Alabama is up 8610%
October 26, 2020 4:12 PM   Subscribe

The Washington Post has a map showing early voting compared to 2016 early voting and 2016 total votes: The U.S. has hit 133% of total 2016 early voting.

After reading Jessamyn's comment about the amazing number of early votes in her small town, I hovered over Vermont: up 429%. Well, I figured: Vermont wins!

But nope:
New Hampshire: up 527%
Missouri: up 872%
Kentucky: up 906%
New Jersey: up 995%
Mississippi: up 1031%
Alabama: up 8610%

(All of these numbers are likely to change by tomorrow, if not sooner, of course.)

This tells us almost nothing about who will win the current election, but it does provide some interesting data for speculating about voting laws and policies. In 2016, Alabama had a mere 2400 or so early votes, a tiny fraction of most other states' early votes, so for that state, at least, the data says more about lack of access to early voting in 2016 in Alabama than it does about enthusiasm for early voting in Alabama versus, say, Florida (currently at only 92% of 2016 early votes).

One thing seems clear: increased access to early voting leads to more early voting. Sometimes a LOT more.
posted by kristi (142 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
 
I, personally, would also like to see a spreadsheet showing, for each state:

* early votes so far
* total early votes in 2016
* total of all votes in 2016
* population in 2016
* population in 2020
* number of eligible voters in 2016
* number of eligible voters in 2020
* total early votes and total of all votes as a percent of both number of eligible voters and total population for both years

but I don't think such a table exists.
posted by kristi at 4:15 PM on October 26 [9 favorites]


While that table may not exist, the Election Project data at https://electproject.github.io/Early-Vote-2020G/index.html sure does come close.
posted by SegFaultCoreDump at 4:18 PM on October 26 [18 favorites]


In 2016, Alabama had a mere 2400 or so early votes, a tiny fraction of most other states' early votes, so for that state, at least, the data says more about lack of access to early voting in 2016 in Alabama than it does about enthusiasm for early voting in Alabama versus, say, Florida

I spent the week before the 2016 election door-knocking in Florida, so I requested an Alabama absentee ballot (which allows for travel outside the state on E-day). Filled it out meticulously, followed all the security envelope and signature requirements, and hand-delivered it to the county courthouse where I got it notarized by an election worker on the spot.

To this day, looking up the status of my 2016 vote on the state election website claims "We did not find an absentee or provisional ballot associated with the selected election." Which may help explain why the total absentee vote was so low. (And definitely explains why I'll be voting in person this year.)
posted by Rhaomi at 4:25 PM on October 26 [51 favorites]


NH didn't have no excuse absentee voting in 2016; they modified it this year to add Covid as a reason. So naturally the numbers are huge here in comparison to the past.
posted by damayanti at 4:26 PM on October 26 [3 favorites]


Related: I just found this table showing When Absentee/Mail Ballot Processing and Counting Can Begin from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
posted by kristi at 4:36 PM on October 26 [7 favorites]


wonder which constitutional mechanism the 6 judge majority will use this December to throw out all these pre-votes...

Bush v. Gore employed Equal Protection (fairness to voters with more reliable voting machines required the stop of recounting all those punched ballots in Democratic areas) and McDonald weaponized the Due Process clause to get Heller applicable outside of the DC district...
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 4:41 PM on October 26 [20 favorites]


And definitely explains why I'll be voting in person this year.

As will I. Florida here.
posted by Splunge at 4:46 PM on October 26 [2 favorites]


I have a hard time with finding this bare minimum of evidence that some voters are at least vaguely taking the pandemic seriously, uplifting. But here we are, and it made me feel a little better.
posted by aspersioncast at 4:49 PM on October 26 [1 favorite]


A tangentially related video from 538 and ABC: “Do You Buy That … We Will Know Who Won On Election Night?”
posted by Going To Maine at 4:51 PM on October 26 [2 favorites]


A companion link to kristi's: How Quickly Will Your Absentee Vote Be Counted? A State-by-State Timeline.

I'm so glad to see all this early voting. First: people are voting! Yay! That is a non-partisan good. On top of that, early voting should be harder to suppress, also (what should be) a non-partisan good. Less risk of the ballot not being counted for being "too late", and in many states if there's a problem with the signature there's a process for curing the ballot.

But mostly I'm glad to see all this early voting because it's hard not to see it as good news for Biden. The polls and sentiment are all pro-Biden now, so even when Trump tries to cook up an October surprise it's just going to be too late.

What's really interesting to me is historically, Democrats tend to vote later than Republicans. Leading to the "blue wave" effect when counting votes by mail. But so far registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in early voting by 1.75 to 1. That's almost certainly Covid-related; a lot more people voting by mail. And Democrats believe Covid is a threat much more than Republicans.

Anyway, some of the vote suppression tricks the Republicans used are specifically aimed at not counting the very last mail-in ballots. That may backfire this year on them. The discouragement of voting by mail is already demonstrably hurting the Republicans.
posted by Nelson at 4:54 PM on October 26 [12 favorites]


NH didn't have no excuse absentee voting in 2016; they modified it this year to add Covid as a reason. So naturally the numbers are huge here in comparison to the past.
Yeah, I think that's a factor in a couple of places. But Iowa has actually made it a little more difficult to vote by mail (although it's still really easy), and early voting is up significantly here, too. So I don't think that's the only reason.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:57 PM on October 26 [3 favorites]


wonder which constitutional mechanism the 6 judge majority will use this December to throw out all these pre-votes...

If a case comes before the Supreme Court that could materially affect the outcome of the presidential election, any justice appointed by one of the candidates will have to recuse in order to prevent the appearance of bias, right?

...right?
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:33 PM on October 26 [11 favorites]


wonder which constitutional mechanism the 6 judge majority will use this December to throw out all these pre-votes...

do you really think the 6 conservative justices are that politically motivated? sorry but, give me a break
posted by stinkfoot at 6:28 PM on October 26 [2 favorites]


If a case comes before the Supreme Court that could materially affect the outcome of the presidential election, any justice appointed by one of the candidates will have to recuse in order to prevent the appearance of bias, right?

...right?


Sorry, laughing too hard to craft a decent answer. Not at you, just the sick absurdity of the moment.
posted by nubs at 6:28 PM on October 26 [12 favorites]


wonder which constitutional mechanism the 6 judge majority will use this December to throw out all these pre-votes...

Democrats are waging a war against Christmas, and their votes are soldiers, so if their ballots were mailed from their home they are in violation of the 3rd Amendment. Also, Interstate Commerce and stuff.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:39 PM on October 26 [9 favorites]


Kavanaugh’s opinion in today’s Wisconsin case said that it would be unfair if late-arriving votes were to flip the result of an election. As Kagan noted in her dissent, there is no result in an election until all of the votes are counted, so by definition there is nothing to flip.

...in case anyone was wondering how much effort the conservatives on the court would put into justifying their decision.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 6:41 PM on October 26 [127 favorites]


Does Pennsylvania not have early voting, Or was there just no data available for this map?
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:01 PM on October 26


do you really think the 6 conservative justices are that politically motivated?

Yes, without question.

sorry but, give me a break

This is my KitKat, get your own.
posted by 1adam12 at 7:04 PM on October 26 [55 favorites]


Here's my paranoid self talking for a moment:

One of the standard Republican GOTV manouvers is to add right-wing triggering ballot initiatives, like denying consenting adults the freedom to marry, or affirming the right of hunters to own guns, and so on.

Are there any states with this sort of statewide ballot initiatives this year? My state does not. There's a hotly-contested Senate race here with a media-savvy young Dem trying to oust the Republican incumbent, and the governor's race is incredibly tight (tighter than it should be, considering, but that's a separate rant). These races have always been accompanied by bullshit initiatives for as long as I've been old enough to vote, but not this year.

This means the Republicans here are sufficiently confident they're going to win their important races that they don't have to rely on a ginned-up issue to drive their conservative base to the polls. That's an uncharacteristic level of confidence, particularly in a completely chaotic year like this. It says to me they're relying on winning despite the ballots, rather than because of them. I hope it means they're too disorganized and smug about their positions to be practive, but it doesn't feel like it does.

It feels hinky. It feels bad.
posted by at by at 7:07 PM on October 26 [9 favorites]


Well, FWIW, there's at least one, very important, vote against Donny J:
Putin rejects Trump's criticism of Biden family business, saying he sees nothing 'criminal' with Hunter Biden in Ukraine
When even your best buddy doesn't want you to win...
posted by sexyrobot at 7:30 PM on October 26 [6 favorites]


George Mason must be collecting on a lot of bets over in the astral plane these days.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:34 PM on October 26 [5 favorites]


This means the Republicans here are sufficiently confident they're going to win their important races that they don't have to rely on a ginned-up issue to drive their conservative base to the polls.

