« Mowing on Tuesdays | Main | What could I possibly have to add? »

May 24, 2020

Comments

wj, I have knowledge of at least one person's check (not mine, mine was direct deposit) that came in the mail and it had no explanatory enclosures.

But $890 seems very weird, esp. if you don't make over the threshold amount. But I haven't kept track of the fine print on this.

As to APOD: Could a comet have grazed the surface? The blurb on the site doesn't mention anything like that, so I suppose someone has a reason not to suspect it.

Janie, I was thinking something more like an iron or stony asteroid/meteor myself. Just because I would expect a comet to melt substantially, and thus get significantly smaller, in the course of a collision.

I have no idea if anyone has even speculated on it. Let alone run some grazing impact tests with different kinds of "bullets" to see what might happen.

wj -- yes, of course, an asteroid or something like that would be much more likely than a comet.

I hiked in the Grand Canyon several times when I was young, once for two weeks. It is one of the most fascinating and beautiful places I've ever seen. I was surprised to learn that it was formed (too busy to look up whether this is old science) not just by the river carving down through the layers, but by the river carving through layers that were being uplifted over millions of years.

From the rim, it looks just like the postcards. From down inside the Canyon, it varies from one layer to the next. The inner canyon is a whole different world from the upper/outer.

One of my trips was in November -- it was wintry on the rim and like a New England July day at the river. (~1 mile elevation difference.)

My last trip was in 1984 -- so long ago! Between 1972 (first time) and 1984, it had gotten so popular for hiking that a permit system had been instituted for overnight camping. We got a permit for a camping spot that had us sleeping in the arms of Zoroaster.

To get there we had to hike along a trail where, if you lost your footing, you'd slide right down to the river (not gently!) and be gone. I had no trouble with it -- it was really a pretty good trail, and on the way into the campsite I didn't think much about it. But my subconscious was taking note, and I had some long wakeful hours in the tent, late in the night, thinking: Oh shit, I've got to hike back across that?

Well, you did say it was an open thread.

By wintry I mean there was snow on the ground... Just saving Michael Cain the trouble of reminding us that not everything is the same everywhere. ;-)

Yet when ours arrived, the amount was more like $890. For two.

$2400 - $890 is $1510.

I'm pretty sure that's Jared's cut.

Fantastic pic of Mars, wj, and fantastic stuff on the Grand Canyon, Janie. I was once driving alone from LA to Santa Fe, and stopped on the way at the GC, and on the way back at Monument Valley. The latter was more extraordinary to me, but I think that was because I just looked down at the GC, whereas I drove down into MV and drove around it, alone, for a while. A never-to-be-forgotten fucking experience! (Expletive necessary, for reasons of emphasis!)

Here's something that made me chuckle. Sadly, it doesn't seem relevant to wj's plight:

Is my stimulus check fake?

Many Americans who qualified for a stimulus check will receive their IRS payment via direct deposit, but some will get the money via a paper check. Here are some of the indicators banks and credit unions are using to spot fake checks.

Check the Treasury seal. It should appear to the right of the Statue of Liberty and say “Bureau of the Fiscal Service.”

Look for the watermark and the fine print. You should be able to see “U.S. TREASURY” on both sides of the check when you hold it up to a light. Also, there should be microprinting on the back of the check with the words “USAUSAUSA.”

Try a UV light. There’s a pattern on the check that’s only visible with a UV light. It might say “FMS” or “FISCALSERVICE.”

See if the ink runs. The black ink on the seal to the right of the Statue of Liberty should “run” and turn red when moisture is applied. Do not douse your check in water.

wj - If you had any possible liens against the check (like if you owe taxes) those were deducted from the amount. That's the only explanation I've seen for the checks being less than the full amount.

Mine was directly deposited, so I was spared any enclosures. However, a couple weeks later, I got a freaking letter signed by OrangeFart patting himself on the back for "giving" me the money.

My wife and I used to work for a Mars geologist, so I'm always interested in good pics and new findings.

