Patterico's Pontifications

8/17/2020

The Post Office Controversy: Analyzing the Defenses That Say There’s No Need to Panic

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



A controversy over the Postal Service is raging on the Internets and across the nation, and social media is as usual bringing out the worst in everyone. Resistance Lefties are posting pictures of locked mailboxes without checking to see if mail can be delivered on the other side of the box through a slit (it can). Righties are treating it all like a big joke, posting GIFs of people in tin foil hats in response to anyone who dares raise questions about whether Trump could ever manipulate areas of government under his control for his personal benefit instead of the country’s benefit. One wag observed that the term “going postal” has a new meaning now:

Because the facts have been murky, I have been reluctant to weigh in. But yesterday, Jay Caruso, someone I respect, linked a Medium article by a supply chain expert that purports to debunk the conspiracy theories over USPS, and Jay has followed up today with his own piece. The articles appear reliable and credible and chock full of facts, so I urge you to read both, but in this post I want to focus on what I perceive to be two major holes in the defenses, as a way of moving the conversation forward.

The first has to do with the removal of mailboxes. Jay says:

It’s another routine procedure the postal service carries out, utilizing data to move underused mailboxes to areas with more volume. That doesn’t matter as photos of flatbed trucks, loaded up with mailboxes have gone viral, providing more “proof” of the sabotage. What also does not make sense for any conspiracy to take place is the photos of mailboxes getting removed hail from states such as California, Oregon, and New Jersey — states Hillary won in 2016 by a collective 55 points. The USPS said they’d stop in the face of the panic, and that’s ridiculous because it lends credibility to the panic.

This is largely the defense to other areas of concern, by the way, such as the removal of mail sorting machines: it’s routine and it’s a plan that has been in motion for a while, so relax! it’s not a conspiracy! But Jay acknowledges elsewhere, quite rightly, that Trump does not deserve the benefit of the doubt: “Trump doesn’t make it easy to dismiss concerns. . . . Now, with all of the said, is there a reason for concern? Yes. Absolutely. Trump has not earned the benefit of the doubt with him openly claiming mail-in voting is not possible with the $25 billion.” (Jay says that’s not true but the point is that Trump linked the two. As we will see below, through, I think there is some evidence that funding is indeed linked to whether mail-in voting can work properly.)

So the real question in each case, whether it’s removing mailboxes or sorting machines, is this: is this truly a routine efficiency measure, or is that explanation a cover for something more sinister?

The Medium article begins the mailbox removal analysis by raising the same argument that this is a routine efficiency measure that removes low-traffic boxes:

[T]here are costs associated with a low-use collect box, and there may come a time when the collection box become too much of a cost burden. It costs money to travel to and check a collection box that sits empty or collects very few envelopes. And collection boxes are moved all the time to adjust to the ebb and flow of mail volume. Given USPS’s financial crisis, it seems reasonable to believe that these changes were to increase efficiency.

Except that the article then cites evidence that this is excuse is not true:

However, a local news station in Montana checked on what collection boxes had been removed. Despite the justification that these mail collection boxes were rarely used, the boxes were in high traffic areas: outside a grocery story, next to a University, in downtown Missoula, etc.

So there’s still reason to doubt the official explanation. Please note that the removal of mailboxes has halted now that all of this public attention is focused on the policy. That’s great. Even if this was a crooked policy rather than a routine one (and the local station in Montana suggests it may have been) I believe in giving bad actors bonus points for stopping once they’re caught. It’s better than continuing.

Anyway, what all of this means for whether USPS is ready for the election onslaught, I’m not sure — although as we will see below, there is (I think) still great cause for concern. On one hand, the New York Times amasses anecdotal evidence of mail slowdowns as of late:

[I]nterviews with mail customers, election officials and postal workers in six battleground states show that mail delays — and 2020 worries — are widespread.

In Ohio, where mail voting is likely to double, piles of undelivered mail are sitting in a Cleveland distribution center. In rural Michigan, diabetes medicine that used to arrive in three days now takes almost two weeks. In the Milwaukee area, dozens of trailers filled with packages are left behind every day. In New Glarus, Wis., the owners of the Maple Leaf Cheese and Chocolate Haus are worried their cheese will go bad now that deliveries that used to take two to three days are taking twice that.

But the same article acknowledges that the rush at election time is nothing compared to Christmas, and we should be just fine … well, as long as the operational changes don’t affect that ability:

Experts agree that the Postal Service has the raw capacity to absorb additional ballots, even if 150 million people decided to vote by mail. In the month before Christmas every year, carriers deliver billions of pieces of mail and packages.

“When you think about it from the standpoint of how much mail they handle, even in their currently diminished state, if every registered voter in the entire country voted by mail, that would be something they could still easily handle,” said Arthur Sackler, who runs the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service, a lobbying group representing bulk mailers. “The question is whether these operational changes will have any impact on their ability to do so.”

This leads me to what is by far my biggest concern. Washington Post:

Anticipating an avalanche of absentee ballots, the U.S. Postal Service recently sent detailed letters to 46 states and D.C. warning that it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted — adding another layer of uncertainty ahead of the high-stakes presidential contest.

The letters sketch a grim possibility for the tens of millions of Americans eligible for a mail-in ballot this fall: Even if people follow all of their state’s election rules, the pace of Postal Service delivery may disqualify their votes.

That is flatly unacceptable — and as we will see, it appears to be a situation tied to levels of funding.

Jay’s defense here is that it’s a good thing that USPS is warning people about this change:

The letters were sent out, not because the USPS was concerned about their operations, but the laws governing mail-in ballots in states where they’ve expanded it this year. From the same article:

But the Postal Service gave 40 others — including the key battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida — more-serious warnings that their long-standing deadlines for requesting, returning or counting ballots were “incongruous” with mail service and that voters who send ballots in close to those deadlines may become disenfranchised.