I think it's more a function of they don't have any left to use, along with a crippling of the infrastructure usually used to set these up.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:54 PM on October 26 [7 favorites]


Well, FWIW, there's at least one, very important, vote against Donny J:
Putin rejects Trump's criticism of Biden family business, saying he sees nothing 'criminal' with Hunter Biden in Ukraine
When even your best buddy doesn't want you to win...


Putin's desire is to sow chaos and create distrust in the democratic process in the United States/the West. His interest isn't so much who wins as it is to continue to get things fucked up in the States. I read this statement more as him looking to continue to stoke the fire over the questions about Hunter and play into whatever conspiracy mess is happening at the moment.
posted by nubs at 7:54 PM on October 26 [7 favorites]


And Democrats believe Covid is a threat much more than Republicans.

Democrats know Covid is a threat. Republicans believe it isn't.
posted by juiceCake at 8:12 PM on October 26 [18 favorites]


Alabama requires two witnesses or a notary to vote by mail. Voting by mail does not count as early voting. So at least a part of this may be because some states make it really difficult to vote by mail.
posted by xammerboy at 8:37 PM on October 26 [2 favorites]


Putin's desire is to sow chaos...

Except that his statement has the opposite effect. (Although I have considered that this is his way of claiming that russia had nothing to do with the hard drive, thus legitimizing its contents) Thing is, though, putin's kind of in the shit right now... covid is going up up up there right now, in large part due to the same right-wingnuttery donny's been spewing, and that, along with his latest poisoning escapades, has deeply enraged and energized his opposition. Protests are breaking out, and their usual election shenanigans of running their candidates against unqualified nobodies has started backfiring, with like, the local dog catcher beating the incumbents. Putin's a canny, if evil, fellow and he's quite adept at reading the writing on the wall. The chaos he has spread has come home to roost in a big way, and he is definitely in backpedal mode, yo.

(Sorry for the Putin derail, I didn't know where else to put it and I thought we could all use a sliver of sunshine, even one a bit thin and in the distance.)
posted by sexyrobot at 8:41 PM on October 26 [21 favorites]


Are there any states with this sort of statewide ballot initiatives this year? My state does not.

Sort of? Missouri voted to end gerrymandering. GOP put it up in an incredibly confusing amendment that starts off saying it'll cut lobbyist donations (by $50) and something else seemingly innocent and then oh by the way also we'll bring back gerrymandering. And it is brought back conveniently by a GOP legislator who has been termed out so he has nothing to lose.

Also I'm in Kansas where I'm used to seeing campaign ads try to out GOP each other. This year we have a moderate Republican running as a Democrat with Barbara Bollier and the attack ads are really, really negative. They go after her on abortion, on guns, etc. She was against Brownback's extremist anti-abortion bills that even Republicans in Kansas also voted against. Here's what I see like a hundred times a day. So no there's nothing statewide in the sense of gay marriage, but they're making it sound like there's a secret socialist takeover because Trump is doing what Democrats couldn't: normalize being a Democrat.
posted by geoff. at 9:33 PM on October 26 [5 favorites]


There are two ballot initiatives in Arizona this year. Prop 207 is marijuana legalization. Prop 208 raises taxes on the highest earners in the state to boost education funding. 207 is favored to pass and 208 is a runaway favorite.

The worry for me is if the election is close enough to steal, then the SC is going to be a real problem and then there’s going to be millions in the streets and none of this ends well. But if Biden blows this out, I don’t think they get involved. If they start systematically overturning states to get Trump a stolen election, then they will be inviting the kind of unrest that would wreck the ability of rich people to make money.

Vote. Let’s get Biden and a dem senate in there. And then expand and reform the fucking courts.
posted by azpenguin at 10:26 PM on October 26 [21 favorites]


Kavanaugh’s opinion in today’s Wisconsin case said that it would be unfair if late-arriving votes were to flip the result of an election. As Kagan noted in her dissent, there is no result in an election until all of the votes are counted, so by definition there is nothing to flip.

Roberts, Kavanaugh, and Barrett were all involved in Bush v. Gore in different capacities. They are now all sitting on SCOTUS 20 years later.
posted by ryoshu at 12:32 AM on October 27 [31 favorites]


Are there any states with this sort of statewide ballot initiatives this year?

Not a republican thing but I got the chance to vote to remove qualified immunity for laws that violate the constitution!

I voted in Georgia, but I live in Germany so I haven't been around all the advertising to see what the republicans are using as a wedge issue this year.
posted by LizBoBiz at 1:07 AM on October 27 [1 favorite]


Are there any states with this sort of statewide ballot initiatives this year?

Florida has Amendment 1 which states that only a citizen of the US who is over 18 years old can vote in Florida. Of course, that's already the law in Florida. The proposed amendment changes one word in the constitution (changes "every citizen" to "only a citizen"). To me, this seems like a very clear example of a get-out-the-vote amendment that's designed to push a narrative.
posted by penguinicity at 2:55 AM on October 27 [7 favorites]


And there's also that, if the Supreme Court were to egregiously Chewbacca-defense a Trump victory out of a Biden landslide, it would be accepted and normalised in due time. On one hand, pro-Republican rigging of the electoral process, from the mechanics of the Electoral College to gerrymandering, long voting queues and no time off for workers to stand in them, is a time-honoured tradition to the point where it almost feels like it's the will of Providence that there be an invisible thumb on the scale, and while a Trump Supreme Court deciding to, say, stop the count the moment Trump's ahead and discard pre-poll votes because something something wookiees Endor would be an escalation, it would be a quantitative change rather than a qualitative one. On January 21, the facts on the ground would be that Trump is a two-term president, and “some liberals have questioned the legitimacy of his victory”, and the NYT/WP would stick to the formula.
posted by acb at 3:07 AM on October 27 [14 favorites]


it would be accepted and normalised in due time

Strongly, strongly, strongly disagree. There will be resistance. I don't know if it would get to the point of a general strike, but the streets of DC will be full. As will many other cities. It will make this year's BLM protests look like a picnic by comparison.

There is tremendous anger on the left, and even in the center. Sure, maybe Maggie Haberman might write an article about how this is all fine. But no one's going to listen to her. If we are denied the chance to kick this deeply loathed man out of office, there's going to be a strong response. This isn't a repeat of 2000. This is a great chance of either civil war, or of states blatantly or de-facto seceding, or both. Very few will let this go quietly. There will be open rebellion. God only knows what will come after that.

I hope the conservative Justices know they're playing with fire. I think Roberts might. But I doubt the other 5 do. With luck, it's a landslide and there will be nothing they can do about it.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 3:20 AM on October 27 [16 favorites]


Everybody but a few wild-eyed Chomskyites accepts that George W. Bush, for all his failings, was a legitimately elected president. And he had hanging chads and a sketchy Supreme Court decision putting him in place. What's to say a Chewbacca'd Trump second term would not end up like this?

Or, in other words, if you look at evidence delegitimising a second Trump term (or a first W term), the partisan Supreme Court decision is a thin sliver on top of a stack of things, starting with the Electoral College and including gerrymandering, voter suppression, felon disenfranchisement coupled with a racialised carceral state, and so on. It may be the straw that breaks the camel's back, but people underestimate the strength of camels' backs, and public acceptance of the status quo.
posted by acb at 3:33 AM on October 27 [4 favorites]


Does Pennsylvania not have early voting, Or was there just no data available for this map?

This is the first election Pennsylvania has had early voting in person, and I believe the first with no-excuse absentee voting by mail. So there's really no 2016 data to compare.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 3:40 AM on October 27 [2 favorites]


Everybody but a few wild-eyed Chomskyites accepts that George W. Bush, for all his failings, was a legitimately elected president.

Well, finally, I know what I am! A Wild-Eyed Chomskyite!

'cause that man did NOT get into office legitimately. he cheated like every other GOPper, since before I was alive. chant it with me: nixon, reagan, dubya, trump; who's the next GOP chump?
posted by pseudophile at 3:41 AM on October 27 [47 favorites]


My point being that the position that a Trump second term hewn out of a Biden landslide by a partisan Supreme Court would be illegitimate is very difficult to separate from the far more radical and less palatable to the mainstream position that every Republican administration in the past N decades has been illegitimate. Or, to put it another way, the assumption that the US settlement is a legitimate one is an assumption that will bolster any claim of legitimacy for an usurped Trump second term.
posted by acb at 3:48 AM on October 27 [2 favorites]


It’s the twelfth amendment which would be used, and it relates to how states can require (or not) their electors to cast their electoral votes for the individual they are sent to vote for.