The most widely accepted theory about the Valles Marineris is that it is a crack in the crust that formed during planetary formation due to volcanism and plate tectonics. The closest equivalent here on earth would be the East African Rift.

https://www.space.com/20446-valles-marineris.html

Casey, No liens that I'm aware of. I haven't gotten this year's taxes filed yet. And the last communication I had from the IRS (a few months back) was to inform me that they had redone my last return, and decided that they owed me $3.00.

nous, thanks! The Great Rift Valley hadn't occurred to me. (And I can't plead ignorance, because I know of it. Sigh.)

I don’t think it’s physically possible to ‘graze’ a planetary surface like that. The initial impact would vaporise a comet.

There is an explanation for the Tunguska event which suggests an iron meteorite grazed the Earth - but only its atmosphere, producing the recorded twin explosions on atmospheric entry and exit:
https://academic.oup.com/mnras/article/493/1/1344/5722124

Even then, the calculations suggest that anything but an iron meteorite would have completely disintegrated.

Nigel, wouldn't it depend on both how big the incoming body was, and what angle it hit at? Something substantially bigger than the Tunguska (or Chelyabinsk) cases might fail to disintegrate. And for a canyon like Valles Marenaris you'd need quite a big body anyway. Something like the Chicxulub impactor, just at a shallower angle -- say 5 degrees from horizontal rather than 60 degrees.

Florida was already looking increasingly problematic for Trump. That due to covid-19, in particular to the exception that the elderly seem to take to Republican comments that it was preferable that they die to having the economy suffer.

But then, this:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal-judge-guts-florida-law-requiring-felons-to-pay-fines-before-they-can-vote/2020/05/24/a7f553ba-9c3a-11ea-a2b3-5c3f2d1586df_story.html
Considering that it's the Republican governor and legislature which was attempting to neutralize the amendment to the Florida constitution allowing ex-felons to vote, it seems unlikely many of them (some 1.5 million of them) will vote for the GOP. And it's not like that many votes separated the two parties.

Just to be clear, the judge didn't, quite, toss out the law. He just said it can't go into effect without a system to tell people whether they have cleared the new hurdle to register. If the state can't get someone an answer in 21 days, they get to register. With no penalty if it turns out later they weren't eligible.

Nigel, wouldn't it depend on both how big the incoming body was,

For what it's worth, also too (h/t Snarki), Mars has a much thinner atmosphere than earth.

I'm not pushing the meteor idea, what the heck do I know, I just think it would be a different set of trade-offs for Mars.

JanieM - Mars does appear to have many more impacts per year.

https://www.space.com/21198-mars-asteroid-strikes-common.html

SpaceX's Crew Dragon is scheduled to head for the ISS with two people on board on Wednesday. The head of NASA's human spaceflight program resigned this past Monday. Everyone says the two weren't related. I suspect that's true, and that the resignation is Boeing related: either the still-unfolding disaster that is Boeing software development that happened on his watch, or all the extra money that was given to Boeing to meet the manned vehicle targets even though they have decades more experience than SpaceX.

However, a couple weeks later, I got a freaking letter signed by OrangeFart patting himself on the back for "giving" me the money.

When we got our letter, it was amusing to see that it was repeated on the reverse side, in Spanish.

For what it's worth, also too (h/t Snarki), Mars has a much thinner atmosphere than earth.

Which is why the windstorm that initiated the plot in The Martian was baloney! (Otherwise, it was a book that might as well have been written just for me.)

When we got our letter, it was amusing to see that it was repeated on the reverse side, in Spanish.

ROTFLOL!
Deep State for the win!

Need a change of pace during your self segregation? Check this out.
https://24hoursoflemons.com/wtf-onlineracing/

I'm definitely not a petrolhead. (That would be my wife.) So my interest in auto racing is minimal. Let alone virtual auto racing. But I gotta say, the commentary on this is hysterical.

I just don’t think the physics would work, however shallow the angle.
This isn’t a bullet going through butter; the energy generated by the initial impact would be enormous, and would slow down massively whatever body hit the surface (and almost certainly destroy it).