Emphasis again is mine. Pennsylvania, for example, has a deadline of October 27th to request a ballot. That’s one week before the election, and the deadline for the ballot to get counted is November 3rd. Note, that is when the county election office must receive the ballot. A postmark will not suffice.

The other point to consider is this: If DeJoy wanted to sabotage the post office to favor Trump, why on earth would the USPS warn states about their laws governing mail-in ballots?

My problem is not with the warning, but with the changes that USPS has made that make the warning necessary. I turn again to the Medium piece that Jay was linking on Twitter yesterday, which says this:

When local election officials distribute pre-paid postage envelopes with absentee ballots, they have two options: use First Class Mail or use Marketing Mail. First Class Mail is more expensive but faster (2–5), whereas Marketing Mail is cheaper but slower (3–10 days).

Apparently, USPS has informally treated both types of election mail the same, expediting both whenever possible. So local election officials have been opting for Marketing Mail in order to save on costs. (Side bar: elections are funded at the local level and chronically underfunded.)

But USPS cannot do that anymore, because it’s costly. And therefore, election mail will be treated as its paid category. This means some election officials may be advising voters to return ballots on timelines that wouldn’t actually meet the state law’s deadlines.

The bolded language, to me, sure looks like a claim that USPS has made a change to the way it has traditionally handled election mail. In the past, they have prioritized election mail, whether designated First Class or not. Now, they won’t be doing that any longer, and untold numbers of voters could have their votes invalidated as a result. They are evidently citing the fact that it’s “costly” to treat election mail as First Class when it’s not being paid for. Well, if cost concerns are the issue, then they need money.

The problem is, Trump started much of this brouhaha by saying he opposed extra money for USPS, saying that because if USPS doesn’t get the money, you can’t do mail-in voting — and he’s against mail-in voting.

President Donald Trump said Thursday that he opposes much-needed funding for the United States Postal Service because he doesn’t want to see it used for mail-in voting this November.

. . . .

“They want three and a half billion dollars for something that’ll turn out to be fraudulent, that’s election money basically. They want three and a half billion dollars for the mail-in votes. Universal mail-in ballots. They want $25 billion, billion, for the Post Office. Now they need that money in order to make the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said, repeating his false claims that mail-in voting would be “fraudulent.”

“But if they don’t get those two items that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because you they’re not equipped to have it,” Trump added.

Trump has since walked that back, sort of, saying that he will sign a bill for extra funding if Democrats give him other concessions. That is meaningless talk, as he can always say they didn’t give enough. If he’s not made to sign the bill through public pressure, he can always justify refusing to give USPS the money it needs to treat all election mail as First Class, so that people who follow the rules don’t have their ballots disqualified.

This, to me, is a genuine emergency. We are in the middle of a pandemic, in case you have forgotten. (Hey Siri insert smiley face emoji.) Mail-in voting has real problems, but for a lot of people, it’s going to be the only option — or at least, many people will sincerely believe that. If people follow the rules, their vote must count, and USPS cannot cite cost concerns as a reason to change their procedures for handling election mail under these circumstances. It’s unforgivable at best, and given Trump’s stated preference and his history of manipulating government for personal benefit, it’s a conspiracy to steal the election at worst. But we don’t have to leap to the latter conclusion to say it’s unacceptable in any event.

Yes, maybe USPS is whining for more money like every bureaucracy does. Maybe the evil unions are behind their position. I don’t care. Give them the pittance they say they need, but tell them they are jolly well handling every piece of election mail as if it’s the top priority. Nothing else is acceptable.

122 Responses to “The Post Office Controversy: Analyzing the Defenses That Say There’s No Need to Panic”

  1. Hello!

    Patterico (115b1f)

  2. The thing I most dislike about the Trump administration is the lack of competence. There are other things I can’t get past (such as the the lies, corruption, self dealing, expansion of federal executive power etc) But the incompetence is the worst.

    Time123 (b0628d)

  3. The bolded language, to me, sure looks like a claim that USPS has made a change to the way it has traditionally handled election mail. In the past, they have prioritized election mail, whether designated First Class or not. Now, they won’t be doing that any longer, and untold numbers of voters could have their votes invalidated as a result. They are evidently citing the fact that it’s “costly” to treat election mail as First Class when it’s not being paid for. Well, if cost concerns are the issue, then they need money.

    The Chicago Board of Elections prepaid First Class Mail for the return of my ballot. $0.50, machine-stamped, good for a letter up to 3.5 ounces. It weighed less than 1 ounce. (One ounce is the weight of 28 dollar bills for those who didn’t pay attention in chemistry class.) I didn’t notice what they paid for sending it to me, but it doesn’t matter, I got it several weeks before Election Day.

    So like “mail early”, it’s a “problem” fixable locally. Tell the local election authorities to spring for First Class.

    nk (1d9030)

  4. The USPS can handle the volume, but it really is about the delays. Trump said it in his own words, which are the official policy of the Office of the President. He intends to undermine an American election by slowing mail delivery, which opens the door to impugning the integrity of our electoral system, and he’s doing because I’m guessing that he’s pretty sure he’s going to lose. Consider what’s been happening.
    One, Trump has spent months railing on mail-in balloting, claiming without evidence that they open the door to widespread fraud, and that it could take months, maybe years, to count all those votes.
    Two, a Trump mega-donor is made CEO of USPS, and a majority of the board who picked him are Trump appointees.
    Three, we hear about mailboxes being removed.
    Four, we hear about hundreds of sorting machines to be removed.
    Five, we hear about warnings from USPS about mail-in voting delays that could disenfranchise voters.
    Six, we hear about postal workers forbidden from taking overtime, causing more delays.
    Seven, he literally said that he’d rather not fund the USPS in order to stymie mail-in voting.
    It could all be coincidence, this sequence of events. Or maybe it’s not a coincidence. I don’t believe Trump is smart enough to mastermind this strategy himself, but he has minions, some of whom aren’t dumb.

