Early Voting Already Up By More Than 50x 2016 Levels

Ballot watchers are seeing an unprecedented number of early votes being cast which could indicate record-breaking turnout for the 2020 presidential election.

From Reuters:

With four weeks to go before Election Day, more than 4 million Americans already have voted, more than 50 times the 75,000 at this time in 2016, according to the United States Elections Project, which compiles early voting data.

The shift has been driven by an expansion of early and mail-in voting in many states as a safe way to cast a ballot during the coronavirus pandemic and an eagerness to weigh in on the political future of Trump, said Michael McDonald of the University of Florida, who administers the project.

“We’ve never seen this many people voting so far ahead of an election,” McDonald said. “People cast their ballots when they make up their minds, and we know that many people made up their minds long ago and already have a judgment about Trump.”

Long Lines As Early Voting Begins In Virginia

(screen capture via CNN)

Today is the first day of early voting in Virginia, and CNN reports the lines at polling stations are very long with folks waiting over 2 hours to cast their ballot.

One gentleman told CNN, “I don’t trust the mail right now – If I got to stand here all day, I’m going to vote today.”

How To Avoid Lines During Voting & Make Sure Your Ballot Gets Counted

Photo showing a hand dropping a ballot in a ballot box at the polls

My friend Jerome shared this advice on Facebook for people who might feel unsafe about voting in person but now fear the USPS will be unable to deliver a “mail-in” ballot in a timely fashion.

There is a way around it:

1. Request a mail-in ballot.
2. Do not mail it.
3. Google your supervisor of elections to see where you can drop off your mail-in ballot. Its usually NOT THE POLLING PLACE. All states allow this!

Here is what you’re accomplishing by doing this:

1. Your ballot gets in on time no matter what happens to the USPS.
2. You don’t have to worry about standing in long lines and risking infection. You’re just stopping by to drop it off.
3. You still voted! Hooray!

Also, when you drop it off, find out how to track it online to make sure it is verified. California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado have systems that can track your ballot just like tracking a package from Amazon.

All CA vote centers (which are open for weeks to a month before election day) have ballot drop-off boxes too! Many government buildings have them as well, so there’s no need to wait until election day when it’s crowded to drop them off.

The list of drop-off sites is always posted on each county’s voter info website.

New York State Finally Passes Early Voting Laws

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs new voting reforms into law

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that he has signed new voting legislation into law that brings his state “into the 21st century,” including (finally) allowing for eight days of early voting before an election.

Democrats have tried for years to enact early voting laws, but have been blocked by a Republican-controlled Senate until this new legislature.

The collection of voting reforms, marking the first bills passed by the new state legislature, will:

Establish early voting: Enacting early voting will make voting more convenient for voters whose professional or family obligations make it difficult to physically get to the polls, as well as reduce waiting times and ease logistical burdens for poll workers.

Synchronize federal and state elections: New York State currently holds separate primary elections for state and federal elections. With the addition of a presidential primary every four years and a general election, this means that in some cases New York is holding four different elections in a year. This can be confusing to voters and wastes administrative resources. This bill will unify the federal and state primaries once and for all and ensure that voters only go to the polls once to choose their nominees.

Provide for pre-registration for minors: New Yorkers are not permitted to register to vote unless they will be 18 years of age by the end of the year, and by the date of the election in which they intend to vote. This bill will allow 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote, meaning that a voter will automatically be registered on his or her 18th birthday.

Universal transfer of registration: When New Yorkers move to a different county, their voter registration does not move with them. This requires the voter to re-register with his or her new local board of elections as if he or she were registering for this first time. This bill will ensure that when a voter moves elsewhere in the state, his or her voter registration will seamlessly go with them.

Close the LLC Loophole: This bill will close the LLC loophole by limiting political spending by an LLC to a total of $5,000 annually, which is the same limit as corporations. The bill will also require the disclosure of direct and indirect membership interests in the LLC making a contribution, and for the contribution to be attributed to that individual.

The new laws make New York the 38th state to hold early voting.

Early Voting In Some States Has Exceeded Total Voting In 2014 Midterm Elections

The New York Times is reporting that absentee and early voting in 18 states and Washington, D.C. for this year’s midterm elections have already surpassed the total votes cast in the 2014 midterms.

Midterm elections tend to attract lower turnout than presidential contests; in 2016, more than 47 million votes were cast early, compared to 27 million in 2014. Yet this year’s advance vote count — which measures both absentee ballots and in-person early voting — has already exceeded the count from four years ago.

Thirty-seven states and Washington permit some form of early voting, with policies and deadlines varying by state. Most of these states also allow absentee voting.

In some cases, the voting is getting close to the levels of the 2016 presidential election.

Have you voted yet?

News Round-Up: October 22, 2018

(image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

Fitness model and InstaHunk Dan Tai (above) asked his fans if they vote legs or abs…? I’m gonna have to call this a tie, right?

• The Houston Public Library has been sued over a city-sponsored Drag Queen Story Hour by haters who say the event violates their ‘religious freedoms.’  Several similar events have taken place across the nation in an effort to promote literacy.

