) offered a chance to complete a ballot outdoors (d) offered a chance to complete a provisional ballot in his or her car ( e ) offered the chance to vote indoors, but in a special dangerous idiot area segregated from the normal, sane voters.
I’m not kidding. All five of those options will be offered. Do you see how nice they are to you, dangerous idiots? Stop complaining about the oppressive state. If I ran things, you would be offered a seat on a catapult that would launch you into the nearest cold body of water.
The state has also been way nicer than I would have been about pretending there is a wide range of reasons to grant people medical exemptions from mask mandates. Masks do not cause hypoxia or otherwise interfere with a person’s breathing. You know what does? COVID-19. People who seek mask exemptions because of respiratory issues are the people who should be first in line to get masks, which is how you know most of them are making it up.
Who is going to deal with all these social misfits and feverish nut cases? Volunteer poll workers. Close you eyes and picture “volunteer poll worker.” Did you picture some sweet-faced, white-haired grandmother squinting through her bifocals at your driver’s license? Shame on you. That is a gross stereotype. It is also reasonably accurate.
Fortunately, 10,000 Connecticut people have answered a call for more volunteers in this election cycle. The idea was to find people who are less likely to be in a high-risk category for COVID. We have upward of 700 polling places in Connecticut, but there is probably no way 10,000 people can be usefully deployed. Still, it’s nice to know we have them.
What else? Make sure you’re registered right now. The Secretary of the State provides a Voter Registration Lookup page, which will tell you your status and polling place. If you used an absentee ballot, it will tell you whether it has been received. If you’re not registered, do it now. You can register online. We’ll have enough headaches as it is without adding long Election Day Registration queues to the mix.
If you filled out an absentee ballot, take it to the drop-box now. If you’re a degenerate procrastinator, be aware the drop-boxes will be locked at 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Look, it’s going to be a weird day. We will probably look back at one guy thrashing around in a booth demanding to vote in a DIRTY campaign as a quaint relic of the past. The problems of 2020 will be more comprehensive and fueled by a toxic weirdo president who wants you to know that when he gets his butt kicked by 11 points, the only possible explanation is fraud.
So don’t make it any weirder. Get stuff done now. And wear a mask.