    Paul Montagu (52bb2d)

  5. If the Dem’s were smart (they’re not) AOC would use her 60 seconds to introduce an elderly vet who can’t get their social security check or mail order medicine due to postal delay. This magical veteran would spend their time talking about how sad they are the the letter they wrote to their grandson serving in Afghanistan didn’t arrive before he was killed.

    Instead she’ll probably read the opening to Das Kapital in Spanish.

    Time123 (b0628d)

  6. Am I the only one that actually knows postal workers and has spoken to them about the issues at the office, the waste, and the corruption involved in the union?

    But just throw away more money and claim it’s for election integrity. Then in the next breath complain that Trump is spending money on wasteful projects and destroying our future.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  7. @6 3rd Option would be to work on both reform and supporting the election. But that would require basic competence.

    Time123 (ae9d89)

  8. Yes, maybe USPS is whining for more money like every bureaucracy does. Maybe the evil unions are behind their position. I don’t care. Give them the pittance they say they need, but tell them they are jolly well handling every piece of election mail as if it’s the top priority. Nothing else is acceptable.

    The Postal Service Governing Board – appointed by Donald Trump – requested the $25B that was in the coronavirus package, and that Trump said he would deny them, back in April, due to losses resulting from the virus:

    The bipartisan Postal Service Board of Governors, which was appointed by President Donald Trump, is asking Congress for aid. That includes $25 billion in emergency appropriations to offset losses due to the pandemic and a $25 billion grant to fund modernization projects at the Postal Service, lawmakers said Thursday. The board also is asking for $25 billion in unrestricted borrowing from the Treasury Department.

    The Postmaster General at the time (who has since retired and been replaced by a Trump mega-donor and RNC apparatchik) testified about it to the House last Spring.

    Dave (1bb933)

  9. Time,

    I don’t believe that Social Security sends out paper checks these days. It’s received through direct deposit or a Social Security debit card.

    Anyway, not just medication not being received in a timely manner, but given that we are in a pandemic, are elderly people going to be willing to venture to their polling places to vote in person? I’m sure the preferable manner in which to vote is through mail-in ballot. So if there is a hangup in getting ballots delivered in time, that’s going to present a big problem. Especially given that the elderly typically participate in voting in high numbers.

    Dana (292df6)

  10. The other point is that Trump has already tried to steal an election more than once, so he doesn’t get any benefit of the doubt with the Postal Service.
    Also, the US Postal Service has a monopoly on letter delivery, per the US Code. Congress should either change the law or ensure that letter delivery is done appropriately through adequate funding and oversight. It is Trump’s responsibility to execute Title 39 of the US Code.

    Paul Montagu (52bb2d)

  11. Even without the election, even without mail-in voting, kneecapping the Post Office, Amazon, and the other private delivery services during a pandemic which is killing a 1,000 Americans a day is the act of a corrupt criminal traitor in Putin’s pocket.

    nk (1d9030)

  12. 1. The NY Times coverage mentioned that as a cost-cutting measure the USPS has cut back on overtime. This has the union squawking and gives them an additional reason to say they can’t do their job without more money.

    As to whether that lack of overtime is crushing the USPS service, I wouldn’t really trust a Trump appointee, a union rep, or a NY Times reporter.

    2. It may be just a regrettable coincidence that the “no masks, no mail-ins, COVID not a big problem” crowd generally backs Trump. And a coincidence that the longest lines at polling places are normally in urban, Blue areas.

    3. Up above (Time123, 9:30 AM) suggests AOC ought to hand the mic to a elderly person who can’t get their Social Security check. You youngsters may not know but Social Security has gone All Electronic – direct deposit to either your bank account or a DirectExpress Debit Mastercard account.

    https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10073.pdf

    Tom Maguire (20243c)

  13. @9 Dana, I’m going to ignore the good points you made and just point out 2 things

    1. If that changed after 1990 Biden may not be aware of it.
    2. Neither Harris not AOC would let facts get in the way of a good story.

    Now as to your very good point about the impact this may have on voting. If the post office is the reason that absentee ballots aren’t counted in large number we might legitimately have doubt about who the real winner was.

    The best thing for out country, the very best thing, that could happen here is a plan to get every mailed ballot to where it wants to go within 48 hours of being mailed. A plan so aggressive and transparent that there’s no reasonable way people can say logistics, or malfeasance during transit had a significant impact. A plan that audacious enough that when an inevitable screw up is discovered it’s easy to agree that it was an accidental exception.

    If Trump were the fighter and leader his supporters think he is he’d say something along the lines of;

    “Universal vote by mail is a mistake. But since so many states have done it the USPS will not be the reason it doesn’t work. My post master general will be laying out how they’re going to make their system for election day the envy of the world.”

    But he’s not capable of that.

    Time123 (ae9d89)

  14. Even if people follow all of their state’s election rules, the pace of Postal Service delivery may disqualify their votes.

    The Wall Street Journal had an editorial today that said such letters were first sent out in May, before Trump’s new appointee as Postmaster General took over, and the new letters were composed before he did anything, and the Post Office was merely telling the truth.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-postal-services-good-election-advice-11597606836

    The USPS understandably does not want to be set up for failure, which is evident in the laconic comment of its spokeswoman. “The Postal Service,” she said Friday, “is asking election officials and voters to realistically consider how the mail works.”

