Voting During COVID Restrictions

There was a big push in my state to get people to use mail-in ballots.  No excuse, such as being out of state on a business trip, needed.  Screw that.  We voted in person.  Yes, we had to put on those ridiculous face masks upon entering the polling station.  Ours is in the basement of the building that serves as both the police station and the township hall.

Not much of a line, but that probably had more to do with the time of day we showed up than the push for mail-in ballots.  Blue electrical tape was laid out in 6′ intervals.  As usual, there were a few people electioneering outside the polling station, but inside, only two people were working the joint.  The elderly woman dutifully wore her face mask, but the 40-something guy sitting next to her wore his like a beard, over his chin, leaving his nose and mouth uncovered.  That didn’t bother me one little bit.  The condensation and CO2 build up inside them pretty quickly.

Normally, we have full sized booths with curtains and touch screens.  This time, we had to fill out paper ballots, as if we were voting absentee, and then feed them into scanners to be read.  Took ~30 seconds, but the scanner finally did come back saying “Thank you for voting.”

I’d like to see both my state rep and U.S. rep replaced, but I suspect both will survive the primary.  We’ll see what happens.  What could get interesting is seeing how long it’ll take the vote to be counted.  Polls close at 8 pm.  Ordinarily, we’d know by midnight what the results are.  With all these paper ballots, depending on how many actually got mailed in, and were received today (deadline for mail-in ballots, too), I suspect we won’t know the results until next week.

I was pleased to see the woman in line ahead of me bring her (teenage?) son in with her.  The kid wasn’t old enough to vote, but his mother showed him how it’s done, so that when he’s old enough to register to vote, he’ll know how it works.  Different routine this time around, but the process in general is the same.

FWIW, other than one new resident who not only showed up at the wrong polling location, but also didn’t know we have closed primaries in which Independents are not allowed to vote, everybody on line was registered as the same party I am.  That one woman was turned away.  She probably moved here from a state that has open primaries.  Nobody else was turned away, although someone in line three people behind me was asked for ID, which is unusual.  I was once asked to show ID to vote, although I was also told I could refuse to do so, if I wanted.  What’s the big deal about whipping out a driver’s license?  Very few people live within walking distance of a polling station where I live, and only people who have a death wish ride bicycles or rollerblade along the state and county highways that have 50+ mph speed limits with one narrow lane in either direction, and no shoulder.  Even the local roads have 35-45 mph speed limits.

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