THE VOTING BOOTH – It’s the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, and Election Day has come. I finally get to vote, but I didn’t want to do it here. As you may have heard, this year there is a fierce pandemic sweeping the nation, so voting in person means standing in line with a bunch of wheezing, coughing people who think wearing a mask is a deep state ploy: It keeps the police from recognizing those in a line-up of known demonstrators. I had tried mailing in my ballot, but first I needed one. Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins attempted to mail applications to all registered voters, but Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, in between court hearings on his 5-year-old felony securities fraud charges, ruled that mailing out ballots to voters was un-American, or at least un-Republican. So Hollins tried mailing ballots to those 65 or older. That got tied up in court, and my ballot never arrived.
I had all the legal qualifications to vote by mail, not including being in jail. (As a side issue, how many convicts demand the right to vote, especially if they are in jail for voter fraud?) I was over 65 (in dog’s years), had a disability (I could think) and had paid my poll tax to some guy from the Department of Voter Eligibility who came to my door and demanded $10, although looking back that may have been a scam. I found a ballot in my mailbox, but my choices were either Donald Trump or Donald J. Trump.
Now he keeps saying that mail-in ballots should be banned because they are easily manipulated and no one should vote that way. In the Florida primaries, both Donald and Melina voted by mail.
Although I’m only a little paranoid, this year I got feeling that somebody didn’t want me to vote. Texas does not have automatic nor online voter registration, but the U.S. Postal Service took away hundreds of mail storage boxes in neighborhoods. Mail sorting machines have been removed and our new Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, a major donor to President Trump, has told Congress he has no intentions of putting them back. Postal workers can’t work overtime, even if the mail is stacking up and undelivered. The U.S. Postal Service warned 46 states that mail-in ballots may not be delivered on time, potentially canceling out those votes.
In Houston, at least 13 post offices have rejected attempts by the League of Women Voters to place voter registration cards in the offices’ lobbies. The League, which is a non-partisan, non-profit organization, was given a bunch of different reasons why registration cards are not allowed. Maybe if I went directly to the post office I could be given a ballot, fill it out and then hand it over to the clerk. “Do you want a ballot in Portuguese or Esperanto?” she asked. “In English, please,” I replied. She smiled. “We ran out of those ballots yesterday. All three of them. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to do something with all those bags of ballots piled up in the warehouse. The fire marshal insists.” I could follow Trump’s advice to North Carolinians and vote by mail and in person. That would put me in jail, but at least I could absentee vote. Since about 1900, Sean Hannity has been saying, “This is the most important election in our nation’s history!” No matter the election, he claimed it was “the most important.” Such claims are self-important poppycock. The presidential election of 1860 was by far the most meaningful. It touched off the Civil War, the bloodiest in America’s history.
Then one night my doorbell rang. “Vee art from Vaco and doing door-to-door truth tellink about Joe Burden.” Oh, not again. You remember them, Aleksandra Yuryevna Krylova and Mikhail Leonidovich Burchik, known to the feds as top (yes, top) Russian agents, who looked around America for the most gullible voters who would believe the world is flat if you showed them a flat world map, and they chose Texas.
You might also recall in 2016 how they and other Kremlin gremlins fomented rallies, pitted Americans against Americans, hijacked social media to spread lies about Hillary Clinton and used other and all means to elect Trump. And it worked. Trump continually said that election was “rigged” by outside influence. It was, but for Trump. (When I called the Voter Reliability Agency to ask if this was true, the official said, “Nyet.”) Now the intelligence agencies say the Ruskies are at it again. This time their chief pursuit is degrading Joe Biden by saying he’s too old to be President. (He’s three years older than Trump.) Back at my front door, Krylova spoke first. “Did yew know Bidun eats da babies? Even wit no teeth? And has had hair plugs, unlike our Prezadunt?” I refused to get into an argument about Presidential hair. “You people are disgusting,” I said. “Your leader, Putin, stifles dissent, invades neighbors, attempts to rig our elections and tries to assassinate opponents with poisoned tea.” I shut the door.
Finally, why do we hold Presidential elections on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November? It’s all about agriculture. Under a 1793 federal law, the Electoral College delegates had to meet on the first Wednesday of December. They, in turn, had to be elected within 34 days before that day, which usually was in November. Also, back then America was a nation of farmers. By November the crops were harvested and winter had not yet set in. People in outlying areas would have to travel from their farms into town to vote. Tuesday was chosen so people could begin their travels on a Monday, avoiding travel on the Sunday Sabbath. A law in the 1840s set the date we use now.
Then the doorbell rang again. It was Krylova and Burchik. “Here,” he says, “have some tea.”
Ashby is rigged at firstname.lastname@example.org