    President Trump isn’t helping Mr. DeJoy with his contradictory claims that mail voting will be “rigged,” even as he says the USPS needs more money to execute it. But Democrats are as culpable for spinning post-office conspiracies without evidence. Barack Obama fed the political misinformation feedback loop on a podcast Friday by saying President Trump is trying to “actively kneecap the Postal Service.”

    The Postal Service is already kneecapped – that is election deadlines are being created that would have worked better 60 years ago.

    I didn’t read anywhere else about treating election mail as first class mail, but now I can see it. I think the letters said that the election mail deadlines the states were using were not consistent even with the delivery standards for first class mail.

    Even first class mail wouldn’t be delivered as fast as they seemed to be counting on. (this especially applied to the deadline for requewsting an absentee ballot, as most states allow for late delivery of ballots as long as they were postmarked on or before Election Day.

    The problem didn’t originate with the new Postmaster General, as the Democrats are trying to pretend, although he did slow mail delivery down by forbidding overtime and not hiring extra staff to replace people out sick, or because of more urgent mail, like they do after Thanksgiving.

    Sammy Finkelman (db2a13)

  15. As of June 17, 2020, Social Security was still mailing paper checks for some types of benefits. It is correct, though, that permanent periodic benefits for retirement or disability are electronic only.

    nk (1d9030)

  16. Thank you for the clarification, nk.

    Dana (292df6)

  17. Sorry. Fail not Gail. Tiny screen.

    Marci (b3d8a7)

  18. another thing is that the new Postmaster General is not entirely Trump’s appointee. [Boldface mine]

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-post-offices-problem-isnt-trump-11597360885

    “The notion that I would ever make decisions concerning the Postal Service at the direction of the President, or anyone else in the Administration, is wholly off-base,” Mr. DeJoy said last Friday. “I serve at the pleasure of the governors of the Postal Service, a group that is bipartisan by statute and that will evaluate my performance in a nonpartisan fashion.”

    Democrats’ big idea is to shovel money at the USPS. The latest House relief bill includes $25 billion purportedly to compensate the post office “for revenue forgone due to coronavirus.” Watchdogs have barked about these financial issues for years, so it isn’t credible to say the USPS merely needs pandemic relief. What it requires is reform. Privatization can’t pass Congress, so ignore that boogeyman. But lawmakers could give the USPS more freedom to act like a business: to raise prices if warranted; to close lonely, desolate post offices; to stop Saturday mail—or Wednesday mail if it comes to that.

    Or let it get into ancillary businesses. Print and deliver JPGs, or faxes or print and deliver text sent via email on demand. Some banking maybe.

    The big problem is supposed to be also that it has to prepay (pre-fund?) its pensions.

    https://ips-dc.org/how-congress-manufactured-a-postal-crisis-and-how-to-fix-it

    In 2006, Congress passed a law that imposed extraordinary costs on the U.S. Postal Service. The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) required the USPS to create a $72 billion fund to pay for the cost of its post-retirement health care costs, 75 years into the future. This burden applies to no other federal agency or private corporation.

    If the costs of this retiree health care mandate were removed from the USPS financial statements, the Post Office would have reported operating profits in each of the last six years. This extraordinary mandate created a financial “crisis” that has been used to justify harmful service cuts and even calls for postal privatization…

    Sammy Finkelman (db2a13)

  19. Mail-in voting has real problems, but for a lot of people, it’s going to be the only option — or at least, many people will sincerely believe that.

    Many people sincerely believe Elvis is still alive.

    But suddenly, we no longer need to “follow the science”.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/fauci-says-in-person-election-with-distancing-masks-is-safe-2020-8

    beer ‘n pretzels (8fedbd)

  20. Screwing w/t USPS has been a conservative-GOP-Newt-Gingrich-101 wet dream for years. Privatize, privatize, privatize. It’s the Essence of Evil. And thanks to this absurd-ant-Ben-Franklin-obsession, postal rates are scheduled to rise again o October 1.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  21. 10. Paul Montagu (52bb2d) — 8/17/2020 @ 10:00 am

    Also, the US Postal Service has a monopoly on letter delivery, per the US Code.

    Nobody else can use a mailbox set up for the Postal Service, but you can set up drop boxes. Or deliver by courier.
    to execute Title 39 of the US Code.

    Sammy Finkelman (db2a13)

  22. @20 I don’t think you read the article.

    “I think if carefully done, according to the guidelines, there’s no reason that I can see why that not be the case,” he told ABC News’ Deborah Roberts during a National Geographic event Thursday.

    Fauci compared the safety of casting a ballot in person to that of an in-person shopping trip to the grocery store in “counties and cities that are doing it correctly.”

    “They have X’s every six or more feet,” he added. “And it says, ‘Don’t leave this spot until the person in front of you left their spot.’ And you can do that, if you go and wear a mask, if you observe the physical distancing, and don’t have a crowded situation, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do that.”

    For people who are at greater risk of serious complications from COVID-19, Fauci said Thursday voters could cast their ballot by mail.

    “I mean, obviously if you’re a person who is compromised physically or otherwise, you don’t want to take the chance,” he said.

    Time123 (b0628d)

  23. @23: Of course, Time123, that’s been the case for umpteen elections. You can vote absentee for any of a number of reasons. If you’re one of those people that goes to Walmart for a t-paper run, but fear voting in person, go for it.

    That’s hardly what we’re talking about here.

    beer ‘n pretzels (6f7034)

  24. @24,

    1. Many poling places have problems with crowds and wait times. Mine once had a lengthy line to wait in. (typically not the case)
    2. People at high risk shouldn’t vote in person per his advice. I assume this means people who come in contact with ppl who are high risk.

    So he’s not saying “it’s safe to vote.” He’s saying “If the following can be true it’s safe for some people to vote.” Being concerned about voting in person isn’t anti-science per the article you linked.