There are two cases the Supreme Court could take up at some point. One in Washington state, where several electors didn’t vote for Hillary. And one from Denver.

Of course, they could just take an election case straight up.
posted by glaucon at 3:59 AM on October 27


Does Pennsylvania not have early voting

Pennsylvania does not process votes until Election Day -- this includes ("early") mail-in ballots.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 4:24 AM on October 27 [2 favorites]


This election is not going to be close. The Supreme Court will have no effect on the result.

In Florida in 2000, there was literally* a tie and who won depended on how you counted due to multiple different ballot problems, and all the other states broke evenly so it depended on that one. That isn't happening this year.

* not literally, but it was like 300-something votes.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:18 AM on October 27 [3 favorites]


Everybody but a few wild-eyed Chomskyites accepts that George W. Bush, for all his failings, was a legitimately elected president.
posted by acb at 6:33 AM on October 27


Eponysterical.

But no, thank you, that kind of line is just what led the not-at-all-liberal media to accept Bush as legitimately elected, but he was not. He was awarded Florida's electoral votes to put him in office despite losing the popular vote by a partisan Supreme Court whose decision stunk so badly they tried to claim it wouldn't set a precedent.
posted by Gelatin at 5:19 AM on October 27 [29 favorites]


In Florida in 2000, there was literally* a tie and who won depended on how you counted due to multiple different ballot problems

Yeah, this is my take. From a statistical perspective, the vote in Florida was unmistakably within the margin of error, and because the processes were not written by statisticians, this isn't really a scenario the laws cover. There was no legal pathway for Florida election officials to endorse the null hypothesis. The closest thing I could see to a reasonable procedure would be to throw it to the House of Representatives as is the established practice for disputed/tied elections, or to split the electoral slate, which American law certainly allows, and Florida law might. That the Supreme Court chose to decide it on their own instead of following a precedented practice in American law sucked, no two ways about it (and they knew it), but still it was in a scenario where there was a lot of statistical cover for the argument that "welp, we've never been here before, gotta reach some decision." Hopefully that will not be the case this year, and the overturning of definite majorities in, say, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin will be a bridge too far.
posted by jackbishop at 5:35 AM on October 27 [5 favorites]


And yet he governed for two terms.

The point being that, even if the Supreme Court does overturn a Biden landslide on the most cockamamie pretext, (a) people will accept Trump's second term, and (b) will come up with rationalisations for why everything is normal and they're not living in the maw of a monster. People naturally seek equilibrium, and if allowed to convince themselves that everything's OK, they will do so.

There are people who would exclude W from the list of legitimate American presidents, though the same can be said about Obama. Those who would exclude Obama are, of course, guided by racism, either openly or rationalised and laundered through conspiracy theories, though if anything, they're more numerous than those who have an understanding of the American political system that condemns the Electoral College and partisan vote-rigging as antithetical to democracy. And once you exclude W, you're playing alternate-history, and may as well hypothesise the social democracy America would be if it had proportional representation on a continental European model or something. Heck, throw some bullet trains in while you're at it. Or zeppelins.
posted by acb at 5:44 AM on October 27 [2 favorites]


It is illustrative, though, to look at how the parties viewed the two pre-Trump presidents this century.

George W. Bush did not get into office legitimately; he was awarded Florida's electoral votes by a partisan Republican (not "conservative," thank you) SCOTUS that wanted him to continue to pick Republican justices. But by and large Democrats accepted the result, and of course the so-called "liberal media" covered everything from the phony Brook Brothers riots to the phony SCOTUS ruling as if it could be legitimate.

Barack Obama was elected by a solid majority of Americans, and the Republicans refused to treat him as legitimate. McConnell started scheming from before Day 1 of his presidency to deny him anything that could be perceived as a political victory, and at the end of his term, told Obama that not only would he pretend not to know that the Russians were interfering in the election but claim that any public statement by Obama was a partisan effort (arguably an act of treason before two witnesses, but I digress).

The majority of this country has had it with being ruled by a minority, no matter how stubborn the latter is about pretending the country hasn't changed from 1900, let alone the year 2000. We get to decide what kind of society we will live in, and that means we get to say that billionaires don't get to steal the other half of the nation's wealth from us.
posted by Gelatin at 5:48 AM on October 27 [33 favorites]


> This election is not going to be close. The Supreme Court will have no effect on the result.

I wish I shared your optimism, and I hope you're right.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:08 AM on October 27 [23 favorites]


~With luck, it's a landslide and there will be nothing they can do about it.
~This election is not going to be close. The Supreme Court will have no effect on the result.


Conservatives have been gearing-up to launch state-level challenges to any results that do not go overwhelmingly their way. Eventually, I think you can count on SCOTUS having a hand in the results. It's pretty much the main reason Barrett's nomination was pushed through before the election.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:43 AM on October 27 [7 favorites]


Given early voting is in large part fueled by COVID I wonder if election day voting will see a relative decrease from 2016 --are early voters just election day voters rather than additional voters?
posted by waving at 6:48 AM on October 27 [3 favorites]


2000 Florida recount details.

Bush was ahead on election night, after the automatic recount, and after overseas absentee ballots showed up. At no point in November or December was Gore ahead during any recount that had happened to date. Subsequent studies revealed that the original Gore request and the state Supreme Court order would still likely have resulted in Bush winning by 225-440 votes.

However, statewide counts of all uncounted ballots (which was not considered at the time) later probably show Gore to be the winner regardless of the standard, by 60-171 votes; other media recounts report this differently. In the other recounts some standards produce a Bush victory; one goes to Gore by as few as 3 votes.

There was no Gore win in place to overturn.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:50 AM on October 27 [6 favorites]


This election is not going to be close. The Supreme Court will have no effect on the result.

Given that the Supreme Court is only answerable to itself, couldn't they theoretically rule anything, as long as they wrote an opinion rationalising it (see also: Chewbacca Defence, the)? For example, given that the California Republican Party has been putting up legally dubious ballot boxes, couldn't Trump use that as a pretext to argue that there is voter fraud in California, ask the Supremes to look into it, and the Supremes decide that, yes, California looks mighty sketchy, and as such, the only way to preserve the integrity of the election is to throw out all 55 of its delegates?
posted by acb at 6:55 AM on October 27 [2 favorites]


It's not particularly useful, though, to worry about literally every theoretical issue that could arise rather than the ones that might realistically happen. Worrying about stuff like CA having its vote thrown out leads to madness and paralysis.

In any case the way forward is exactly the same: Vote, get everyone you know to vote, and get people you don't know to vote and make sure that Biden wins more than 270 electoral votes on election night.
posted by Justinian at 7:07 AM on October 27 [8 favorites]


While Republican shenanigans are definitely to be expected I think there would have to be a massive bombshell in this final week to alter the trajectory of this election to the point where Biden will lose. I do however think that shenanigans might influence one or more of the Senate elections which could have significant impacts on how aggressive Schumer and Biden can act in the Senate while still appeasing the few centrists that haven't gotten relentlessly primaried out of existence.

Voter turnout is key and while there have been some scary polls in key battleground states like Pennsylvania I think both of the notable ones can be explained by possible issues in survey instruments as well as extremely aggressive assumptions about "shy Trump voters". Unlike 2016 though there are very very few undecided voters and the number of third party voters seem unlikely to break late for Trump. The Green party candidate is a non-entity and everything seems to suggest Jorgensen is likely stealing some votes from Trump due to the fact that most US Libertarians are right leaning.

Michigan and Wisconsin seem to be polling firmly in Biden's favor and he's above 50% in both states which should hold. I'm somewhat concerned about Pennsylvania due to the fact that Pennsyltucky is bright red and there will be significant barrier to election day voting in Philadelphia. This plus slow counting of mail ballots could result in a narrative that Trump has won Pennsylvania before Biden catches up on the strength of mail voters.

Florida, NC and Arizona are coinflips right now with Biden having some polling advantages but I'm concerned about the inevitable Panhandle voters somehow negating Democratic strength in Miami and Orlando. I suspect though the fact that Florida's tourism industry is hurting bad enough especially in Orlando that vote the incompetent out sentiment will be high. If the vote is close enough I do think that each state will probably try to keep the state red but I think between high levels of voter engagement and higher early voter turnout will be critical. In most cases it really depends on how the Independent voters choose to break. Most polling of independent voters seems to suggest an advantage for Biden but if there are shy Trump voters it's going to be in this part of the electorate.

