"Home lies in the things you carry with you everywhere and not in the things that tie you down."
-- Pico Iyer

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Apologies for Pennsylvania

      Normally I stay away from politics on this blog -- not for any other reason than I don't have anything particularly original or insightful to say. Most of the issues I think about have already been talked over ad nauseum.

     But right now I feel like I have to apologize for my adopted state of Pennsylvania. I mean, here it is two days after the election. Forty-eight states have managed to count their votes. Only two have been taking this long: Nevada and Pennsylvania. 

     I can't speak for Nevada. Well, I can't really speak for Pennsylvania, either. It's just that the delayed counting of the vote makes us seem a little, well . . . slow. As though we can't quite handle the situation. As though we're all a little dim-witted.

     The problem is not the poor souls who are working diligently to actually process the paper and count the votes. The problem is that there was a kerfuffle in Harrisburg about when to cut off the mail-in ballots. First they had to be postmarked by November 3. Then, no, they had to be delivered by November 3. Then, no again, they could be postmarked by Nov. 3 and counted as long as they arrived by Fri. Nov 6. Then there were rumors that the post office couldn't possibly handle all the mail, so they urged people to drop off their ballots in person.

     It almost seems as is they were deliberately trying to confuse us.  I mean, the post office can handle Christmas mail. Surely they can handle a few thousand mail-in votes.

     So anyway, at this point President Trump is ahead in Pennsylvania by 200,000 votes, or about 1.5%. But the mail-ins reportedly lean more Democratic than Republican, so the thinking is that Democrats are going to catch up. And now Trump is talking about suing the state to stop the count of late-coming votes.

     The lawsuit was so predictable  But our politicians did nothing to avoid it. And I'll tell you, if I were a Republican I too would be suspicious of an election board that kept pulling more votes out of a hat days after the election was supposed to be over.

     Just as a Democrat, I'd be suspicious of Nevada where Joe Biden is ahead by just 0.5% points, if the Republicans started "finding" new votes that conveniently back their nominee. 

     Meanwhile, I sent my vote in about two weeks ago. Apparently it has still not been counted. It's kind of embarrassing. All my friends around the country have had their vote registered. But apparently mine is still sitting on a desk somewhere, waiting for someone to dig through the pile and get to it.

     They should have had a hard deadline on the mail-in votes, and they should have started counting earlier. But now we're stuck with what we have. My only consolation, personally, is that I know how my friends and I voted, and so my suspicions will not kick in if and when the election board start reporting more votes for Biden long after the bell has rung.

     Pennsylvania was supposed to be an important swing state. That was exciting to me. When I lived in New York my vote didn't really count. No matter what any individual does, the state is marked solid blue. (And for that reason New York turnout was low.) 

     But now my vote was supposed to actually make a difference. But it looks like Pennsylvania blew it. Wisconsin and Michigan have now been called for Biden. So right now all he has to do is finish off Nevada and he'll have enough electoral votes to win the presidency. So Pennsylvania will not be a deciding factor. It will be irrelevant.

33 comments:

ApacheDug said...

Actually, as more Trump votes are showing up in Arizona I think the state of Pa is becoming more & more relevant. Why in the world did the AP call Arizona for Biden so early in things! So wrong...

It does suck that Pa can't begin counting the mail-n votes early on, they WANT to but that was because Republicans wouldn't allow it. Anyway Tom, I hope they get around to your vote soon, sure am anxious to see this end! (End for Trump, I mean) :^)

PS. On a TOTALLY unrelated note, what in the world is Blogger doing everyday to all the Blogger blogs... most infuriating!

Celia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Celia said...

The count drags along. It feels like waiting for the results of a Covid test only I'm hoping I don't have the "tRump."

Barb said...

I still expect Arizona to go to Biden, I do think that states should commit to counting mail in ballots when they arrive,b t having said that, the logistics have to be in place in advance I think. Colorado has been doing this forever, I received both a notice when my ballot was picked up from the box, and when my vote was counted and both were in October. Having said that, most poll workers are volunteers and seniors and it requires a commetment of manpower, usually volunteers who are supervised, through the preious month and not just beginning in November.

Suemn said...

This waiting for the results is nerve racking isn't it?

Arkansas Patti said...

Don't feel badly, I lived in Florida during the counting of the "hanging chad" incident with Gore and Bush. Talk about embarrassing. Things could be worse. I like Barb's state in counting them as they came in.
Just be glad when this is all over with.

Fred said...

AP was not alone in calling AZ for Biden. Surprisingly so did FOX news.
I can relate to your vote not counting. I live in TX and we know how that goes. It is getting closer at the national level but the state legislature has gerrymandered the voting districts and voting laws as much as possible.

