Pre-Election Traumatic Disorder
How do we overcome a nagging fear that our vote is in jeopardy?
Here we are, one week out from the most consequential electoral process certainly of our lifetime, and possibly in the history of world politics and stability in general. We have the tools, the technology, the talent, and certainly the piqued senses to be on alert, attentive, and uber-conscious of how, where, when, and who we are voting for.
The BREAKING NEWS of last month, or week, or hour, was that the US Mail was under siege and was going to be purposefully slowed in order to screw with the process of voting my mail…in a pandemic….when untold millions of people are too freaked out to unnecessarily go stand in line with other potential infectors…..oh, and lines that have been made intentionally longer by the removal of polling places again, to subvert our votes.
All that with the hang-overlay of the 2016 debacle and our old pals the Russians with their proven and admitted meddling into our entire election process in ways that we have yet to be made aware of. OK, they meddled. But How? Where? By what means? How did it affect the eventual vote? Was tRump, as we all suspect, illegally shoved across the finish line in some not-so-theoretical way? Four years and no answers, just more fear that an amorphous “they” are at it again in some unseen way.
And then it got personal.
My partner and I had our California mail-in voter packets. We sat down, read ALL the propositions, weighed the benefits and decided where we were going to lay our opinions down. We already knew where the top of the ticket was headed for us, so the rest was impactful in closer to home and more immediate senses. Our work done, we carefully read and reread the instructions, used our “secret sleeves”, our black pens, everything they told us we had to do to make sure our vote counted. We even drove them down to City Hall and deposited them in the official box INSIDE the City Hall lobby. We felt responsible, secure, citizeny. Until later that week when we decided to check on our vote with a ballot tracker app.
“Paranoia strikes deep, into your life it will creep”, Buffalo Springfield 1967
Again from that iconic song, “For What It’s Worth”,…..”Something’s happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear..”
My partner’s ballot appeared fine, all green symbols, “accepted” “in process”. Mine though, has a flashing red Voter Registration: Pending
It listed all my past successful votes. They sent ME my ballot. WTF?
I called the county voter registration office and they were perplexed, that’s a good word here. The woman I spoke with tinkered with the system (which raises an entirely different batch of worrisome issues but…) and got my registration to move to “active”. The next day I decided to recheck. Now my registration was still active, but my preferred language had changed to Spanish.
“Something’s happening here…..”
I called again and got an extremely helpful young man, Luis, who was again, more perplexed. He assured me after checking that all was well, and the votes would start to be counted Monday. I should check back Tuesday for a final disposition of my vote. It’s Tuesday. I checked. A screen popped up that flashed Yellow this time and told me “A new ballot had been printed” that morning and wood arrive “soon”.
Back to Luis. He was even more distressed and in consultation with his mangers no one seemed to get what was happening. At this moment it got weirder. My partner decided to check his ballot and found that he too had the yellow “A new ballot was printed LAST THURSDAY” and was in the mail. No reason. No info, No notification.
Now Luis and the entire voter registration office were involved and still, no answers. Would this new ballot really count? Had the old ballots been destroyed? Why were we not notified? How could it change while we were in constant communications with them and they had done nothing to precipitate any changes?
No answers. No confidence. Out of faith and ideas.
So, we have contacted our local paper, TV, and news divisions and we will see what responses we get. I called out Representative’s office here where we live; a generic voicemail, leave a number. I went further. I masked up, drove 25 miles to the office itself only to find it boards up due to Covid. No mention on his website, voice messaging, nothing that said they were not available to their constituent except by email and voicemail.
One week before this clusterfuck of an election and we should have faith that anyone will return a call? What’s a voter to do?
We will be voting the day the polls open, in person, at City Hall once again, and hoping to god that our vote is accepted, counted, and then we will press for voter reform immediately after this circus leaves town.