I do have some concerns that the Biden team is focusing too much on expanding the battlefield into would like to win states like GA, TX and OH sort of like Clinton did in the closing stretch while Trump's team is laser focused on WI, MI, PA, FL and NC but I can understand why doing that forces Trump to play defense especially in terms of advertising. If there wasn't massive turnout already in key states I'd be scared since election day voter suppression will be very significant in WI, MI and PA plus there is a likelihood that "late" mail ballots will be discounted by an increasingly partisan SCOTUS. However early voting especially in Democratic strongholds will hopefully reduce election day lines leading to less people leaving long lines. Hopefully weather will be nice that day.
posted by vuron at 7:08 AM on October 27 [6 favorites]


Say it with me, say it loud, repeat forever:
A SUPREME COURT WITHOUT MERRICK GARLAND HAS NO LEGITIMACY.
posted by sexyrobot at 7:12 AM on October 27 [20 favorites]


This is a fabulous post! and super informative comments. I, too, am encouraged by early voting but the numbers seem somewhat confounded by the fact that many states expanded early voting. Virginia, for example, has had early voting for about a month and we lead in numbers of early voters for a long time until other states opened up. NYS just opened early voting but those numbers will be huge. Also, kudos to the Virginia legislature who made voting super easy this year - if you requested an absentee ballot you can take it to early voting, drop it off OR have it voided and vote in person, Election Day is a holiday and as I said early voting has been ongoing here for weeks.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:20 AM on October 27 [1 favorite]


I do have some concerns that the Biden team is focusing too much on expanding the battlefield into would like to win states like GA, TX and OH sort of like Clinton did in the closing stretch

One of the things that was panicking me heading into the election in 2016 (and it is documented for posterity in the Megathreads) is that Clinton as you say had been focusing on the second tier states until the last 2 weeks but then suddenly reversed course and headed to the "blue wall" industrial states. This made me think their internals were flashing warning signs in the closing days (which turned out to be the case) though folks in the megathreads tried to reassure me that probably wasn't true.

That Biden isn't retreating back to MI/PA/WI in the last weeks is either electoral malfeasance or an indication that their internals in those states are holding up and their time is more valuable elsewhere.

The latter seems a lot more likely. Though we obviously can't completely rule out the former because 2020.
posted by Justinian at 7:21 AM on October 27 [12 favorites]


Kavanaugh’s opinion in today’s Wisconsin case said that it would be unfair if late-arriving votes were to flip the result of an election.

The paranoid side of me says this is a veiled instruction to conservative states to magically delay getting mail and absentee votes getting to the counters until after the deadlines. Oh, gee, they didn't get here on time. Sucks to be y'all, I guess.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:23 AM on October 27 [11 favorites]


PA does not have early voting, but they have set up areas where you can do mail-in voting on site. I had to do that because my request for a mail-in ballot was mysteriously "undeliverable".

The in-person voting site was very well run, but we did have to wait in the rain for 90 minutes. Good news is I have confirmation that my ballot was accepted, so there's an excellent chance it will be counted...but we won't know for sure until Nov 3rd, because they aren't allowed to start counting until then.

They also require that the ballot be inside a "privacy envelope" inside the mailing envelope. At the in person site, volunteers were helping to verify that everything was done properly, but I do wonder how many people will skip the redundant privacy envelope and so invalidate their vote.
posted by Eddie Mars at 7:25 AM on October 27 [2 favorites]


Mail in voting is the other side of the coin. This from the NYT,

The Upshot has been following about 54,000 pieces of first-class mail a day. Delivery began to slow in July, with the start of policies that the Postal Service said were intended to improve efficiency. Well into October, delays have remained significantly more common than they were even in the first months of the pandemic.

Data the Postal Service has turned over as part of a court challenge suggests that election mail is moving through the system faster than first-class mail over all. Data for the week ending Oct. 16 shows that, for a subset of ballots that are easily tracked, about 96 percent of both inbound and outbound ballots were processed on time. But not all ballots are included in this data set, and the Postal Service has said the figure isn’t representative of all election mail.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:32 AM on October 27


Republicans have been working towards Barrett for 45 years. It would be absolutely insane to flip over the table right after they've won big. Trump might want to, but he doesn't seem to be convincing many. For example, Barr hasn't gone and arrested anyone (yet), and he's about as big of a lackey as you can get. Roberts is legitimately concerned about the public view of the Supreme Court, and seems to have convinced Gorsuch and Kavanaugh to not throw bombs right out of the gate. The whole point of Kavanaugh was to buy more decades: why risk everything for another Trump term?

On the other hand, the machine Republicans constructed to get here isn't going to stop. There's really no telling what they're capable of anymore. I guess we'll find out next week.
posted by netowl at 7:34 AM on October 27 [7 favorites]


Regarding the SCOTUS though I think extreme partisan rulings in the next week or two will result in increased risk to the Conservative majority. Being extremely political with the Shadow Docket will result in an impression that the SCOTUS is now irredeemably political. While most Democrats and Republicans are more or less aware of that already there is still some level of trust by Independents in the idea that the SCOTUS is non-partisan. By looking like they are trying to put the finger on the scale in regards to Biden v Trump will just increase the calls to rebalance the court should Biden win the Presidency and Democrats win the Senate even with some partisan rulings.

While the majority of the Conservatives on the court (namely Alito, Barrett, Kavanaugh and Thomas) seem to be signaling a willingness to engage in partisanship it seems like Roberts and maybe Gorsuch will be a little more reluctant to reveal the hyper partisanship of the court especially if any decisions make expansion of the court more likely.

I also think that some of the fears about undoing the legislative filibuster and potentially expnading the courts to 13-15 Justices by Democrats are misplaced. Impeaching sitting Justices is impractical and will be seen as excessively partisan but expansion can be sold as rebalancing. Furthermore Congress can act in a variety of decisive ways to limit the power of a Conservative SCOTUS by simply limiting the role of the Court through statute. I also think it's important to note that Republicans only rarely control the Presidency and both Houses of Congress and you really need a Trifecta to pass legislation and get past a Presidential veto. Also 2020 reapportionment and redistricting could result in a lot of neutralization of Republican efforts at gerrymandering.

If Democrats really really want to play hardball if they get the Trifecta they can always pull out the big gun of expanding the House through altering the Reapportionment Act of 1929 to make for more representatives so that states with larger populations count at closer to a balance with lower population states. There are a variety of proposals that have been ventured over the years but in most models the House of Representatives would look much more Democratic in layout and the Electoral College would be less out of alignment with actual population. Under such a model Republicans would have to moderate their Conservatism by a significant amount unless they wanted to just be limited to potential control over the Senate.
posted by vuron at 7:36 AM on October 27 [3 favorites]


One of the standard Republican GOTV manouvers is to add right-wing triggering ballot initiatives, like denying consenting adults the freedom to marry, or affirming the right of hunters to own guns, and so on.

Are there any states with this sort of statewide ballot initiatives this year? My state does no


Alabama's first ballot initiative is whether to change the state’s constitution to replace wording that the state grants the right to vote for “every” U.S. citizen who meets the requirements, to it grants the right to vote for “only” those U.S. citizens who meet the requirements. Let's see: riling up the bubbas and Lexus suburbanites with fucktwattery of the highest order? Check.
posted by SinAesthetic at 7:43 AM on October 27 [1 favorite]


> "The paranoid side of me says this is a veiled instruction to conservative states to magically delay getting mail and absentee votes ..."

It's not veiled.

The post office is literally being crippled in an effort to help make this happen.
posted by kyrademon at 7:51 AM on October 27 [9 favorites]


Like ArbitraryandCapricious, I live in Iowa, which made it harder to vote after their decisive wins in 2016 (maintained GOP executive, expanded the state senate and flipped the state house). In 2018, the state legislature chose to install a GOP candidate instead of finishing the vote count, ignoring 29 mail-in ballots that had been legally submitted before election day (the error was the government's). The track record is worrying when you consider that in-person votes are thrown out at a rate of .01% while mail-in ballots are rejected at much higher rates.

There are several reasons for this -- one, people simply can make an error that ends up invalidating their ballot that would normally be caught and corrected if they voted in person. Two, it is easier for political operatives to invalidate mail-in votes instead of in-person. To challenge a voter in person, the party must have a person stationed at every polling place, which can be literally hunderds of places in a single county. Mail-in ballots, however, are counted at a single location per county, so a few dedicated partisans can do exponentially more damage.

The goal is simply to keep the ballots from going into the machine. When you are looking at a mail-in ballot envelope, you may not know how someone voted, but the parties know enough demographic information about each of us, that they can make reasonable estimations about who we voted for. Honestly, just knowing your party affiliation is enough. Properly done, the GOP can claim with a straight face that every "legitimately submitted" ballot was counted in the election even though they will know how many likely votes they prevented from even entering the ballot box.

