I just got back from voting. The Marshalls are lucky: we can see the school where our polling place is from our breakfast room window. And yet one of our neighbors, who could walk over to vote in less than 5 minutes, told me yesterday that he mailed in his ballot.
He also voted early. Early voting appeals to knee-jerk partisans, and encourages blind and ill-informed voting. That is especially true in contests like the Virginia Governor’s race, where Terry McAuliffe did or said something almost every day that further illustrated what a bottom-feeding example of the worst of American politics he is.
Yesterday, for example, McAuliffe lied outright (again) describing a Glenn Youngkin (his GOP opponent)-Trump event that didn’t exist. “Guess how Glenn Youngkin is finishing his campaign?” McAuliffe told the crowd at his final rally. “He is doing an event with Donald Trump here in Virginia!” No, Trump wasn’t in Virginia and he never campaigned with Youngkin, though McAuliffe spent the final weeks of the campaign pretending that the two were conjoined twins.
Writing about the latest McAuliffe “the ends justifies the means” tactic as he tries to fend off defeat, Ann Althouse, in one of her proud detached moods, writes, “I certainly hope the vote count at the end of the day shows that McAuliffe has lost, because if it doesn’t, people won’t believe it, and I don’t like that kind of chaos.” Oh, it’s the chaos Ann doesn’t like! Her studied remove from such matters is ultimately unethical: the reason McAuliffe should lose is because he deserves to, and if a candidate can be elected governor who lies as routinely as McAuliffe compounded by his other well-documented unethical proclivities, then good citizens everywhere have reason to be alarmed. She is right about the chaos, however. There is no question that if McAuliffe and Virginia Democrats could devise a way to fix this election, they would.
As is often the case, I found myself voting against candidates rather than for them. Youngkin has no business being a governor: he essentially bought the GOP nomination. I’ll usually go with the devil I don’t know rather than the devil I do. After all, sometimes people surprise you.
When I got to the school gymnasium where we vote, I was told I needed to put on a mask, because that is required in Virginia schools. “Oh no you don’t,” I said. “You can’t require me to wear a mask to vote.” “Yes, but you have to wear a mask to enter a school,” she said, explaining the Catch-22. “If you like, you can vote outside.”
“Where it’s raining and 45 degrees?” I said. At that point, I wished I were black and could argue that this was a scheme to restrict minority voting. “OK, I’ll take your mask, but this is wrong, and I resent it.” I repeated my objections to the poll staff inside. “If you have to wear a mask to enter a school, than the state shouldn’t use schools for polling,” I said. “It is a de facto illegal limit on the right to vote.”
“Well, these are extraordinary times,” one woman handing out ballots said. KABOOM! There went my head.
“Extraordinary, so you’re justified restricting access to the franchise? It doesn’t work like that. If I had time, I’d challenge this,” I said.
Of course, that’s what they count on: nobody wants the hassle of fighting against such abuses. As for the mask, it was the worst of the worst, paper, ill-fitting, literally useless. Worse than useless, in fact, because I couldn’t see when I had it on as my glasses fogged up. “I’m informing you now that when I sit down to fill out the ballot, I’m taking this mask off, because it’s the only was I can see well enough to vote,” I said.
‘That’s OK,” she said. Well, in truth it isn’t OK: the school requires wearing masks at all times. If I can take off the mask to vote, why do I have to wear it to check in, or to be handed the ballot? I was sorely temped to make that point, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.
UPDATE: It looks like I’m not the only voter being afflicted by mask issues in Virginia.
26 thoughts on “Election Ethics In Northern Virginia [UPDATED!]”
Do people really think that if McAuliffe loses the democrats won’t cause chaos by claiming the election was rigged?
Election chaos seems likely to occur regardless of outcome for the foreseeable future. Challenging election results is now a bipartisan endeavor, which is what I believe the left is really upset about in regards to Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was rigged. Rigged election results were supposed to be a leftist talking point, not a real complaint.