    Time123 (ae9d89)

  25. First, here are a few grains of salt for you to use, as needed:
    [additional disclaimer: I am not even sure how much of the following I really believe]

    Honestly! Why does the party of climate change remain silent about the carbon footprint of the USPS? Except as fulfillment centers, there should be no need for the USPS.

    Over the last several years, I have been obliged by third parties, who have yet to embrace Secure email, to send forms by snail mail. By stark contrast, I conduct sensitive transactions, both private and public, securely online. The valid argument that the poor cannot afford the tech to conduct their affairs online as easily, or at all, may be a significant number, but I would say that they already account for the majority of the regular workload that the USPS presently handles.

    Why would anyone propose to increase the burden on the USPS, as well as increase the carbon footprint that is supposed to be so important? All my interactions with the IRS, banks, and other sensitive entities occur online – even more so during this pandemic.

    I find it frustrating that while vast sums are being invested in infrastructures upon which the world will increasingly depend, so much passion is being spent on mainaining the zombie that is the USPS. Would that the same forces that thought it so compassionate to end the life of Terry Schiavo, extend the same compassion to the USPS.

    I do not fault a person with a gangrenous leg who fights the surgeon in hopes of saving a doomed limb. But the wise saying “if one part of the body suffers, all the parts suffer with it” should be remembered.

    felipe (023cc9)

  26. Voting online is not secure, felipe. Not yet, anyway. Conceivably, in the future, instead of standing in line, you could Zoom to the election judges in your polling place, who’d check you out and in, and assign you an electronic voting booth good only for you and your ballot for the duration of your sign in.

    nk (1d9030)

  27. 1. Many poling places have problems with crowds and wait times. Mine once had a lengthy line to wait in. (typically not the case)
    2. People at high risk shouldn’t vote in person per his advice. I assume this means people who come in contact with ppl who are high risk.

    So he’s not saying “it’s safe to vote.” He’s saying “If the following can be true it’s safe for some people to vote.” Being concerned about voting in person isn’t anti-science per the article you linked.

    Time123 (ae9d89) — 8/17/2020 @ 11:20 am

    And those people can ask for an absentee ballot like they always have instead of trying to politicize the system.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  28. And those people can ask for an absentee ballot like they always have instead of trying to politicize the system.

    I dunno how it’s done where you are, but I have to ask for my mail-in ballot in Chicago. I have to give them the identical information on my voters registration card and the ballot will be mailed to the address they have for me on the registration roll.

    nk (1d9030)

  29. nk (1d9030) — 8/17/2020 @ 11:38 am

    you are right, of course. There are reasons for the current state of affairs, reasons over which I claim no mastery.

    felipe (023cc9)

  30. I dunno how it’s done where you are, but I have to ask for my mail-in ballot in Chicago. I have to give them the identical information on my voters registration card and the ballot will be mailed to the address they have for me on the registration roll.

    nk (1d9030) — 8/17/2020 @ 11:49 am

    Narciso linked above how it is done in the Soprano state. And that’s after obvious fraud in the primaries here in NJ.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  31. nk (1d9030) — 8/17/2020 @ 11:38 am

    By the way, I like your scenario! Well thought.

    felipe (023cc9)

  32. Tom Elliott
    @tomselliott
    ·
    In a bid to revitalize the USPS, @aoc proposes a “national progressive penpal program” to boost stamp sales.
    __ _

    $kodk $work
    @wario_chalmers
    ·
    “we need a green new deal. now!”

    “we need more paper mail delivered by trucks burning fossil fuels!”

    same congresswoman
    __ _

    David Adelman
    @OCDDavid
    ·
    Using a superior method of communication to promote an inferior one. Oh, the irony.
    __ _

    Stephen L. Miller
    @redsteeze

    She proposed this while on a face time app.
    _

    harkin (cd4502)

  33. vote in person or stay home

    mg (8cbc69)

  34. @30: In my blue state, they send me a mail in ballot whether I asked for it or not. This will make it convenient for me after I’m deceased.

    beer ‘n pretzels (afa9ec)

  35. vote in person or stay home

    mg (8cbc69) — 8/17/2020 @ 2:02 pm

    IOW: too bad so sad, old people.

    Dana (292df6)

  36. “Real conservatives” opposed motor-voter and voting without an ID. Now, they’re all in for mail in voting. Yep, they haven’t changed. Principles….

    beer ‘n pretzels (afa9ec)

  37. vote in person or stay home

    mg (8cbc69) — 8/17/2020 @ 2:02 pm

    IOW: too bad so sad, old people.
    Dana (292df6) — 8/17/2020 @ 2:12 pm

    Doggone right! Give me an online solution in the future. Let people use their banks accounts through which to vote. Too bad government departments have been politically weaponized. Banks would have a record of each “transaction.”

    Bad idea? There’s plenty from which to choose.

    felipe (023cc9)

  38. If you remain on the voter rolls after dying, anyone can walk up to a polling place and vote in your name without any ID or signature check. They don’t need to gain possession of your absentee ballot or match your signature.

    How is that more secure?

    Dave (1bb933)

  39. Judging from the elderly people I know, and those at my mom’s senior place, most elderly people don’t do banking or their taxes online. Mostly, if they go online, it’s usually email and perhaps a few games and familiar sites. I can’t imagine the current older generation readily adapting to online voting.

    Dana (292df6)

  40. @43. Yep.

    ‘The check is in the mail’ generation ain’t comfortable w/that aspect of online life.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  41. I think it’s a combination of things: fear of having their identity stolen, fear of technology, resentment that they are being compelled to adapt to the technology frontier when what they’ve *always done* has worked for them. Ex: writing checks. All of us typically have some fear about what’s unfamiliar and unknown but I think the younger we are, the more we are willing to make a leap into that unknown, as well as adapt to it.