I voted on the first day of early voting in Iowa. It meant I sat in my car for an hour because the queue (for drive-up voting, natch) was so long. The workers took my ID and were careful in following the rules and giving me instructions but the fact of the matter is once I voted, the actual ballot was put in a "secret envelope" inside another envelope with my name on the outside. It won't actually go into the ballot scanner until a day or two before election day. Until it does, my vote is at risk for fuckery. Unless you watched your vote go through the scanner (which I normally do when I vote in person), all votes in Iowa are similarly at risk. If Biden is to take Iowa (which is a real possibility), he will need to do it by at least 1%-2% to overcome the MFF (Margin For Fuckery).

What is the MFF in your state?
posted by Big Al 8000 at 8:15 AM on October 27 [3 favorites]


split the electoral slate

Going forward this is one possible solution. It's weird enough that the people don't elect a president, but rather elect a slate of electors who go to an electoral college to vote. But it's even weirder that almost every state is winner-takes-all. Florida went 50.01% for Bush and 49.99% for Gore; why does that mean that 100% of Florida's electors vote for Bush? It's hard to understand.

It's also not required. Maine and Nebraska both allocate electors by congressional district, and both only started doing that recently. Other states could change too. Weirdly, some wonky analysis I haven't read says that changing to that system would actually make the presidential vote even less democratic, including a Romney win in 2012 with 5M fewer popular votes. Huh.

Which makes the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact still appealing. Depending on how you count, in 2018 enough states had signed on to it that it could have gone into force. But some signed on a long long time ago and wouldn't do so now, and there's been a lot of questions about legal challenges.

Also worth noting that neither party wants to do anything to disrupt our current two party system. Some voting alternatives would make room for third party candidates to have meaningful influence, and the Democrats are probably even more afraid of letting that happen than the Republicans. The Republicans just take it a step further in knowing they are a minority party, and a dwindling minority at that, so they are hellbent on maintaining political control even though they only get 47% of the national vote.
posted by Nelson at 8:20 AM on October 27 [4 favorites]


As a Canadian, these American voting threads are almost as incomprehensible to me as the ones about U.S. health care. Up here it's so simple I barely have to think about it, and I've never waited in line for any election - municipal, provincial or federal - for more than ten minutes. I guess red tape is bad if you're a corporation but good if you're a voter.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:26 AM on October 27 [5 favorites]


As a Canadian, these American voting threads are almost as incomprehensible to me as the ones about U.S. health care. Up here it's so simple I barely have to think about it, and I've never waited in line for any election - municipal, provincial or federal - for more than ten minutes

Well, to make it clear, white upper class people don't have to wait to vote either and US healthcare systems are specifically set up to appeal to them, so you have to realize that there are two Americas, one very much (probably as easy and maybe cheaper than Canada) like you experience for the upper class and another where everything is made difficult so it doesn't upset or burden the upper class.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:41 AM on October 27 [12 favorites]


This Pennsylvanian has never waited in line more then a few minutes to vote either and I've voted in over sixty elections. These things vary wildly from state to state.
posted by octothorpe at 8:45 AM on October 27 [6 favorites]


I waited an hour and a half on the first day of early voting at lunchtime in a fancy suburb in TN in 2016. I spent like 5 minutes total on a later Thursday at 11:00 in a different suburban location this time. YMMV.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:49 AM on October 27 [2 favorites]


The Margin for Fuckery in Texas is mainly baked into the long term efforts at limiting the number of polling locations in urban areas particularly Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Dallas because those are the bluest of areas. There is also some degree of suppression in the Rio Grande Valley geared towards reducing Latinx turnout. I do however think that armed militia functioning a poll watchers seems to be of a somewhat unlikely nature outside of some limited areas. Texas is massive and large portions of it are sparsely populated and a lot of voters use early voting in Texas so the potential advantages of discouraging people from getting in line by armed intimidation seems to be a poor strategy. There will almost certainly be targeted robocalls trying to get people to stay home through various intimidation tactics (outstanding warrants and citations, etc).

Abbott of course limited the number of mail drop off points in Texas counties to one per county which already got allowed but that happened far enough in the past that people eligible to vote by mail largely made sure they could get their ballot mailed early or they changed their plans to vote in person (preferably early).

I think the fact that Texas has been considered a reliably red state has also helped to a degree because Republicans haven't been as concerned with trying to fuck Democrats over other than in urban areas. I do however think that if Texas starts becoming more purple there will be bad faith attempts by the Republican party to slow down the shift through engaging in more aggressive forms of voter suppression. So while I think Abbot and company could probably shift the result by a small amount the fact that most people don't vote via mail ballots will make it hard for tactics like this signature doesn't match or this ballot came in too late.

That being said if you plan on using a mail ballot in Texas make sure you mail it today or drop it off in one of the aforementioned drop off point. Otherwise shift your strategy towards in-person voting and preferably early vote. Even if election day voting ends up sealing the deal for Trump in Texas early results in Texas that lean towards Biden could forestall any attempts by Trump at claiming an early victory.
posted by vuron at 8:55 AM on October 27 [3 favorites]


For example, given that the California Republican Party has been putting up legally dubious ballot boxes, couldn't Trump use that as a pretext to argue that there is voter fraud in California, ask the Supremes to look into it, and the Supremes decide that, yes, California looks mighty sketchy, and as such, the only way to preserve the integrity of the election is to throw out all 55 of its delegates?

I mean, sure, but your flag is going to look pretty strange with only 49 (or less) stars on it.

Our flag, however, isn't going to have to change at all. It already says "California Republic".
posted by sideshow at 9:11 AM on October 27 [10 favorites]


One of the standard Republican GOTV manouvers is to add right-wing triggering ballot initiatives, like denying consenting adults the freedom to marry, or affirming the right of hunters to own guns, and so on.

Are there any states with this sort of statewide ballot initiatives this year? My state does not.


I would actually argue that the extremely transparent attempts to fuck with early and especially mail voting in Texas from the state government (e.g. Abbot's decision to limit the mail-in ballot drop off box to one per county) constitute left-wing triggering legislative initiatives. They got people pissed off out here, especially in the cities, especially among PoC and young folks. Our rates of voting from those populations have been astronomical.

I had a mail ballot, and so did one of my roommates. We both handed them in and opted to vote in person instead this year, with paper receipts of our votes from the machines used. Everyone I know in town has been passing back and forth information about polling locations: was there a line at yours? how long was it? how long did it take to vote? one lady I know waited three hours on the first day! it took me twenty minutes, not so bad. I'll go on Thursday so the crowds aren't so bad. Have you heard? Have you heard? What are you going to do? When are you going? What polling location?

Like, I have had these kinds of exchanges with the Costco pharmacist I got my flu shot from the day I went and voted. I don't go outside too often these days, that errand trip was the only one I've made in two weeks, but it feels like everyone in the city is buzzing about the vote. Which: we got 97% of eligible voters registered in Travis County; I suspect most of those will be turning in ballots this year.
posted by sciatrix at 9:30 AM on October 27 [7 favorites]


octothorpe: "This Pennsylvanian has never waited in line more then a few minutes to vote either and I've voted in over sixty elections. These things vary wildly from state to state."

Responding to myself here to clarify. I didn't mean that in a #notallstates way but to emphasize that difficulty in voting isn't an accident and it's not inherent in American government, rather it's a deliberate choice made by states that very clearly don't want to make it easy for people to vote. When you see those long lines at a voting place; a choice was made by elected officials and their minions in the courts to strategically restrict access to voting.
posted by octothorpe at 9:33 AM on October 27 [9 favorites]


Now, in the wake of a Supreme Court decision Monday disqualifying absentee ballots that are received by election officials after Election Day, the [Wisconsin Democratic] party has changed course, alerting voters not to put ballots in the mail but to return them to their election clerk’s office or use drop boxes.

The party is in search of missing absentee ballots. Of about 1,706,771 Wisconsin voters who requested absentee ballots, 1,344,535 have returned them. That means 366,236 ballots are still out there.
This is not what a legitimate democracy looks like.
posted by theodolite at 9:51 AM on October 27 [15 favorites]


November 3 might as well be a national holiday because nobody in the country's going to get any goddamned work done anyway.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:53 AM on October 27 [24 favorites]


kudos to the Virginia legislature who made voting super easy this year

Indeed! But let's not forget that the specific kudos are due to the Democratic majority in the General Assembly + Democratic governor Ralph Northam. One of the first acts of the GA was to expand the voting process to make it as easy as possible, including the Election Day holiday (while also repealing the racist "Lee-Jackson Day", win win!)

