We voted Friday after work, at a polling center a mile from Chez UpintheValley, not far from our normal precinct. There were eight poll workers waiting for us. The place was empty.
They scanned my bar code and I signed for a ballot on a mobile device. The officiant checked a box cancelling the vote by mail ballot sent to our house.
The ballot was a long piece of thermal paper I inserted into the machine. I worked my way through a series of touch screens. Upon completion I was prompted to review my choices. The tabulator then printed them on the ballot itself, and I was prompted to confirm the physical document matched what was shown onscreen. All was copacetic. I pushed the VOTE button and the machine sucked the ballot inside.
Let’s review. An idiot-proof process, with two fail safe moments, an electronic signature printed on the ballot, a PDF of which is on file with the County Clerk. An electronic tabulation sent to the Board of Elections, and a hard copy to be held in the event of a manual recount.
The imperatives of convenience and integrity duly satisfied, I left with a bounce in my step and an “I Voted” sticker affixed to my shirt like a Boy Scout badge.
Why would we ever alter this? Why would we mass mail unsolicited ballots to every address in the county, and allow those ballots to be collected or completed by ballot harvesters, members of paid advocacy groups? Why would we allow for drop boxes when we have the Postal Service? Why would we allow a growing portion of the ballots to enter the system without a chain of custody?
Above all, why do we no longer have an Election Day? What reason, but for fraud, do we allow ballots to be accepted for 7 days after this Tuesday?
You didn’t know that? Neither did I until the primary in June, when Rick Caruso “won” the vote 41-38, only to “lose” in July, 43-36, after all the E+7 ballots trickled in.
That’s what they call it. E+7. If it has a plus sign, it must be harmless, right? Helpful. Progressive and Good. The Times deployed various linguistic constructions to explain the tardy ballots: last minute; late arriving; or just late; while remaining awfully coy as to just what the percentages were, before and after Election Day.
Allowing large tranches of votes to arrive after Tuesday is like allowing extra innings in a game in which one team is leading by a run with three outs in the bottom of the ninth. It’s a form of do-over.
Get ready for plenty more of this pre-emptive scolding, pre-bunking, to use NPR terminology, encouraging you to discount the evidence of your own eyes, and the memory sickness you retain of the old, bad, revanchist America of 1776-2016, when votes were tabulated on Election night.
What happens if Rick Caruso is leading by two points on Tuesday? Around the rest of the country -Red States mainly- races will be tabulated and called by midnight, concession speeches made, recriminations begun, but in L.A….the gaslighting descends.
As hours become days of uncertainty, in which no local journalist demands explanation from the Kremlin-like County Clerk in Norwalk, and we are progressively acclimated to the idea Los Angeles as uniquely helpless in tabulating votes in a timely manner..is anyone going to do anything about it?
If the numbers are going against Bass, I can guarantee the Democratic Socialists of America, Los Angeles chapter will be doing something. They’ve been working for this moment. They have their shit together. They’re organized. This is their make-or-break year.
You and me? We’re only homeowners in the Valley. Back in the day, we passed Prop. 13 and stopped busing in its tracks. Now we’re just schmucks with unconfirmed claims™…