Also, even if I’m wrong, I think you have to account for surface curvature - it’s a pretty enormous canyon.

Kentucky governor lynched in effigy outside his home, by armed men,
Who have their kids along to watch.
https://twitter.com/ladd_sarah/status/1264745614748930051

Hey, it's a sign of racial equality with the governor being white (and no obvious 'race traitor' chorus accompanying the event). But there is no way to please the lib-[insert extension to your liking]-s, as usual.
[/snark]

Asteroids and comets generally are moving at "orbital velocities", around 10km/s.

Hit something with a 100g bullet going 10km/s, the bullet vaporizes (or turns into 25% vapor 75% boiling liquid; something like that).

Hit something with 10,000tons of asteroid going 10km/s, you get the same type of result: there's more kinetic energy in the projectile to match the larger mass of the projectile.

Mars had oceans and rivers a couple billion years ago, which is a much more likely source of "long straight valleys".

But then they elected a narcissistic moron that thought it was more important to carve a mountain into a sculpture of his face than to maintain the planetary magnetic field generator, and here we are.

WOTD: "chasmata"

Every Memorial Day I end up doing a bit of research as my meditation on the war dead. This year, for obvious reasons, I was looking into deaths by disease in WWI and found this interesting bit in a (sadly, not public) journal article:

Trench fever, like shell shock and related conditions, paradoxically saved lives as they made soldiers unfit for duty in the front line; it's possible there is a direct link between them. We now know that B. quintana can cause endocarditis. ‘Disorderly action of the heart’ or ‘soldier’s heart’ was a shell-shock variant. First described in the
American Civil War as ‘Da Costa’s syndrome’, many thought that its cardiac symptoms were caused by anxiety. How many were due to B. quintana we will never know, but it is a reasonable guess that more than a few were.

It's interesting to think that one of the elements of a shell-shock diagnosis (which may or may not be the same thing as WWII's Combat Fatigue or Vietnam's PTSD) might well have been brought on not by combat, but by flea feces. And also, that being sent off the line for treatment may well have saved more lives than it took.

But that's Trench Fever, and not the horror story of the Influenza pandemic that followed.

being sent off the line for treatment may well have saved more lives than it took.

Well, it may have saved that particular soldier's life. Whether it reduced the total combat deaths would seem to be a different deal.

Whether it reduced the total combat deaths would seem to be a different deal.

Yes, that would depend a lot on whether companies being under strength affected the overall strategy and frequency of big offensives. Best estimates put the number of British troops suffering from Trench Fever during the war at between 350,000 and 500,000 with no accurate figure for how many of those might have died of the disease.

Meanwhile, John Keegan reports in The Face of Battle that somewhere around 21,000 British troops likely died during the first half-hour of the first day of the Somme Offensive.

20 million unemployed and the stock market goes up? how can that be?

here's a clue.

Government efficiency note: I have never been signed up for direct deposit for income tax purposes. In early May as I was seeing posts from friends about their checks arriving, as well as people reporting suspicious folks rooting through people's mailboxes, I decided to check my status on the stimulus site. My "no info available" or whatever status meant I could go and enter bank routing information to receive the direct deposit. Which hit my account in 10 days or less.

I got a direct deposit on April 29th. Until a few days before the deposit, I was getting a "no info available" from the website.

Lest anyone start believing in American exceptionalism, we see that Canada has politicians to equal anything that the GOP can field.

The energy minister of Alberta, a resource-rich Canadian province, said that now was a “great time” to press ahead with work on a controversial pipeline as the country’s coronavirus lockdown prevents large public protests. The expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline is opposed by environmentalists and indigenous groups.
Gotta love it. Turning covid-19 into a lever.

Canada is the most eastern (western?) province of China...

Charles, what a beautifully crafted slur. One can only wonder what part of your overall set of delusions led to it.

