Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Voting Safely

We have a national election coming up,  during a raging pandemic yet to be controlled.  Gatherings are rightly to be discouraged,  making vote-by-mail an attractive alternative.  That does raise issues of higher ballot disqualification rates,  and of much longer times needed to count them.  It also puts a huge burden on the post office to move those ballots in a timely fashion. 

Unfortunately,  this vote-by-mail option has been needlessly politicized,  and the post office's capacity to support such has been sabotaged by the political appointee running it!  Thus we need to be able to gather and vote in person,  and safely.  However,  there really is a way to do that

Voters must be wearing masks and disposable gloves,  and each voter needs to carry his own pencil.   The masks and gloves must be mandatory for entry inside the polling place.  Period.  This is based on science,  and on centuries of experience.  The pencil is to move the dials on the voting machine,  instead of just your gloved finger.  The idea is that 2 layers of protection working together are way better than just 1 layer.

Poll workers are going to need face shields.  They will need lots of disposable gloves to get through the day.  There is no way around that requirement,  driven by science.  Between the face shields and the masks on the voters,  they should be safe enough,  probably safer than while shopping at the grocery store.  That's the 2-layer effect working for them.

We will need more polling places open,  not fewer.  The lines need to be short,  and linestanders spaced out 6 feet apart.  Linestanders need to be wearing masks;  that plus the 6 foot rule are the 2-layer effectThis requirement needs to be enforced,  with serious penalties for noncompliance. Conspiracy theories about masks are just not tolerable.  But it cannot (and won't) work rightif you don't have enough polling places open!   So demand them!

The biggest change is a disinfectant wipedown of the keyboard of every voting machine after each voter is done (probably something we should have been doing even in normal circumstances,  but that's another discussion).  The voter himself can do this,  observed by poll workers

It takes a few minutes for the disinfectant to work,  so you will need more voting machines in each polling place,  to avoid the otherwise-inevitable slowdown.  The disinfectant wipedown by the voter is a third layer of protection.  It should help keep voters (and poll workers) safer still.

There,  I just told you how to run a vote-in-person election safely during this pandemic.  There is required protective equipment,  and the very-necessary enforcement of those requirementsThere is required extra polling place capacity to shorten lines.  Simple enough.  Now just get on with it!

And when some of you see your local elected officials fail to do these things, does that not suggest to you,  that you have the wrong local elected officials?

It certainly should!

You can vote.  So when you see perfidy like that,  go and do something about it!

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