    Dana (292df6)

  42. If you remain on the voter rolls after dying, anyone can walk up to a polling place and vote in your name without any ID or signature check.

    False alternative.

    People should not vote without an ID, regardless of method. Conservatives used to hold to that.

    And, checking boxes and putting it in the mail is much easier than showing your face at a polling place and voting as someone else. Not even comparable.

    beer ‘n pretzels (afa9ec)

  43. Dana (292df6) — 8/17/2020 @ 2:30 pm

    What? I don’t know whether to be insulted, or flattered. [grinning!]

    felipe (023cc9)

  44. @44

    Deezy-Eskanomics

    Dave (1bb933)

  45. Heh. I hit a point a year ago or so where I decided that I had burned up all the gray matter responsible for allowing me to be able to learn any new computer programs. I couldn’t bear the thought of yet one more password to scribble down somewhere because I just knew I’d forget what it was. And as it was, I was starting to forget where I put that scrap of paper that I had written it down on! P.S. It never occurs to me to just check on the PC, which stores the passwords… You gotta know your limitations.

    Dana (292df6)

  46. i’m old enough to remember when the dems wanted accountability in voting what was that 20 years ago, whenever democrats are at risk of losing they pull a scam, whether it be the butterfly ballot, Diebold! or the Russians are coming, it’s getting real old,

    bolivar de gris (7404b5)

  47. I am not against absentee voting. Mail order voting is a farce.

    mg (8cbc69)

  48. “I am not against absentee voting. Mail order voting is a farce.”

    What’s the difference?

    Davethulhu (b574b0)

  49. Fred Smith was a young college student studying for a degree in business. In a course in management, the syllabus included lessons on production and distribution. That got him thinking.

    At the time, there were only two delivery services: the USPS, which was inexpensive but slow and inefficient, and UPS, which was more expensive, a little quicker and less inefficient but still somewhat slow. So Smith came up with an idea, that he used as the subject of his term paper.

    Smith wrote that if a company set up a network of drop boxes, with designated collection times, in every city around the country, and distribution sites in each city, packages could be flown overnight to a centrally location national collection site and from there quickly sorted and flown to distribution centers in destination cities, which could then rapidly deliver the packages by truck. He argued that a distribution system such as this, properly designed, could guarantee next-day delivery, within 24 hours.

    The professor gave him a C and told him it would never work. So Fred Smith dropped out of college, took out a business loan, and founded Federal Express. Talk about an American success story.

    That literally changed everything. Think of all the next-day delivery services, most of them regionalized, that sprang up over the years. Jeff Bezos used Smith’s system as a model for his delivery system when he founded Amazon. Oh, and he dropped out of college too.

    You cannot tell me that there are not numerous other delivery services available, if you are concerned about your mail-in ballot not being delivered on time to be counted.

    As to the USPS, yeah, it’s a mess in serious need of reform. The thing is though that many elderly people are stuck in their ways. It’s like with my grandparents. All theses very nice restaurants everywhere around the city, yet they would only eat out at Luby’s, which was the first cafeteria-style restaurant, founded in San Antonio in the 1950s. They ate there when it opened, and they would only eat out there until they passed away. They loved Luby’s, and they were loyal to the bone. It’s the same with the elderly and the USPS. It’s what they grew up with and know. They can’t imagine using any other delivery system. Many of them are going to vote by mail in this election, out of fear of coronavirus infection at polling places. That could conceivably cause a lot of problems and delays in vote counting, but it is unavoidable in the midst of this pandemic.

    That said, my concern regarding this controversy is that DeJoy, a Trump mega-donor, has financial interests in other mail services. That smacks of cronyism. And, in my mind, is ample evidence that Trump, through DeJoy, is actively subverting, if not sabotaging, and suppressing mail-in voting.

    That is patently unconstitutional and a violation of the Voting Rights Act.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  50. What’s the difference?

    Who the vote is cast for.

    Dave (1bb933)

  51. Who’s casting the vote. Trump et ux are voting absentee.

    nk (1d9030)

  52. Mail order voting is a farce.

    In the 2018 cycle, that “farce” in WA State produced only 142 questionable ballots out of 3.1 million cast.

    Paul Montagu (52bb2d)

  53. Vote or drop-off your mail-in ballot in person.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  54. Paul,

    how many republicans are represented in Washington state since mail in voting? There’s almost a supermajority of leftist politicians now. I wonder why? Ever since the election was stolen from Rossi…

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  55. 52 – The motive of honest voting.

    mg (8cbc69)

  56. If you remain on the voter rolls after dying, anyone can walk up to a polling place and vote in your name without any ID or signature check. They don’t need to gain possession of your absentee ballot or match your signature.

    How is that more secure?

    Dave (1bb933) — 8/17/2020 @ 2:28 pm

    Not in my state. ID is required to vote. And they have multiple acceptable forms of IF, not just a drivers license.

    Marci (b3d8a7)

  57. What time does the hiden biden and never trumper basement convention start?

    mg (8cbc69)

  58. They allow their glorious presence at 10, ill be watching the rest of yellowatone season 3

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  59. I thought I read the 2 largest postal unions are endorsing demented joe/heels up/2020 –
    What could possibly go postal?

    mg (8cbc69)

  60. enjoy Bolivar di grizzlies

    mg (8cbc69)

  61. griz

    mg (8cbc69)

  62. 65… yeah and their union leaders call POTUS a “fascist”.