CharlesWT's comment fits quite well with the post topic. Of course, one never knows what kind of crazy you are going to get when you turn over these libertarian rocks....

I got mine. I have not looked at it yet--I left that to my husband. My plan is to dole it out to Democrats, Senate races, some House races, maybe a governor or tow.

Charles, what a beautifully crafted slur.

Where's that sarcasm/satire font when you need it?

China, like other countries, tries to influence and nudge other countries to its advantage. But China has more money and motivation to do so than most countries. Canada is just one of a number of countries that are getting antsy about how much influence they perceive China is having on their foreign and domestic affairs.

Charles, see my comment on the other thread. Sarcasm is hard to spot reliably at the best of times.

Sort of like how the distinction between oarody and reality has gotten hard to spot of late in our politics.

Massive shift of topic via ProPublica (which remains one of the best quality current news sources):

https://features.propublica.org/diabetes-amputations/black-american-amputation-epidemic/

TWO MAPS EXPLAIN why Fakorede has stayed in the Mississippi Delta. One shows America’s amputations from vascular disease. The second shows the enslaved population before the Civil War; he saw it at a plantation museum and was stunned by how closely they tracked. On his phone, he pulls up the images, showing doctors, or history buffs, or anyone who will listen. “Look familiar?” he asks, toggling between the maps. He watches the realization set in that amputations are a form of racial oppression, dating back to slavery.

The US health care system's cost-saving measures cost literal arms and legs.

Open thread: this week we lost jazz drummer Jimmy Cobb, the last living participant in Miles Davis 1959 recording "Kind Of Blue".

The efflorescence of American jazz in the middle 20th C. was an intersection of musical brilliance and cultural moment that has few parallels. Not many of those guys left.

R.I.P. Jimmy Cobb.

I've seen articles this spring which suggest that Arizona, Georgia, or even Texas(!) might be in play this year. But this
https://utahpolicy.com/index.php/features/today-at-utah-policy/23932-poll-donald-trump-leads-biden-by-just-3-points-in-utah
simply blew me away.

Biden is within 3 percentage point of Trump in Utah?!? Which hasn't voted for a Democrat in over half a century (since 1964). The mind boggles. If that's even close to accurate, we're looking at a blue wave the likes of which we haven't seen in ages.

and Graham in SC is tied with his challenger.

teehee.

*Wards off the Evil Eye!*

Blimey.

Just watched our PM being questioned by the parliamentary liaison committee. Words fail (well, they did for him, too).

Agreed, Nigel.

@wj
@cleek
Are we to the betting stage yet? At this point I'd take Biden flipping AZ, MI, PA, and FL to get a comfortable win. In the Senate, AZ, CO, ME, MT, and AL all flip leaving a 50-50 tie. The "But I just can't vote for a Democrat" voters save the Republicans in a lot of places.

@Michael Cain
I'd support all those. But for the Senate I'd add NC, and maybe Georgia -- mostly because I see Georgia getting a big resurgence of covid-19 cases thanks to their governor's enthusiasm for reopening fast. I wouldn't be that surprised if the GOP loses Iowa as well.

But my choice for a big financial win would be this -- because I think I could get odds. I think McConnell manages to lose in Kentucky. He's making such a point of refusing bailout funds for states, cities, and counties. And that's going to hit a lot of folks in Kentucky.

He's repeatedly managed to overcome being pretty unpopular by smothering opponents in heaps of out-of-state money during the general election campaign. But with people all around you losing jobs because of your Senator. I think a lot of folks aren't going to take another slug of the koolaid this time around.

The 2016 blue wave all over again.

This morning the discussion by the hedge fund guys on tv was that by September the economy recovers, Trump takes credit, wins, extends gop Senate majority and retakes house.

Swear to god. It was like listening to a different country being discussed.

if COVID disappears by October, the hedge fund guys will turn out right.

COVID is not going to disappear by October.

Meanwhile, FWIW, BBC Springwatch provides balm for the soul.

It was like listening to a different country being discussed.

