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.