    What could possibly go wrong.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  63. Question: Does Trump even know how to mail a letter?

    nk (1d9030)

  64. Rob,
    WA State is really two states, the four-county area of 4.3 million from Olympia to Everett, which ranges from moderate left to moderate right in most places to strong liberal in Seattle (which numbers 760,000) and the rest of the 3.3 million in the state that is mostly Trump country. We haven’t had a Republican governor since the early 1980s but the legislature has flipped frequently from GOP to Dem and back. Right now, it’s Dem in both houses.
    Most folks outside Seattle (and quite a few Seattleites) shake their heads at the city council, not to mention the stream of ineffectual left-wing mayors.
    The fact remains that, since we started mail-in voting in 2011 (seven years after Rossi narrowly and legitimately lost, think Bush v. Gore), the system has worked well.
    As for party registration, there’s no official party registration, so precise numbers are hard to come by. The easiest measure is looking at bumper stickers and yard signs.

    Paul Montagu (52bb2d)

  65. “how many republicans are represented in Washington state since mail in voting? There’s almost a supermajority of leftist politicians now. I wonder why? Ever since the election was stolen from Rossi…”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Shea

    Davethulhu (b574b0)

  66. demented joe has been out of the basement one time for a trip to Pa since March. I’d say he is mailing it in.

    mg (8cbc69)

  67. Even the left-wing Atlantic magazine called her cackling during the [Colbert] segment a “laugh she often uses to deflect during television interviews.”
    “Even among those who are more sympathetic, the turnaround feels dizzying,” the Atlantic noted.

    Kamala Harris reinforced her reputation for servicing powerful men in exchange for some power for herself.

    https://thenationalpulse.com/commentary/kamala-clip-confirms-credentials-as-phony/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  68. They keep counting till they get a win. However many times they take.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  69. Sounds like a Romneykin trying to hide all the money she made from Russia, Russia, Russia

    mg (8cbc69)

  70. Seeing as one can get fired, deplatformed harassed at home, yes id be circumspect.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  71. Paul Montagu,

    I just got off the phone with an individual who lives in Mason County in the woods by the water, and he, along with nearly everyone there, seems very pumped for Trump. Whether Covid, or the USPS, hydroxychloroquine, or any other current issue, they are all one just big conspiracy against Trump and his possible re-election. Is is something in the water?? I’ve been up there many a times, and I personally think there are very few places can touch its staggering beauty, but the people, kind as they are, well, let’s just say… my goodness!

    Dana (292df6)

  72. With chip dillard as gov, is there any doubt.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  73. First Lady Sasquatch sure mailed it in, taping her convention jive last week.

    mg (8cbc69)

  74. OT, but anyone know how long a wasp sting’s localized discomfort lasts? Asking for myself since a yellow jacket snuck into my bedroom somehow and woke me up in a most unkind fashion this morning.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  75. That’s former First Lady Sasquatch, mg. The First Lady now is First Lady Barely A Step Up From Streetwalker.

    nk (1d9030)

  76. Will she steal Michelle’s speech again, you think?

    nk (1d9030)

  77. First Lady Sasquatch

    Why not attack her over her politics and what she has control over, rather than mock her height, over which she has no control? This especially as I’ve never once heard you use that insulting term when talking about our current First Lady, who is the exact same height as the previous First Lady: 5’11”. Why is that?

    Dana (292df6)

  78. That has been the practice here, the daily mail got slattered for repeating such insinuations.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  79. Let’s have Uber Eats and Doordash deliver and take ballots at taxpayer expense so people don’t have to risk COVID walking to the mailbox. And, a stamp is basically a poll tax. The alternative is disenfranchisement.

    beer ‘n pretzels (afa9ec)

  80. It’s cheap and lazy to insult in this way. If you’re an adult, and have a viable point to make, you shouldn’t have to couch it in an insult about a woman’s appearance.

    Dana (292df6)

  81. OT, but anyone know how long a wasp sting’s localized discomfort lasts? Asking for myself since a yellow jacket snuck into my bedroom somehow and woke me up in a most unkind fashion this morning.

    Apply a frozen chicken to the sting. Harkin may have more info…

    Colonel Haiku (8b035b)

  82. The saddest part is that Melania is the only one in that disgusting family who has risen to the dignity of her position.

    nk (1d9030)

  83. 88… can’t hear you over the Orange man bad insults…

    Colonel Haiku (8b035b)

  84. And, a stamp is basically a poll tax.

    The ballots are postage prepaid. Find another lie.

    nk (1d9030)

  85. I wonder if there will be any speeches denouncing violence in the cities at this week’s Shamvention…

    Colonel Haiku (8b035b)

  86. It’s funny, Dana. Just 20 minutes from Mason County, you run into Evergreen State College in Olympia, which has the most hardcore left-wing undergrads you’ll ever see. It’s a little more homogeneous in eastern Washington, but there are a lot of micro-cultures on the west side, as variegated as the geography.
    Mason County is Trump country, still heavily into the timber industry and kind of left behind the blazing Seattle economy. And it’s a beautiful spot at the southwest end of Puget Sound. Lots of forest and rainier.

    Paul Montagu (52bb2d)

  87. @48. Reaganoptics: old people vote.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  88. Ugh, my sympathies, Haiku. I’ve been stung by a wasp, and it was really painful. I think I used an ice pack to keep swelling down, and then cortisone cream. IIRC, it took a day or so for the pain to ease up enough so that I wasn’t constantly focused on it. It was a long while back, but I still remember how much more it hurt (at least to me) than previous bee stings. Cortisone cream also helps nicely with sunburns and mosquito bites.

    Dana (292df6)

  89. Paul Montagu,

    It is really amazing how many varied pockets there are up there. I’ve spent time in Mason County, and Ports Ludlow, Angeles, and Townsend, as well as points up north, and none of them are the same. Especially if I compare PT with PA. Wow.

    Dana (292df6)

  90. 90.. beats being called the special names you reserved for her.