I voted absentee in Virginia for over a decade (long story). Before this year you always needed an excuse from their pre-approved list of excuses, a witness (maybe two?) for mail-in ballots, and the only absentee-in-person (early voting) location, at least in my county, was a single room somewhere on the third floor of the Government Center. Also, in at least the 2004 general election -- the first I was eligible for -- they did not process bags of mail-in ballots ... mostly from college students, most of whom vote blue.

Fucking Republicans.
posted by basalganglia at 9:59 AM on October 27 [10 favorites]


California looks mighty sketchy, and as such, the only way to preserve the integrity of the election is to throw out all 55 of its delegates?


If this happened without causing riots, we wouldn't be Americans. Throwing away votes like this is tyranny by the courts. It's good to think about because it prevents one from normalizing the rest of the vote fuckery.

I expect Republicans to try to stop counting late mail-in ballots, or try to stop counting on-time mail-in ballots. That should elicit the same sense of outrage as throwing away electoral delegate's votes. If we don't take up protest against it, we give a tyrannical, non-elected court the consent to govern us that way. Thanks for putting it in that perspective, acb. I'll not be governed by the Supreme Court's appointed president and I hope enough of my fellow citizens are of the same mind.
posted by Mister Cheese at 10:16 AM on October 27 [2 favorites]


> When you see those long lines at a voting place; a choice was made by elected officials and their minions in the courts to strategically restrict access to voting.

Usually, but not always. Sometimes it's good old fashioned ineptitude.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:39 AM on October 27 [2 favorites]


True but as AOC recently pointed out, whether it's ineptitude or on purpose, it's voter suppression just the same.
posted by bluesky43 at 10:55 AM on October 27 [9 favorites]


You think a city's election board isn't subject to meddling in poor funding and planning? It's on purpose.
posted by tiny frying pan at 10:55 AM on October 27


The USPS says to mail ballots at least a week before a state's deadline to ensure a reasonable chance of them being received. (Notice to voters in all states: that means today.)

That means the Supreme Court's Monday evening decision gave well-connected voters in Wisconsin exactly 21 hours to get a ballot in the mail in time for the postal service's recommended deadline (assuming these voters can get to a local post office and assuming it closes at 5:00).

That's several more hours than I would have imagined they'd allow. Such respect for democratic principles from our great judicial institution.

Note that by law, WI must accept mail-in ballot requests until October 29. Which means that they're still processing requests and mailing ballots out... which have no chance of arriving before Election Day.
posted by purple_frogs at 11:00 AM on October 27 [4 favorites]


It's not particularly useful, though, to worry about literally every theoretical issue that could arise rather than the ones that might realistically happen. Worrying about stuff like CA having its vote thrown out leads to madness and paralysis.

Gentle if endlessly enervated ask to not make these kinds of normalizing statements when scenarios like this are essentially things Republicans say they are definitely going to do. Republicans have already been putting out fake ballot boxes, hobbling the USPS, installing illegitimate SC justices and gearing up for these exact scenarios. We are a week away. Wise up already. Throwing out inconvenient votes is well within the spectrum of what might realistically happen.
posted by Lonnrot at 11:02 AM on October 27 [11 favorites]


That means the Supreme Court's Monday evening decision gave well-connected voters in Wisconsin exactly 21 hours to get a ballot in the mail in time for the postal service's recommended deadline

That 7 days thing is national guidance. Turns out it takes an average of 10 days (paywall; see data chart from article) to deliver a first class letter in Wisconsin right now. By that measure, it may already too late to mail your ballot. If you live in Wisconsin and haven't returned your ballot yet, you may be better off using a drop box.
posted by Nelson at 11:29 AM on October 27 [4 favorites]


Someone smarter than me want to elucidate on their understanding if Faithless Electors and how they might impact things come November?

Because Texas and Pennsylvania have no such laws governing the actions of members of their delegation to the Electoral College. Florida, Virginia, Ohio, and Wisconsin all have laws against it, but the vote counts as cast.

Even if the republicans aren't slimy enough to usurp the election by tipping the electoral count in favor of Trump via faithless electors, this seems like an easy way to deny Biden the 270 he requires to win.
posted by Gatyr at 1:07 PM on October 27 [1 favorite]


Gatyr, there's sliminess Republican legislatures could do to subvert the selection of Democratic electors, but it is highly unlikely that Democratic electors would suddenly flip from Biden to Trump. Generally electors are tried-and-true members of the party they're a part of. Like, they're literally chosen by the party they're voting for. In Texas I think it's by state convention, in PA it would be by the Biden campaign. It would require some kind of massive long-term conspiracy involving infiltrating the party with secret Republicans who were able to establish themselves as trusted party members and could coordinate becoming electors all at once.
posted by schroedinger at 1:28 PM on October 27 [4 favorites]


> November 3 might as well be a national holiday because nobody in the country's going to get any goddamned work done anyway.

My wife will be finishing some large work projects on the day of the 3rd and a couple of weeks ago we both booked the rest of the week off so we could enjoy her well-deserved rest together, but no matter what happens with the election it's probably not going to be the most relaxing time off and if Trump wins...*trails off, mumbling something about gin*
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:28 PM on October 27


>And then expand and reform the fucking courts.

And then kill lobbying, force campaign finance reform including full transparency, and finally end slavery. (There's more but that's a start.)

> George Mason must be ....

Where is the statue to this man?
posted by Twang at 2:23 PM on October 27 [1 favorite]


Related early vote info from The New York Times: posted by Going To Maine at 2:44 PM on October 27


> George Mason must be ....

Where is the statue to this man?


George Mason University has one.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 2:48 PM on October 27 [1 favorite]




> George Mason must be ....

Where is the statue to this man?

George Mason University has one.


There is also one in DC, near the Tidal Basin.
posted by musicinmybrain at 5:30 PM on October 27 [2 favorites]


One thing seems clear: increased access to early voting leads to more early voting. Sometimes a LOT more.

Certainly the trend here in Australia. Voters clearly like early voting.
posted by Pouteria at 6:20 PM on October 27 [1 favorite]


The USPS says to mail ballots at least a week before a state's deadline to ensure a reasonable chance of them being received. (Notice to voters in all states: that means today.)

That means the Supreme Court's Monday evening decision gave well-connected voters in Wisconsin exactly 21 hours to get a ballot in the mail in time for the postal service's recommended deadline (assuming these voters can get to a local post office and assuming it closes at 5:00).

That's several more hours than I would have imagined they'd allow. Such respect for democratic principles from our great judicial institution.

Note that by law, WI must accept mail-in ballot requests until October 29. Which means that they're still processing requests and mailing ballots out... which have no chance of arriving before Election Day.


I don't know how many there are statewide, but my Wisconsin suburb has a ballot box which is how I voted several weeks ago. My ballot even came with an information slip showing where the ballot box was located. So hopefully those that receive absentee ballots too late to mail are still able to use ballot boxes. I know Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett made a point of installing a bunch of ballot boxes in Milwaukee. It seems there are 15 locations, mostly at libraries. So all is not lost if one still receives their ballot before election day.
posted by NotTheRedBaron at 6:38 PM on October 27 [1 favorite]


Which makes the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact still appealing. Depending on how you count, in 2018 enough states had signed on to it that it could have gone into force. But some signed on a long long time ago and wouldn't do so now

I believe you're mixing up the ERA with the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
posted by Justinian at 8:16 PM on October 27 [6 favorites]


Jeff Zeleny (jeffzeleny): "President Trump took off in Air Force One 1 hr 20 minutes ago, but thousands of his supporters remain stranded on a dark road outside the rally. “We need at least 30 more buses,” an Omaha police officer just said, shaking his head at the chaotic cluster that is unfolding."
posted by christopherious at 12:22 AM on October 28 [2 favorites]


Certainly the trend here in Australia. Voters clearly like early voting.

Isn't it compulsory to vote in Australia?
posted by Cardinal Fang at 6:43 AM on October 28


I'm pretty sure Trump would use those MAGA rally attendees as emergency rations if needed without any qualms. Well as long as they are well-done and there was ketchup available.
posted by vuron at 7:12 AM on October 28 [2 favorites]


Kavanaugh’s opinion in today’s Wisconsin case said that it would be unfair if late-arriving votes were to flip the result of an election. As Kagan noted in her dissent, there is no result in an election until all of the votes are counted, so by definition there is nothing to flip.