I do not recall ever voting early with the exception of one year when I was in college voting by absentee ballot. My university was 8 hours away from where I was registered to vote rendering in person voting impossible. Otherwise, I’ve always voted in person on Election Day. It’s more fun that way. Something about mail in voting seems very anti-social and boring.
I was very intrigued that FiveThirtyEight.com had Youngkin up by 1% yesterday, and 0.9% today. That bodes very well for Youngkin.
Of course, I’m over here in Wyoming and don’t know even the slightest implications of how Youngkin or McAuliffe will impact Virginia. I suppose we should ask how ethical it is to be so concerned about the results of a gubernatorial election of another state, when from this distance we’re just using it as a bellwether of elections to come.
I wonder how interested the rest of the nation will be in the Wyoming primaries when challengers arise to try to displace Liz Cheney?
I’ll be very interested in whether Cheney survives the primary. I assume that whoever wins the Republican primary is likely to win the general election — is that true?
I think the national media will be interested in Cheney’s primary as a referendum on Trump. If Cheney wins, I suspect they’ll lose interest.
This particular election is more than just a bellwether, though. The results of this clusterfuck will reverberate through the ongoing clusterfuck in Washington, D.C. A decisive Youngkin win will put a lot more doubt in the minds of more moderate Democrats who may not be 100% on board with the Build Back Better Bullshit, but have been able to avoid staking out a position thanks to Sinema and Manchin running out front and taking all the heat. A strong Republican victory in Virginia probably means that on-the-bubble Democrats who might face competitive races in 2022 will batten down the hatches and go into full self-preservation mode, which would likely mean the end of Biden’s “transformative” agenda.
Our son – who moved from Phoenix in September and now lives in a Richmond suburb – was able to get on the rolls in time to vote. Unfortunately, his wife missed the 10/12 deadline.
You should have refused and had them arrest you. Oh, I forgot where you are. You probably would have been thrown into a pit and denied bail since that seems to be how they deal with trespassing there.
Oh, that wouldn’t have mattered, but I have a 3 hour seminar to teach today, and people are depending on me. Bad day for a stand.
Question: how is this a restriction if they’re handing out masks for free for people to wear? And they gave you the option to vote outside as well correct?
Huh? Wearing a mask is not a requirement for voting. What if they require American flags, or beanies, or skirts? There is no attire requirement for voting. They can’t require vaccinations, and they couldn’t bar me if I were showing symptoms of the Wuhan virus. And what part of “raining outside” did you miss? In addition, as I have been reliably informed, voting outside required special arrangements that added a lot of time to the process.
Actually some states do have rules you’re not allowed to wear political attire to the voting polls. Virginia used to be such a place a few years ago, but I believe removed that restriction. DC you still can’t wear political attire.
You also can’t show up naked either obviously.
But back to my point you said they think they’re justified restricting access to the franchise.
But how are they restricting access to the franchise if you were given the option to vote outside?
And I repeat what I wrote: they cannot make it any more uncomfortable or difficult for me to vote than anyone else. And it appears that this will be litigated.
But you obviously don’t believe having to wear clothes is restrictive or difficult right?
Question again: Why would it be more difficult or restrictive for you to vote outside since the option is there?
You can also mail in your ballot.
1. A Department of Elections directive saying voters must be admitted to polling places, masked or unmasked.
2. It is ILLEGAL not to wear clothes in public. You’re not even a competent troll.
3. I oppose mail-in ballots unless someone legitimately cannot get to the polls, and as I said, I am virtually next door.
4. I said it was raining, and cold. Nothing was set up.
5. Next deliberately repetitive reply, and you get banned.
I know it’s illegal to not wear clothes, but you don’t believe wearing clothes is uncomfortable or difficult for you correct?
I wish to have a discussion about you saying the mask requirement made it difficult and uncomfortable for you and restricted your ability to vote.
But you could mail in your ballot, or vote outside. And they gave you a free mask. So I am quite confused about your take on this.
