Vote Early – Derail the Attack on our Democracy

1  Executive Summary

Vote early. Sign up to receive your ballot by mail. Mark it up and return it as soon as you possibly can.

There are several good reasons for this:

2  Red Mirage, Blue Shift

The #pussygrabber is devoting a ton of effort to disparaging voting by mail. We need to understand why. There are things we can do to derail his plan.

  1. A true but unimportant contributing factor is that he expects to lose, and needs a way to deflect the blame. He needs to soothe his malignantly narcissistic ego. He needs to tell himself that it wasn’t his fault. A lot of pundits have been over-emphasizing this, but it’s not the main consideration, not even close, because if he loses on Nov. 3rd, he gets arrested on Jan. 20th or shortly thereafter, and no amount of self-flattery is going to change this.
  2. A far more practical consideration is this: He excels at propaganda and demagoguery. He is planning for a situation where his supporters demand that he be recognized as the winner, no matter what the objective vote-tallies say.

It is likely that the votes cast on election day will favor the Rs, whereas votes cast by mail, which take longer to count, will erase this advantage. This is called the “Blue Shift” phenomenon or the “Red Mirage” scenario.

This is a problem, because the #fakepresident intends to declare himself the winner on election day, and declare the rest of the votes to be invalid. This is why he is persuading his voters to show up in person at the polls. Everybody else has reason to vote by mail, partly to spite him, and partly for the practical reasons itemized in section 1.

It bears repeating: He excels at propaganda and demagoguery. (This is how he prevailed against the impeachment effort, by rallying public support to his side, facts be damned.) Remember the Brooks Brothers riot that was part of the Bush v Gore recount fiasco? Multiply that by ten thousand. That’s his plan.

He will not hesitate to delegitimize the 2020 election. Keep in mind that he vigorously disputed the vote-count in the 2016 election, the one that put him in office!2

As a preliminary step, his plan includes making the process more difficult for state and local election authorities, and by injuring the postal system. This increases the probability of mail-in ballots being discarded, and increases the number of talking-points he will use to discredit the process in November.3

As is often the case with him, his efforts to move public opinion in his favor move most of the objective facts in the opposite direction. In virtually all swing states, vote-by-mail is an option, and when he makes it harder for his supporters to vote he decreases his chance of winning the actual factual vote-tally — unless truly astonishing numbers of mail-in ballots are discarded. He knows this but doesn’t care, because stealing a lot is no harder than stealing a little.

To clarify the last point: His plan is analogous to the Sarah Palin gambit, or to a football Hail Mary. Suppose you start with a 100% chance of losing by a little. It is to your advantage to replace that with a 50% chance of losing by even more (if the Hail Mary gets intercepted) plus a 50% chance of actually winning.

Tangential remark: At the moment, Texas is the only state that is even somewhat competitive where voting by mail is not available to most people. Some people claim that Texas is not really competitive, or that if Texas is competitive then the election is already over, but neither of those things is true. Biden is actually ahead in Texas by a tiny amount right now, and there are surprisingly many scenarios in which things go wrong everywhere else and Texas determines the outcome.

I suppose this-or-that red-state legislature could move to outlaw voting by mail, but the window for doing that is rapidly closing.

3  Process Issues

3.1  Ballots Going Out

If you wait until the last moment to request your ballot, it places a strain on the election officials. It may mean you receive your ballot late or not at all.

3.2  Ballots Going In

You can eliminate postal delay and minimize the stress on the postal system by hand-delivering your ballot. Most jurisdictions provide sites where ballots can be dropped off.

Information about the legal deadlines in the various jurisdictions is available online.6, 7, 8, 9 However, it must be emphasized that the legal deadlines are almost irrelevant, because the practical, safe deadlines are much much earlier. Get your ballot in as soon as humanly possible. In an emergency, voting at the last minute is better than not voting at all, but you should make every effort to prevent such an emergency. Vote Early! Early! Early!

3.3  Verification and Counting

If at all possible,
make sure your ballot is
received by election officals
well before election day.

Not just mailed, but received.
Not just before, but well before.

That’s because after your ballot has been received, election officials must devote time and effort to verifying your signature. This introduces a delay. The more ballots, the longer the delay.

The goal is to have your ballot verified and ready to count on election day. So make sure it is received early enough.

Figure 1: Vote Early

4  He’s a Terrorist

Terrorists, by definition, seek to make people afraid.

You should not be afraid of voting by mail. It is the safest option, provided you do it early enough. The actual threat is small. #Covigula is exaggerating the threat, out of all proportion to reality, just to make people afraid, so we will make wrong decisions.

Let’s be clear: As a general rule, never over-react to terroristic threats. Otherwise you are just doing the terrorists’ job for them.

There are of course some real threats. This business of attacking the canvassing process and discounting mail-in ballots is not the only thing we need to worry about. See reference 10.

5  Action Items

If you have not already signed up for an early ballot, do it now.

When you receive your ballot, mark it up and return it as soon as possible. Drop it off if convenient; otherwise just mail it. Mailing it is perfectly fine if you do it early enough.

Tell your friends. There are many good reasons for this, as itemized in section 1.

In an emergency, voting at the last minute is better than not voting at all, but you should make every effort to prevent such an emergency.

Bottom line: Vote Early! Early! Early!

*   References

FiveThirtyEight “2020 Election Forecast”
‘Rigged election’ goes from Trump complaint to campaign strategy
Ari Berman interviewed by Chris Hayes:
“Trump Is Creating Conditions For Vote-By-Mail To Fail”
Cameron Joseph and Paul Blest, “Trump Just Admitted He’s Sabotaging the USPS to Screw Up the Election”
Aaron Gordon, “The Post Office Is Deactivating Mail Sorting Machines Ahead of the Election”
Information about the status of vote-by-mail in the various states:
Another collection of information about the status of vote-by-mail in the various states:
And another:
And yet another:
“Things We Should (or Should Not) Worry About Between Now and Jan. 20th”

Reportedly in some states officials are not allowed to even start verifying signatures until election day, but I have not confirmed this.