Apparently these "originalist" assholes don't realize that the "original" elections could take days to tally because "late-arriving" vote results had to travel hundreds of miles by horseback.
posted by JackFlash at 3:00 PM on October 28 [9 favorites]


Some actual good news: SCOTUS didn't take the bait on the Republican attempt to disenfranchise Pennsylvania voters by moving the mail-in ballot deadline at the last minute. This is the one that went 4-4 last week, and there were concerns that Barrett would break the tie; however, she did not cast a vote.
posted by theodolite at 3:02 PM on October 28 [3 favorites]


> however, she did not cast a vote.

I'm not suggesting we throw a parade for her here or saying that this is a David Souter situation, but this already puts her ahead of Thomas, Kavanaugh, Alito, and Gorsuch in terms of slavish devotion to party over principle. If she's another Roberts who casts occasional votes that go the right way for either the wrong reasons or to keep up appearances, then that's a much better outcome than I was expecting.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:55 PM on October 28 [1 favorite]


Alito has a sad :"I reluctantly conclude that there is simply not enough time at this late date to decide the question before the election," Alito said, but he left open the possibility that the court could still hear the case on a shortened schedule after the election.

Alito and his confederates are requiring the state attorney general to not count the late arriving ballots, to be decided by the court later. In other words, they are going to wait to see the initial results and then after the election decide whether to count all the votes. Republicans certainly do hate democracy.
posted by JackFlash at 4:43 PM on October 28 [8 favorites]


Good news in NC as well. SCOTUS deciding not to ratfuck now while reserving their right to ratfuck later counts as a huge win by 2020 standards.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:21 PM on October 28 [2 favorites]


DuPage County (IL), where I live, has ballot drop boxes at all the early voting locations, and will also have them at every polling place on election day. I dropped my ballot off at one of the early voting locations yesterday - they even had I Voted stickers on top of the drop box for people who dropped off their ballots. : )

The county election site updates the early and vote-by-mail totals each night. As of today, DuPage is at 42% turnout of registered voters. That's amazing!
posted by SisterHavana at 7:27 PM on October 28 [3 favorites]


Good news in NC as well. SCOTUS deciding not to ratfuck now while reserving their right to ratfuck later counts as a huge win by 2020 standards.

The antidote to late ratfucking is to GOTV to such a degree that Biden's 2:1 victory on election night is unquestionable. It's do-able if everyone grabs everyone they know and gets them to the polls.
posted by mikelieman at 8:03 PM on October 28 [6 favorites]


This is scary. I think the GOP will try to find ways to count GOP-heavy ballots first and declare victory quickly before all votes are counted, and then try to get SCOTUS to order a stop to further ballot counting. Is that a realistic scenario?

@DKaplanWTAE:
Cumberland County, Pa, where President won by 17.8 points in 2016, decides to start counting mail-in ballots on Nov. 4th, the day after the general election.

No precanvassing means smaller counties need to figure out how to allocate resources, this is how Cumberland is doing so.
Quote Tweet
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:40 PM on October 28


Good news in NC as well. SCOTUS deciding not to ratfuck now while reserving their right to ratfuck later counts as a huge win by 2020 standards.

Amazing that Kavanaugh ended up siding with Roberts, after he wrote the Wisconsin opinion. Is there any logic to that?
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:59 PM on October 28 [1 favorite]


It is true that Kavanaugh’s bizarre claim that the people have a right to have election results on election night is going to tempt the states to hold off on counting mail-in ballots. Maybe I’m naive, but I tend to think that collusion between the states, Trump and SCOTUS to simply discard all mail-in ballots from a state or precinct is too brazen — not for Trump, but for the whole assemblage of them. That’s direct-overthrow time, and if the election is clear-cut I doubt even GOP officials want to outright throw the election for Trump’s sake. Really, SCOTUS will rule insanely if it’s recount time, but I also don’t think it will come to that. Again, I may be naive in this.
posted by argybarg at 9:03 PM on October 28 [3 favorites]


The thing is, I don't think any states actually stop vote counting on election night because most (maybe all?) have allowances for military overseas votes. PA for instance requires that they arrive by election day +7. So while there may be shenanigans with the courts, I don't see how they pull off some kind of "stop counting" order without opening them up for a big "but our troops" kind of backlash. At least, that's what helps me sleep at night.
posted by macfly at 9:39 PM on October 28 [11 favorites]


The question is, what comes of Trump prematurely declaring victory, which he will if it’s even remotely close, or declaring it a rigged election, which he will in every other case? And the fear raised by immediate lawsuits to stop states counting ballots — I don’t know. Frankly this isn’t looking like a particularly close election anymore, so it may just wind up as theatre.
posted by argybarg at 10:13 PM on October 28


The question is, what comes of Trump prematurely declaring victory,

Biden would never concede unless it's clear that he lost.

or declaring it a rigged election

I'm sure he'll try that. But how that proceeds is not something I can really guess on.
posted by NotTheRedBaron at 10:29 PM on October 28 [1 favorite]


I guess I meant “preemptively declaring victory.” Even if he’s slightly behind. No matter what our guesses are. We’ll find out.
posted by argybarg at 10:51 PM on October 28


>Certainly the trend here in Australia. Voters clearly like early voting.

Isn't it compulsory to vote in Australia?
posted by Cardinal Fang


Yes, but early voting was fairly rare until 2-3 elections back, and you did need a specific reason to do it, like medical, etc.

Now, increasingly, there are early voting places for anybody to just turn up and vote, without any reason. The process is otherwise exactly the same as standard on-election-day voting.

Obviously the COVID pandemic has greatly encouraged it.

It is amusing watching the political apparatchiks wondering how this will affect their campaign model when 40% of voters have already cast their vote a week or two before election day.
posted by Pouteria at 1:11 AM on October 29 [1 favorite]


How realistic is this Pennsylvania scenario described in the NewYorker?
posted by asra at 8:03 AM on October 29 [1 favorite]


The thing is, I don't think any states actually stop vote counting on election night

From an SFGate article:
"Elections officials count every ballot — no matter how early media outlets begin projecting winners," Mahood wrote in an email regarding the ballot-processing system in California. "County elections officials have 30 days to complete their vote counting and post-election audits. Ballots will continue to be counted during that time, which could cause the leaders in certain contests to change."

For the 2020 election, vote-by-mail ballots in California that are postmarked on or before Election Day can arrive to elections officials up to 17 days after Nov. 3. Same-day registration and provisional ballots require additional processing by county elections officials, and this often occurs after election night.

"We have this idea Election Day is supposed to be when we find out who wins," said Mahood. "No, Election Day is the deadline for voting. We need time to make sure ballots are counted and secure."

The New York Times checked in with elections officials in every state and the District of Columbia about their timing for reporting results and "only eight states expect to have at least 98% of unofficial results reported by noon the day after the election."

In addition to California, 21 other states and the District of Columbia allow postmarked ballots to arrive after Election Day, so the timing for results depends on when voters return them.
And from the NYT: How Long Will Vote Counting Take? Estimates and Deadlines in All 50 States.

And from Twitter:
@Teri_Kanefield 3 U.S. Code § 5: States have five weeks to certify their elections, work out any controversies, and choose their electors.

Networks project the winners.

Trump is confusing news reporting and projections with reality TV.
https://law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/3/5
posted by Lexica at 9:46 AM on October 29 [7 favorites]


canvass (v.) c. 1500, "toss in a canvas sheet," from alternative spelling of canvas (n.). From "toss in a canvas sheet for the purpose of sifting" the meaning was extended figuratively to "shake out, examine carefully"

after the vote comes the canvass. Beer Boy should be impeached for his opinion earlier this week IMO.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 12:40 PM on October 29 [4 favorites]


Beer Boy should be impeached for his opinion earlier this week IMO.

The right is (superlatively, I hope) desperate for votes this year, and they're going to slip as much vote manipulation into the public square that they can.
posted by rhizome at 12:49 PM on October 29 [1 favorite]


How a fake persona laid the groundwork for a Hunter Biden conspiracy deluge
A 64-page document that was later disseminated by close associates of President Donald Trump appears to be the work of a fake "intelligence firm."
posted by Golden Eternity at 2:52 PM on October 29 [5 favorites]


@chiraagbains:
The 8th Circuit just changed #Minnesota’s ballot receipt deadline from 11/10 to 11/3—five days from now.

The date was set THREE MONTHS ago. Voters were told ballots postmarked by 11/3 would count if received by 11/10. As of last wk, 580,000 hadn't returned their ballots yet. /1

The rationale? A radical legal theory quickly gaining support in SCOTUS shadow docket cases: that federal courts can (and must) intervene to stop state courts and election officials from altering rules set by state legislatures, even when they violate voters' rights. /2
posted by Golden Eternity at 6:04 PM on October 29 [4 favorites]


after the vote comes the canvass. Beer Boy should be impeached for his opinion earlier this week IMO.