It is a different country being discussed.

by September the economy recovers

The only trouble with the theory that this was a different country being discussed is that there are NO countries where the economy is likely to be recovered by September. Some, perhaps, which the economy is starting to recover. But none where it is anywhere near back to where it was at the beginning of the year.

More likely, it was an entirely different take on what "the economy" means. One which bears no resemblance to anything that the vast majority of the population interacts with.

Drat! The SpaceX launch just got postponed due to bad weather.

Hedge fund guys are the televangelists of the bull market. And while the markets may rally some in the next few months, that's not going to be much of a balm for people who live on a paycheck.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/dont-expect-a-quick-recovery-our-survey-of-economists-says-it-will-likely-take-years/

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/americas-unemployment-numbers-are-stabilizing-but-thats-not-a-good-thing/

Hooray for the Hedge Bros, anyway.

But it will take some work to convince everyone else that everything is getting better. Far more likely is that we still have massive unemployment and the GOP tries to shift blame onto a scapegoat again.

It's funny reading the economists view and the Fortune 1000 CEO view and the hedge fund CEO. They do talk about different economies.

We can have massive unemployment and 20 million people could have returned to work.

Politics,like the market, is all about better or worse than expected.

Are we to the betting stage yet?

Good time to go for it if you're confident. Betting markets still have Trump as a slight favorite.

Trump has been ranting about fraud and mail voting. (Even though he, personally, has been voting by mail for years.) It seemed a bit excessive, even for him. But suddenly, it makes sense.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/18/us/Voting-republicans-trump.html

If you're spending big bucks to hire 50,000 poll watchers, of course you'd be seriously upset to discover that there might be no polls for them to watch. All that money . . . utterly wasted. Sad.

Does anyone think there is an increased possibility of voting fraud if the state simply mails out a ballot to every registered voters address?

Right now for me to get a ballot I have to request it, go through stuff to verify my identity. Then I get a mail in ballot.

Continually comparing how I have gotten a ballot with millions of ballots being sent to the last known address of every registered voter is ridiculous.

It takes literally no imagination to begin to count the ways that could go wrong.

Mail-in ballot FAQ with security features:

https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/absentee-and-early-voting.aspx

Works fine in the states that already do it, and voter turnout is higher.

And noted liberal stronghold Utah does it, so it must be a Democratic plot.

My bet is that Moss Cow Mitch will get some big pork projects steered into Kentucky right on time for the election (his wife will take care of that again).
I also guess that the elections will be quite close in many places and the GOP will try to get a dozen Bush v. Gore decisions (and be successful more often than not).
Imo the senate will stay red but barely (and the turtle still running it*).
Joe v. Jabbabonk will be tight too, so my guess is it will be either 2016 redux (and improved**) or a landslide for Biden with razor sharp edges in several states.
In any case, the official election results will NOT be known for many days after election day and the courts will have to work overtime.

* in that case I'd recommend he wear a (steel) gorget at all times and some kind of nose protection for there will be constant calls to strangle him or at least to punch him in the face hard and often.
**i.e. an all time record for winning the EC while losing the popular vote

Does anyone think there is an increased possibility of voting fraud if the state simply mails out a ballot to every registered voters address?

Nope. But then, I suffer from having worked the polls in several elections. So I've seen how the process actually works.

As it happens, there is (slightly) less possibility for fraud. Here's why.

  • When you show up to vote, you sign in -- next to your name, so there is that much check that you are a registered voter. But you are not asked for ID. And there is no signature there for the poll workers to compare to. Now it is possible to later go thru and cross check signatures of people who voted in person. But that rarely if ever happens. And even if a mismatch was found, there is naturally no way to tell which ballot should not have been counted.
  • When you mail in a ballot, before the envelope is opened, we check both your name (against the same list of registered voters) and compare your signature to the one from when you registered. If it doesn't match, it doesn't get counted.

So actually, there's far less chance for a problem. Either deliberate or just someone missing voting because they show up at the wrong polling place (we get one or two every election) when it's too late in the day to get to the right location.