• Donald Trump is reportedly distancing himself from Republicans possibly losing the House after the midterm elections telling friends privately, “These are their elections … and if they screw it up, it’s not my fault.”

• Scientists have invented a ‘self-lubricating’ condom. The surface contains polymers that capture moisture from water and bodily fluids, trapping liquids on the condom for a consistently slippery feel.

• Some states are reporting higher than usual early voting in the midterm elections with Democrats outpacing Republicans which could signal a “blue wave.” Las Vegas reported the first day turnout was triple that of the last midterm elections.

• Upcoming pop recording artist, LIVVIA, recently released her first official single, “Damn,” and has already garnered almost half a million views on YouTube in only two weeks.

In addition to creating some hooky pop music, LIVVIA also put in the time and effort to graduate this past Spring from the prestigious University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Economics.

Smart and talented – there you go.

“Damn” debuted on the Top 20 of Spotify’s New Music Friday & Apple Music’s A-List Pop. Check it out below.

Nevada: Trump Early Voting Lawsuit Already Dead – Judge Denies Motion

Judge Sturman in Nevada has just ruled against the Trump campaign’s lawsuit about alleged violations in early voting discrepancies.

From CNN:

Judge Gloria Sturman, of the District Court for Clark County Nevada, ruled from the bench, saying County Registrar of Voters Joe P. Gloria was already obligated by state law to maintain the records that the Trump campaign is seeking.

The judge at times expressed frustration with Brian Hardy, a lawyer for the Trump campaign.

“I am not ordering him (Gloria) to preserve anything,” she said, adding, “This is Election Day. He has other things to be doing.”

The registrar’s office said in a statement that the Trump campaign’s request to preserve the records “is required by state law, and so it is something we are already doing.”

Veteran Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston dropped these bon mots after the hearing ended just minutes ago:

Nevada: Trump Campaign Sues Clark County Registrar Over Early Voting

It looks like the Trumpster is already playing the role of sore loser.

The Donald Trump campaign has filed a lawsuit in Nevada against the Clark County Registrar claiming polls at a Clark County voting location were kept open “2 hours beyond closing time” on the final day of early voting.

The fact is, people were in line before closing, and Nevada state law allows registered voters to cast their ballot if they are in line before closing time.

From CNN:

Dan Kulin, a spokesperson for the county, told CNN that no early voting stations extended their closing times. They did, however, process voters who were in line at closing time to allow as many people to vote as possible. Trump lawyers are asking for an order to have the pertinent early vote ballots not to be “co-mingled or interspersed” with other ballots.

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway recently told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that the Trump campiagn had no evidence that there was any wrongdoing at the polling location.

Jon Ralston: Early Voting Indicates Nevada Is “Solid Lean Clinton”

While the recent polls seem to lean in Donald Trump’s direction, Nevada political expert Jon Ralston sees a rosier future for Hillary Clinton as he sums up the early voting results and how the numbers stack up:

On the presidential (and maybe applies to the U.S. Senate, too), some math still holds:

• Both candidates get 90 percent of base and split indies: Clinton by 4, 29,000 votes

• Both candidates get 90 percent of base, Trump wins indies by 10: Clinton by 2, 17,000 votes

• Both candidates get 90 percent of base, Trump wins indies by 20: Clinton by 3,000 votes

Note: Trump is not going to get 90 percent of the GOP base, and with all of those votes banked even before the Comey letter, it’s almost impossible for him to win indies by 20. (Romney won indies by 7.) You see his challenge.

If Clinton holds her base here (data I have seen shows she is, and minority turnout is going up) and turnout patterns don’t dramatically shift in the last two days of early voting, she can’t lose Nevada. Solid lean Clinton right now.

More than 617,000 have voted in Nevada. That’s 42.2 percent. More than half the vote is in unless Election Day turnout is well above the norm.

The Democrats have a 34,500 voter statewide lead (probably under 34,000 after the rurals are posted). That’s 42-37, or about a point under the registration lead. The GOP turnout edge is 1.2 points.

Bolding is mine.

Philadelphia Transit Strike Threatens Election

In what looks to be a reckless, irresponsible move by the 4,700 workers of Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, the union decided to strike early Tuesday morning affecting nearly one million riders a day.

Plus, being in the middle of early voting and Philadelphia being a huge Democratic stronghold, it could affect the outcome of the election.

From the New York Times:

The authority’s regional rail service — the commuter lines that extend from the city into the suburbs — continued operating, providing an alternative in some parts of the city for riders who would usually take buses or subways. The commuter trains accepted transit passes and express trains made local stops to take on more passengers.

But the regional rail service, which normally provides 130,000 rides a weekday, could absorb only a fraction of the overflow. Trains became crowded and some ran as much as an hour late into the Center City area. The transportation authority warned of possibly dangerous overcrowding on commuter rail platforms during the evening rush.

Members of Transport Workers Union Local 234 had voted to go on strike at midnight if a contract settlement was not reached, and negotiations on Monday failed to produce an agreement. The union last walked out in 2009, in a strike lasting six days.

(h/t JoeMyGod)