1. If there really was such a directive, then they were wrong.
3. I agree with you, but, unfortunately, a lot of states see this as the chance to move toward an all-mail voting system like Washington State (which also hasn’t had a GOP governor since 1986, but that’s just a coincidence, I’m sure).
4. If that’s the case it was a dumb offer.
Mask wearing is contraindicated for people with some health issues, such as asthma, making the mask requirement discriminatory. Some people cannot wear them, therefore it is voter suppression. This isn’t complicated.
But how is it suppressive if you can still vote outside? Or mail in your ballot?
You cannot mail your ballot on Election Day, and even if you could, preventing some voters from voting the same way everyone else can is voter suppression.
Making people vote outside is also voter suppression. Singling people out and ostracism are vote suppression. You want grandma with an oxygen tank to have to sit out in the rain and cold to vote? That is voter suppression.
What if next time they require a proof of Covid Vaccine? Because they are required in California schools, and others will follow, no doubt. For the public good, of course…
1. You’re right: the ‘studied remove” of Anne Althouse is really not needed now.
2. “Virginia Voters Denied Entry to Polling Place for Refusing to Mask (But No ID, No Problem)”. I think an examination of this is required: as we’ve learned from other states, the most political and ridiculous state official is usually the very one who should be non-partisan and occasionally think things through: the secretary of state (a title that varies among states but the one in charge of election practices, ballot counting, and voting systems). PA in the last presidential election, e.g., allowed mail in ballots but the big (Big!) restriction was that they had to be postmarked by election day !! What? Thus ensuring that this real keystone state would not be able to report out the vote for at least a week! But I digress…
3. I am in Virginia, too, and for the first time will watch the gubernatorial election returns. Hope I survive it.
Looks like Youngkin pulled it out. On to another crimson tide in 2022. Rooooll Tide!
If anyone thinks that a temporary rejection of current conditions is any indication that Blue voters realize that it is the Blue worldview that leads to current crappy conditions, they need to think again. The nation is still becoming more blue. Virginia is still a blue state.
I don’t even know what that means. Look at the red-blue map. What you have is some intense progressive communities that serve as bedrooms for Washington lawyer and bureaucrats. I don’t think most of them are even Virginians–I’d love to see how many move out once the administration changes, to be replaced by clones of essentially the same standard elitist progressive attitudes. In my neighborhood, there were literally almost no campaign signs for Republicans anywhere, even outside the polling place.
I also see no evidence that the country is becoming more “blue,” unless you measure that by cultural acceptance of certain long-time agenda items like same-sex marriage. I think the West coast has gone nuts, and that warps everything. Take away Oregon, Washington and California (please!), and what is left is a very conservative country.
A thin victory in VA isn’t a “rebuke”. It’s a “disenchanted leftists didn’t show up”.
Don’t think for a minute the leftists that didn’t show up had any remote epiphany about the awfulness of their political views. No, they still hold them, and they’ll show up in 2022 and 2024.
Virginia is a blue state. This is a fluke centered almost entirely around the education issue and the “let’s just call people racists” issue.
I think merely changing the rhetoric will show that VA is still comfortably blue.
McAuliffe would have been blown out of the water if early voting didn’t exist. I guarantee a substantial quantity of early voters regretted their decision to vote for McAuliffe.
I’m in Colorado who has had mail in voting for a while now. I actually really like it. I’m aware there are issues, but I feel I’m more informed on the amendments after reading them on the ballots with my blue book at the kitchen table. I can sit with it for a few days and decide, and I vote more consistently not going to a polling place. But yes… your reasons for not are also valid. I realize there are problems. One problem is college kids. They register to vote here and at home and so can vote twice and I’m pretty sure no one would ever know. But I digress, the real problem is people move and then you have piles of ballots at the building. Our state requires a signature validation and the ballots are mailed to each county clerk where they count them. Also, last time there was a few counties with over 100% voting turnout. I get people move, etc. I can’t recall the exact number, 108% I believe?