    Colonel Haiku (8b035b)

  91. First lady sasquatch has insulted my way of life for long enough, she can cram it.

    mg (8cbc69)

  92. Oops, 96 was for NJRob. My apologies. I hope it helps.

    Dana (292df6)

  93. This country needs rugged individualists to survive, not crony one party pos.

    mg (8cbc69)

  94. For wasps, a couple Benadryl has always worked for me, if you can stand the drowsiness.

    Paul Montagu (52bb2d)

  95. Have a nice life, mg. You are what you are, but responding to you tempts me to be what you are, and I don’t want to be that.

    nk (1d9030)

  96. Dana,

    thanks. Haven’t gotten stung since I was a kid so I don’t remember much. Getting woken up that way isn’t exactly fun, but at least I got even. Good to know I’m still not allergic to anything. That would’ve been awkward.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  97. 88… can’t hear you over the Orange man bad insults…

    Colonel Haiku (8b035b) — 8/17/2020 @ 5:16 pm

    I have never said “Orange man bad”. That’s a term you Trump supporters hurl at those of us who have criticized his policies, his character, and all that it contains. But as Americans, shouldn’t we should be willing to criticize our leaders when we see them being dishonest or corrupt, or looking out for their self-interests, first and foremost? I am a happy equal-opportunity critic of any president, regardless of party affiliation.

    Dana (292df6)

  98. Benadryl is good for any sort of allergic reaction too.

    We camped in Sequoia one year, and the site was invaded by yellowjackets. Rangers said to just put pieces of lunch meat on rocks around the perimeter of the site, and they would eat and leave. We did that, and they ate and left. Weirdest thing. Of course, it was a gamble because it’s bear heaven up there, and lunch meat on the rocks??? Are you kidding me! But it paid off nicely, and we were able to stay at the site.

    Dana (292df6)

  99. I am a happy equal-opportunity critic of any president, regardless of party affiliation.

    I see. We want Biden to be president so that we can start criticizing him. Makes sense.

    beer ‘n pretzels (c58e3b)

  100. You’re funny, bnp.

    Dana (292df6)

  101. mr. president donald trump, who was a democrat until he learned that the republican party has more illiterates, cannot really be said to have a party affiliation

    it is more accurate to say, i think, that today’s republican party has a donald trump affiliation

    illiteracy is truly a horrible thing

    nk (1d9030)

  102. Attention! Attention! Now pitching for work, Mayor Pete [remember him– The Gay Desperado?} … tells Tapper yes, he’d like a gig in the Biden-Harris Administration.

    On deck, Beto.

    These two political parties are an embarrassment. Nancy n astrologers; Plagiarist JoeyBee and Beau…

    Memo to the DNC; this voter doesn’ give a good God-damn about Beau Biden, bopu what he thought, sais or did.

    Americans– WTF: we’re a better people than this.

    And we’re letting our media try to sell us junk food by insisting it’s a healthy alternative. The renovation of these two major parties is so long overdue.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  103. That twerp who actually wrote a paper to privatize the post office for mckinsey

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  104. I am what I am a rugged individualist who will catch your b.s. and toss it back at you. Have a perfect life, nk.

    mg (8cbc69)

  105. She was also a flack for fannie mae,

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  106. O.M.G.

    DNC opening– so sad.

    As inspiring as a case of the flu.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  107. Dana, the thing about wasps is that they can sting over and over again, unlike bees. See, a bee has a barbed stinger. So when a bee stings, the barbed stinger remains stuck in the flesh, and when the bee flies off, the stuck barbed stinger pulls out the entrails. Thus, a bee can only sting once, then fly away and die. A swarm of bees, of course, can lead to multiple stings and cause horrific pain, even death, but as soon as they fly away they will all die.

    A wasp, on the other hand, can sting multiple times without problem. And they’re very smart.

    I remember when I was a kid, cleaning the pool at the apartment complex, a wasp would fly in for water, which was needed for nest construction. If I splashed and killed it, another would come. If I splashed and killed it, another would come, only this time with other wasps that flew around as sentries for protection that would attack and sting whoever tried to prevent the wasp from gathering water. That’s highly intelligent behavior.

    By the way, did you know that when you look at a wasp nest, you’re looking at identical twin sisters? Yeah, there is a queen, who lays eggs which grow into larvae then wasps, but all the wasps around her are identical twins. There are no males. A wasp nest is a purely female dominate society.

    Males are only born when the queen decides to form another nest. They fly around for a few days or weeks, mate once with a virgin queen (at her selection), then die. The impregnated queen then builds her own nest. She has a receptacle in which she can store sperm for months or years, so she can control the sex of her offspring. All of her offspring are female, infertile sisters. Their ovipositors become stingers. The queen alone decides when to produce a virgin queen and males for insemination. It’s very complicated.

    Entomology is a fascinating subject to study. Social insects are extremely complex. Don’t even get me started on leaf cutter ant societies, because they are the most complex of all.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  108. Melania Trump-doing a job no American woman wants to do.

    Rip Murdock (36e2c3)

  109. 116… in spite of all evidence to the contrary, they insist they are patriotic and that they care!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  110. My nephew and I knocked down a vacated wasp’s nest once, and inside of it we found a peanut shell!

    norcal (a5428a)

  111. 80 mg (8cbc69) — 8/17/2020 @ 5:05 pm

    First Lady Sasquatch sure mailed it in, taping her convention jive last week.

    It did sound out of date, but that was I thought because it was written earlier.

    Whatwas out of date> Her figure for Covid deaths in the United States. She said more than 150,000. The figure they are using now is 170,000.

    She said Biden knows how to save the economy and eliminate Covid (or something like that)

    And she said he listens

    Biden talks about listening only to the right people.

    Sammy Finkelman (db2a13)


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