We still haven't had any investigation into how his massive gambling debts mysteriously disappeared.
posted by StarkRoads at 7:36 PM on October 29 [10 favorites]


The date was set THREE MONTHS ago. Voters were told ballots postmarked by 11/3 would count if received by 11/10.

They weren't just told this. It is literally printed in the instructions for how to fill out and mail the ballot that everyone received. The court is directly contradicting the instructions that voters hold in their hands. How are they to know what to believe? The Republican judicial strategy to just to create uncertainty and doubt.
posted by JackFlash at 8:36 PM on October 29 [14 favorites]


The Republican judicial strategy to just to create uncertainty and doubt.

The biggest joke is that attempts to enable voting are being routinely struck down on the "Purcell principle" that the rules not change too close to the election, but when it comes to throttling voting, they claim that actually, the "rules" aren't changing, they're merely being restored, therefore Purcell doesn't apply (or something).

Or, rather, "fuck you, that's why." It's heads-we-win-tails-you-lose.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:58 AM on October 30 [3 favorites]


OK people, it's the last pre-election Friday at 5pm, the traditional time for a corruption-dump from the Mad King administration.

May it be the last of its kind.
posted by Dashy at 2:04 PM on October 30




I think I may understand why beer boy ruled the opposite way in NC than he did in Wisconsin. In NC most mail-in ballots have already been counted and results will be announced on election day, resulting in a blue mirage - where Democrats start out with an artificial early lead. But in Wisconsin they can't start counting them until election day, which may result in a red mirage. So if they were to announce a winner on election day, it would likely favor Dems in NC and the GOP in Wisconsin. He may not be deciding these cases on principle, but will take opposite positions on a sate-by-state basis depending on which way favors the GOP. That is scary.
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:59 PM on October 30 [5 favorites]






Republicans shift from challenging rules to preparing to challenge individual ballots (WaPo)
In Nevada, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit this week seeking images of the signature of every registered voter in Democratic-leaning Clark County — a potential first step toward challenging individual votes on grounds that the signed ballots don’t match the signatures on file.
In Texas, Republican officeholders and candidates sued this week to have more than 100,000 votes invalidated in the Houston area because they were cast at drive-through voting centers the GOP has asked a judge to declare illegal.
And in Minnesota and Pennsylvania, election officials will set aside any mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day — even if they were mailed before the polls closed — to facilitate potential court challenges.
For months, Republicans have pushed largely unsuccessfully to limit new avenues for voting in the midst of the pandemic. But with next week’s election rapidly approaching, they have shifted their legal strategy in recent days to focus on tactics aimed at challenging ballots one by one, in some cases seeking to discard votes already cast during a swell of early voting.
Combined with the above posts from lazugod and MonkeyToes: if this was happening anywhere else in the world, UN observers would be all over it.
In the current situation, the rest of the world must stand helpless and watch.
posted by mumimor at 7:13 AM on October 31 [8 favorites]


From Slate (Oct 31): Texas Republicans Ask Federal Judge to Throw Out 117,000 Legally Cast Ballots

"This argument is outrageous and absurd. But the case landed in front of U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, one of the most notoriously partisan conservatives in the federal judiciary. Democrats have good reason to fear that Hanen will order the mass nullification of ballots as early as Nov. 2, when he has scheduled a hearing."
posted by Paul Slade at 2:01 AM on November 1 [5 favorites]


Texas Republicans Ask Federal Judge to Throw Out 117,000 Legally Cast Ballots

Since we're talking about "originalism" so much these days, wouldn't the Fed's responsibility end once the State Legislature decided that Electors will be selected via general election?
in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct,
States' Rights and all that.
posted by mikelieman at 2:12 AM on November 1 [3 favorites]


To follow the TX federal hearing, follow Ari Berman's feed
posted by Dashy at 10:11 AM on November 2 [1 favorite]


Ernest Scheyder with Reuters also seems to be in the courtroom.
posted by bcd at 10:25 AM on November 2


Judge said he'd announce his ruling in 20 minutes, 25 minutes ago. Don't mind the anxious finger tapping here.
posted by bcd at 12:03 PM on November 2 [1 favorite]


Whew. Judge rules the plaintiffs don't have standing.

I assume there will be an appeal, but that's good so far.
posted by bcd at 12:27 PM on November 2 [3 favorites]


And better yet, putting on the record that if he thought they had standing, he would deny the injunction on the merits as well.
posted by bcd at 12:29 PM on November 2 [9 favorites]


Judge rules the plaintiffs don't have standing he doesn’t want to be associated with this shit show and is taking whatever way out he can find.

FIFY
posted by Big Al 8000 at 12:33 PM on November 2 [1 favorite]


He didn't though. Here's an expert's read on this:

From Raffi Melkonian:
So, non-lawyer followers, why did Hanen say what he would have done had be found standing?

His point is: if the Fifth Circuit says I'm wrong about standing, I want them to know what I thought on the merits.

The reason is, so the Fifth Circuit can *affirm* his ruling even if they disagree on standing.

OK - I said the case was over. I meant here. The Plaintiffs can still appeal to the Fifth Circuit under the procedures I outlined earlier.

Given Hanen's ruling, I would expect all appeals to be summarily dismissed. But this is gonna have to play out.
posted by bcd at 12:43 PM on November 2 [5 favorites]


Vox's updated article has more detail on Hanen's thinking in the deceision. I'm pretty confused about the finding on standing; surely the two candidates in elections in Harris County who are plaintiffs have standing? Vox's explanation wasn't convincing.
posted by Nelson at 2:02 PM on November 2 [2 favorites]


The plaintiffs have officially appealed to the Fifth Circuit, as expected.

As to standing, it's not in the Vox article, but the closest I've seen is this quote, "When you balance the harms you’ve got to weigh in favor of that - in counting the votes. I don’t find harm to the defendant." In general, no harm, no standing, yes?
posted by bcd at 2:23 PM on November 2 [1 favorite]


Here's Hanen's written order.

Lots detail for such a quick ruling. Yes, the question of standing on Equal Protection grounds was about the lack of any specialized harm, though he pre-acknowledges that's a bit wiggly and the Circuit Court might reverse him on it. (There's a separate lack of standing on the Elections Clause, that seems less wiggly.)

Though obviously my quote above doesn't really address this, because he's talking about the defendant there. Doh.

The comment that he'd grant the injunction with respect to tomorrow makes better sense now too. He sees it as hanging on "structures" which are allowed in early voting and "inside a building" which is the standard for election day. Plus the fact that no existing votes would be tossed. Stupid inconsistent law, but it is what it is.

All in all, a sensible ruling from the racist git who blocked Obama's DAPA order. Small mercies.
posted by bcd at 6:30 PM on November 2 [4 favorites]


Here's also a PDF of the order via the Free Law Project. (Link to docket)
posted by Not A Thing at 7:44 PM on November 2 [2 favorites]


And now the Fifth Circuit has denied the injunction as well.
posted by bcd at 10:19 PM on November 2 [6 favorites]


Oh FFS, now they are asking for the full Circuit to rehear after last night's panel denied them. After election-day voting has started, and after the county shut down all but the one clearly "inside a building" drive-thru location.
posted by bcd at 7:42 AM on November 3


I am taking what comfort I can from their tenaciousness. I remember in 2016, when people were initially puzzled by the Clinton campaign canceling their (expected) victory party early, which was probably due to their internal info leading them to believe they were in trouble.

I have a very dear hope that they are fighting like hell on this blatantly disenfranchising TX vote disqualification thing because their internal numbers are leading them to think they might be losing Texas. TEXAS, Montressor! For the love of God!

If they lose Texas, it implies that pretty much every battleground state is in the bag, and it'll be a 400+ EV rout. They'd have to be pulling equivalent brass-balls shenanigans in every battleground state, and somehow pull enough of them off to stave off doom, and I don't see that happening without them getting utterly crucified in the court of public opinion as everybody watches that happen.

It hasn't happened yet, but I take what hope I can from the thought.
posted by notoriety public at 8:20 AM on November 3 [5 favorites]


That is a good point, notoriety public. Why spend money on lawyers in Texas if it isn't relevant? Specially since the campaign is short on cash, and so is Trump himself.
One thing I'd say speaks against it is that Trump is clearly more comfortable with lawyers and threats than with people voting. The Trump campaign know they got lucky in 2016 and may be hedging their bets.
posted by mumimor at 8:44 AM on November 3


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