Right now for me to get a ballot I have to request it, go through stuff to verify my identity. Then I get a mail in ballot.

If I'm not mistaken, you're in MA. So am I.

"Go through stuff to verify my identity" is (a) sign a form that was sent to my last known address as a registered voter and (b) mail it in.

The difference between that and (a) sign a ballot that was sent to my last known address as a registered voter and (b) mail it in seems... small.

If you assume that someone wants to get someone elected and is willing to use whatever means they can, you might worry about this. However, if it is someone or a small group of people, they would have to find a way to get a large enough a volume of ballots, fill them out and then send them in. There would be enough fingerprints, even without identified envelopes and such, that they could be caught pretty easily.

my wife reminds me that the thing they sent us was for local elections.

To get an absentee ballot for national elections in MA, you have to download a form from here, fill it out, and mail it in. Or, you can do it online.

Maybe Marty has a permanent residence someplace other than MA and the bar is higher there.

But in MA that's the burden of proof. Fill out a form, sign it (perhaps electronically) under penalty of perjury, mail it in.

I suppose I could pick a bunch of names out of the phone book and have their ballots mailed to me and vote fraudulently in their name. But somehow that doesn't actually ever seem to happen.

As I said earlier, the main source of fraud connected with vote-by-mail is political operatives letting ballots disappear, so they do not reach their destination. Just the logicel next step after doing the same to applications. And I would be surprised, if no one has yet tried to de-register voters by mail.
Btw, near 100% of such shenanigans caught were committed by GOP operatives.

The more people who vote, the worse the (R)'s odds are. So, they don't want people to vote, and will try to prevent people from voting in any way they can get away with.

That is what the whole "OMG voting by mail!!" thing is about.

Meanwhile, turnabout is fair play, I suppose.

This is gonna be one weird election, in one very weird year.

they would have to find a way to get a large enough a volume of ballots, fill them out and then send them in

you would hire workers to falsify absentee ballot request forms, collect absentee ballots and falsify witness certifications. then you would peek into unsealed ballots and arrange for the troublesome ones to get lost, or you would fill in votes for races that the actual voter left blank.

You dont have to file for absentee ballots, just find all the people who have never voted and buy their physical ballot.

How many signatures do we think are going to be actually compared out of 19.9 M registered voters sending in a ballot?

None of these things are like the other.

...just find all the people who have never voted and buy their physical ballot.

Just! You can put that in front of all sorts of neat things. Just put your elbow in your ear! See?

Meanwhile, there's something called empiricism. When available, it's better than theory. Vote-by-mail is not some untested thing.

Does anyone think there is an increased possibility of voting fraud if the state simply mails out a ballot to every registered voters address?

With a process as good as most current absentee ballot systems? Probably not. Ask the people in North Carolina who tried recently.

With no designed process in place? Sure. Although I would be willing to bet that the situation will mostly be exploited by crooked officials, not voters. Whether the old-school Chicago machine ("Vote early, vote often") or the (surprisingly large number of) cases from the rural South of stealing the election for county sheriff, non-trivial fraud almost always requires cooperation from crooked officials.

How many signatures do we think are going to be actually compared out of 19.9 M registered voters sending in a ballot?

In my state where all registered voters receive a ballot by mail, all signatures are checked. The first pass is by a machine that's both pickier and statistically more accurate than humans.

In Arizona and California, where they use their absentee ballot systems to handle 80% and 70% of all ballots cast respectively, all signatures are checked. By hand, which is why Arizona and California results drag out for days/weeks.

You dont have to file for absentee ballots, just find all the people who have never voted and buy their physical ballot.

Oh, hello, wow, that box if sure full of letters. And you say you want to mail 5,000 letters all to the same place? Nothing suspicious about that, no siree bob...

1. find all the people who have never voted
2. pay them to (a) request a mail-in ballot and (b) give that to you
3. fill out and mail in all of those ballots
4. in sufficient numbers to sway an election

I think somewhere around (2), word would get out that something was up.