Carole said...

It seems to me that for federal elections there should be universal rules and regulations in place governing how votes are counted, including absentee ballots. The fact that each state has its own set of rules is maddening and just adds to the confusion, inviting mistrust and lawsuits.

It's still a nail biter, but looks like Biden will win. It will be refreshing to have someone in office that actually understands the word presidential.

DJan said...

I'm not surprised that it is taking so long, since because of the pandemic many people voted by mail. I just don't understand why those votes are counted AFTER the same-day votes. Makes no sense to me whatsoever.

Linda Myers said...

My husband and I vote in Washington State. The website said our ballots were mailed on October 4. I was in Washington until October 31. The ballots didn't show up, and I asked for replacements on October 18. They didn't show up. So on October 28 we went online, voted online, printed out our ballots and put them in our city's ballot box.

We got to Tucson on October 31. We'd asked for our mail to be held there as of October 28. Guess what had been held? Our Washington ballots.

Persistence and patience!

Janette said...

No need to apologize. Someone has to be slow.it helps to keep the entire population from throwing up all at the same time(no matter who wins or loses). Highest voter turn out ever. Wow! Amazing,

Anonymous said...

I'm a lifelong Pennsylvanian, and I am not the slightest bit embarrassed by this situation; I am infuriated by it. It is the intentional ploy of a few Republican legislators who are determined to undermine free and fair elections. Think Mitch McConnell without the Southern accent. They have gerrymandered the state beyond any reason. For this election during a worldwide pandemic, with a larger population of senior residents than most states, and the predictable result that more residents would choose to avoid the polls in person, they refused to allow anything that would speed up the vote counting. The votes could not be counted before the election, and the poll workers were not even permitted to open up the envelopes and smooth out the ballots so that they would go through the machines more easily until the day after the election. And changing the deadline repeatedly only sowed confusion. Then consider the population difference of Pennsylvania vs a state like Nevada! We had something like 1.5 million ballots to process! I've had it with the media treating our state as if we were unable to cope with this situation - it was a deliberate ploy by these guys. This is unconscionable, and I for one hope that they get booted out of office so that this kind of thing will never happen here again.

Anonymous said...

I have to tell you that this Pennsylvania resident isn't thrilled to live in "an important swing state." It meant a greater than usual number of visits by the traveling coronavirus spreader event otherwise known as a Trump campaign rally. But yes, I'll be embarrassed for my state if, in fact, the PA vote goes to Trump - for the second time. As to not being allowed to start counting mail in votes till November 3, we have our Republican state legislature to thank for that, and I hope people paid attention to the down ballot candidates in this election. A reader in Philadelphia.

Anonymous said...

@ Janette- Claiming that both 2020 candidates stink seems to be a common refrain among those Trump voters I know who feel somewhat uncomfortable with their choice, but voted for him anyway. I have not heard it said by those I know that voted for Biden.

Over here, I am a Never-Trump Republican that voted for Biden, and will most definitely NOT be throwing up as a result. I am, in fact, proud of my choice. Biden appears to be a good and decent man from what we know. Can the same be said of Trump?

Tamara

Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com said...

Hi Tom! Actually I am counting on YOUR vote to be counted and save us for the Orange Plague! As of Thursday evening there is talk that PA might be turning and will bring us to a Blue victory. Yes it is all a mess but am keeping fingers crossed that there is sanity and something better at the end. ~Kathy

Plynjyn said...

As a resident of Harrisburg, and a lifelong Pennsylvanian, I am happy that our state can be the one to put our native from Scranton into the White House. The very large main post office a mile from my home had 3 machines removed and hours were cut. The box outside in the parking lot was overflowing and yet folks risk their mail being blown away and kept jamming envelopes into it on a Sunday. I feel the frustration too as Cumberland County, where I used to live, only began opening their ballots Wednesday morning. This is where the Army War College is located. They claim they didn’t have the manpower or facility to begin until then. This morning we only need a few more mail-in ballots, including mine which was validated as received in Dauphin County on October 13, to put our native son Joey Biden into the Oval. His brother Jim, who looks just like him, was at a conference in Hershey when Joe was VP. I saw him from the back and thought it was our VP and got very excited. Today we can all breathe again and hopefully get the Senate a Democrat or two more since we need to get things done. Since Biden was a lifelong senator, he will know how to work across the aisle with folks from his years there, to at least work on much needed infrastructure. I am so relieved that the superspreader rallies in Montoursville, PA and Hickory, NC where I have family are over, since we are experiencing record numbers of new cases of COVID.

Olga said...