And that's my last bite at this particular hook for today.

I think you missed the Jedi mind-trick where you convince everyone not to tell on you, russell. Every single one...

And you say you want to mail 5,000 letters all to the same place?

which is why the people in NC were careful to mail small bunches of ballots from post offices or post boxes near the voters' houses.

How many signatures do we think are going to be actually compared out of 19.9 M registered voters sending in a ballot?

What Michael Cain said: Here in California, all mail ballot signatures are checked.

But I suppose that some other states, having been systematically gutting their state government in order to cut taxes, might find checking signatures a challenge.

First, wj you are not qualified to validate my signature. My bet is that most people trying to validate 150 million votes would not be.

Second, yes hsh. There is empirical evidence that even at small scale in NC and AZ the likelihood is that someone will tamper with the votes.

You can have my mail-in ballot if you'll pay off my mortgage.

I mean, I love my country, but everybody has a price.... :)

And yes, that's my final offer.

In NJ, they check your signature against the one on file when you vote in person. What's the difference if it's a mailed-in ballot with a signature versus a person standing in front of them writing the signature in terms of processing a given number of ballots?

There is empirical evidence that even at small scale in NC and AZ the likelihood is that someone will tamper with the votes.

And get away with it? Not so much. It's a stupid thing to do, because it's too easy to get caught, even at a small scale. The smaller the scale, the easier it should be. So you can't say, "even at small scale" as though it's an argument for it happening successfully on a larger scale.

First, wj you are not qualified to validate my signature. My bet is that most people trying to validate 150 million votes would not be.

But it's no different than validating signatures at the polling place. Why is it suddenly a problem because we're talking about voting-by-mail? The perfect only seems to be the enemy of the good on a selective basis here.

First, wj you are not qualified to validate my signature. My bet is that most people trying to validate 150 million votes would not be.

What would make me (or anybody else) qualified? In your expert opinion, of course. How do you know that anybody who shows up at the polls is who he says he is? Seriously, what is your basis for comparison?

Here's the process.

Show up at the polls.

Fill out your ballot.

Show it to the poll watchers.

If you voted for the R, you're who you say you are.

If not, not. Go to the other line and try to prove you're who you say you are to certain people's satisfaction.

Designers of the system could save time and trouble by having two lines right from the start, one for white people and one for everyone else.

If you're white, see above.

If you're not, you get thrown into the plot of Kafka's The Castle, never to see daylight again.

But wait, I forgot about the part where there aren't enough polling places, and they're not open long enough for working people.

Oh well, no system is perfect.

no system is perfect

some systems are much less perfect than others.

Many people think of their license plate almost like a fingerprint, unique to them. But for thousands of Kansans, their license plate number is shared with someone else. As Chad Dearth knows, that can be a problem.

For Dearth it all started in 2013 when he purchased his dream car, a 1964 Chevrolet Impala. That’s when he decided to get an antique plate for that antique car. It was the worst decision he said he’s ever made. “Get the word out,” Dearth said. “If you live in Kansas, don’t accept an antique tag.”

To understand why fast forward to 2020. That’s when Dearth received a call from a letter carrier in his old neighborhood. He lived there so long ago that his mail is no longer being forwarded. The letter carrier told Chad that he’s been getting 7-10 letters a day from several states – many of them marked with the words “final demand.” They were collection letters for toll violations issued by turnpike authorities up and down the East Coast.

A letter from the Rhode Island Turnpike Authority was demanding he pay $52. Dearth had never even been to Rhode Island. One letter contained a photo of what was supposedly his vehicle. Except it was clearly a semi truck – not an Impala.

The numbers on the license plate were identical to his, but this wasn’t a plate for antique cars. It had the letters PWR printed on the plate.

Kansas assigns PWR, short for power plate, to commercial vehicles, including long-haul truckers.