Like Biden, I was born is Scranton, PA. Also like Biden's, my family left the state. Now, according to Trump, those of us who left cannot claim PA as our native state so that's okay with me.

Tabor said...

If Presidents were elected by voters instead of the Electoral College this would make more sense. The popular vote is how they do it in most other developed countries.

gigi-hawaii said...

Never mind, Biden won the election.

Retirement Confidential said...

If all goes well, we will thank God for Pennsylvania!

Kay said...

It’s midday Friday in Hawaii and I see that Biden is leading by a very small margin in Pennsylvania. I’m keeping all my fingers and toes crossed.

Barb said...

Colorado jo8n the "pact of states " who want a national vote. More states need to have this vote at the statewide level fir it to become national.

concerned citizen said...

Tom,

We can look at the problem from another angle: The electoral college system is flawed. It might have worked well in the past but is increasing causing problem. I think the country is smart enough to figure out some improvement --- Just as the US independence from England was an improvement. Why should the welfare of many people in the blue states and the red states be ignored and the presidential candidates (as well as the aftermath of the whole country) to spend energy and resources on just a few purple states? It is absolutely not equal representation. There is a movement started to solve this and I hope the citizens will work towards making this a reality.. the more people devote energy and effort, the more hope there will be. This is for reference:

https://www.nationalpopularvote.com/written-explanation?fbclid=IwAR1bGQwXtoKRopye17ECHs1MwxPjTL6i8sgSEI9LuRs6a0650ZUm6T4ihmQ.

The current system is like playing with russian roulette, a few hundred people in a swing state may decide the US presidency for the next 4 years opposite to the mandate indicated by the more obvious difference in the popular votes.

However, one may argue that we still want the current way as this is the only way to have my way. This behavior is selfish. Hope we all can see through it.

Barb said...

Like tamara, I'm proud to have voted for Biden. There are no perfect candidates but I had no problem voting for him. Trump folks who voted for him a second time knowing who and what he us? I do, fi politics in my blog and will story. Today Trump filed 40 lawsuits and lost every single one.

Plynjyn said...

I am sitting here with chills of joy!!! NBC just announced at 11:30 AM, PA just made our native son President-elect Biden. After the horrors of 45 , knowing we have made this official is very emotional for me. My daughter’s married last name is Harris and to have a woman named Harris as Vice President elect makes this week of stressful finger crossing feel like my nerves have now been coated with a calmness I can finally embrace. Prayers have been answered! Even the Trump supporters on the steps of our state capital here in Harrisburg can’t dim this feeling of exhilarating relief.

Fred said...

Thank you Pennsylvania.

Barb said...

God bless Pennsylvania (and Nevada, slow that they may be, lol), and yes, even Ariona, which I still expect Biden to win, albeit not by much.

Anonymous said...

The National Vote is a fantasy. It will never be ratified by the 38 states needed to ratify an amendment. Most Americans do not want live in a dictatorship of the coastal elites.
On the night voters rejected Trump they also rejected Socialism and Identity politics.

The Democratic Party has lost votes of Working Class, Whites, Blacks and Hispanics while gaining the support of Rich White People in the suburbs.

Sue said...

Dear Tom and Friends, i was one of those mail-in voters, because of the psy-ops covid, was afraid the polls would be a social-distancing nightmare - and then driving home in the dark (night vision issues).

DavidH said...

Pennsylvania was not irrelevant. The election was decided by Pennsylvania. The problem was the Republican legislature. They would not allow any vote counting until Election Day. Fix the legislature and you fix the problem.

Anonymous said...

baby boomers are going to get abused and treated like garbage in the retirement homes. Thanks to Trump pissing off every group of people, literally everyone hates baby boomers now. Maybe you boomers shouldn't have been so selfish and ruined your children's future with your short-sighted greed. Enjoy those retirement homes, and good luck, boomers!

Debby said...

I was not embarrassed by Pennsylvania at all. A motion was brought to begin counting mail in votes early. The Republicans fought back to tie new voting limitations in. The democrats fought back. It really is unethical to change the rules of ballot submission while the election is actually happening. So no agreement was reached. You have to understand that it some places more mail in votes were received that actual ballots cast on election day. It took a while, and the 3 people in charge of elections said that it WOULD take a while. The Republicans took it as an opportunity to sow doubt about the validity of the election. It's not. There is no reason for shame. The counting had to be done with every attention to detail because it was known that those results would be challenged from the beginning. I'm ashamed of tRUMP and the people who are too foolish to see his dishonesty and his greed.

In the end, it came right, we all survived it, and Biden and Harris gave lovely speeches. I cried.

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