In my state we've had vote-by-mail for a long time. Every registered voter is mailed a ballot weeks before the election. All the signatures get checked as the ballots come in so it's not that large of a burden. Ballots are held until counting starts at the ballot return deadline. Our ballots must be returned by the traditional 8:00 pm on election day and the ballots are machine-counted. That makes it fast and ensures that election results don't drag out. We have copious ballot drop off locations at public libraries and quite a few drive-through outdoor ones so you don't have to mail your ballot and you can vote at the last minute if you want to. The county also has a program that allows you to monitor the status of your ballot. You can sign up to get a text message when they receive your ballot and another one when your signature has been validated and your ballot has been accepted for counting.

Vote-by-mail works just fine. You can spin potential fraud stories with every kind of voting. That doesn't make them real. Voter fraud is hard because, for one thing, to pull it off on a scale that will affect an election requires too many people to know that it's happening.

You can spin potential fraud stories with every kind of voting. That doesn't make them real

it was very real in NC this past election. people are in jail because of it. there was a second election called because of it.

There is a push by some progressives to require using postmarks instead of ballot arrival deadlines in all vote-by-mail elections. I think that's a mistake. It drags out election results too much. I do think that it's critical to give people convenient and secure physical drop-off locations in addition to the mail option. That solves problems in areas where postal service is iffy, like some Native American reservations, and it allows people to wait until the last minute to vote, which is important to some people.

Is it worth noting that the kind of voter fraud perpetrated in North Carolina did not follow any of the scenarios which have been exercising Republican legislators? (Not to mention that it didn't work either. Or, more precisely, it was found out before the intended beneficiary could take office.)

wj, yes some got caught,that usually means some didnt.

And, to answer another of your questions, no one ever checked my signature at the polling place in MA. I showed up, told them my address, typically surrounded by a bunch of people I knew, they asked me to validate my name, they marked me off as having gotten a ballot. So I couldnt get another. I voted.

Showing up and declaring you are someone else is a damn sight harder to scam in volume than vote by mail.

A piece about a very weird man ( Bannon) and his underlying bizarre ideology

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/traditionalism-steve-bannon-benjamin-teitelbaum/

No comment from me, but people might find it interesting.

You could solve 90% of actually-seen election fraud problems by jailing all Republicans, y'know.

Maybe we should try that.

I showed up, told them my address, typically surrounded by a bunch of people I knew

It sounds like you have rather smaller precincts than I am accustomed to. I'm trying to remember if I have ever, in half a century of voting in every single election, seen someone I knew at the polls. Not one is coming to mind.

Nor can I recall, in the half dozen elections that I've worked, more than a half dozen voters who appeared to know another voter there (family membets arriving together excluded).

Showing up and declaring you are someone else is a damn sight harder to scam in volume than vote by mail.

But you have to demonstrate that it's happening to a significant degree in places where voting by mail is the norm, not simply opine in theory how fraught it is. Then you have to demonstrate that the level of fraud in vote-by-mail outweighs the drawbacks of in-person voting, particularly under the current health circumstances, but also in light of the kind of voter suppression that in-person voting better facilitates.

Vote-by-mail is and has been happening on a large scale for years. Where's the beef?

Please mentally italicize that first sentence.

"If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal."Emma Goldman

:)

i know it makes me a bad liberal, but i have to admit that NC's recent trouble has soured me on vote-by-mail.

and no, i don't know of a better way to work around COVID than VBM. but i still don't like it.

i know it makes me a bad liberal, but i have to admit that NC's recent trouble has soured me on vote-by-mail

Considering how many places manage to use vote-by-mail without having huge problems, it might be more useful to look at NC's VBM process. See what could be tweaked to address that particular problem which led to what happened there.

Otherwise you are in the position of the guy who says "I got food poisoning. So I'm never going to eat again." Yeah, that would address the food poisoning issue. But is it really the best solution?

i know it makes me a bad liberal, but i have to admit that NC's recent trouble has soured me on vote-by-mail.

I'd certainly support strong efforts to ensure as much as possible that what happened in NC doesn't happen again. I know the people involved have been arrested and charged. Any updates on convictions or sentences?

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad