Kentucky Election Board conveniently cuts 3,500 polling stations ahead of primaries

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/06/22/kentucky-election-board-conven.html

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Why do all of these articles ignore the fact that this is part of a COVID-19 response, which also includes a massive push for no-excuse mail in voting and early voting. We’re actually expecting record turnout due to mail-in ballots. And most people have already voted.

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The GOP motto: if you can’t win fairly, cheat.

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Citizens get what they vote for. Vote for a clown - expect a circus. Vote for repubs - expect poor health, schooling, environmental protection, hate, disrespect, and self serving politicians.
You can’t blame the pandemic for a 94.5% reduction in places to express your preferred candidate. If the state were any kind of prepared, they would have made appropriate adjustments and plans for this.

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Like America’s “health care” and per capita prison population, this is another thing that makes no sense from the outside.

Here, every second elementary school gym is a polling location. No long lines. COVID would require some changes, but nothing drastic: spacing markers, plastic screens and PPE for the staff, a wipe-down of the voting desks, screens and pencils between uses, hand sanitizer for the voters. (Okay, a protocol for people with obvious symptoms. “Those people in moon suits in the football field will help you.”)

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I want to reiterate this. The push for mail in voting is unprecedented here. Cards were sent to every voter with multiple ways to ask for mail in ballots. Online was incredibly simple. Our ballots arrived two days later.

As for cutting the polling places: usually they are run by elderly election workers as low paid volunteers. PPE helps prevent Covid infections, but is not perfect. My own mother (an extremely politically active person) works as a poll worker in another state, but won’t this year by choice.

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The primary is irrelevant when it comes to the KY senatorial race. McConnell is going to win the republican nomination regardless.

Let’s get to the main election in Nov, because what is most important is seeing McGrath or Booker win big.

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I feel like this version cuts straight to the heart of the matter.

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That feels legit, based on how much effort der Trump has put toward delegitimizing the mail-in voting process. I hope anyone who shows up and sticks it out in an attempt to oust this monster is able to remain safe through it all.

3,700 polling places down to 200, with one location having to serve over 600,000 state citizens, the majority of whom are black.

Have they also shut down 94% of the restaurants, grocery stores, and fast food places during the pandemic? Since COVID-19 still affects those locations, and they still have to serve all of the state residents, surely the same problem applies.

No? Instead they figured out a way to do it safely (or as safe as they can)? Yet they couldn’t figure out how to make it so people could vote safely within the same timeline?

Bullshit to “this is just a COVID-19 response.”

If you exclude the direction of the push at the top and by the party. Which I would argue is the groundwork to delegitimize any mail-in voting results they don’t like.

If, as you say, the predominance of votes will come in by mail in Kentucky, then it seems to me that it would be far safer for the volunteers to keep at least 1,000 poling locations open, if not all 3,700. Doing that would spread out the places where the people who didn’t or couldn’t vote by mail – for whatever personal reason or circumstance. Instead they will be funneled into merely 200 locations for the entire state of Kentucky.

There will either be long lines on election day and greater of chances for exposure among the volunteers and the voters, or it will discourage people who haven’t voted by mail from voting at all. Which I feel is the entire goal.

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More polling stations means people travel less and the lines and crowds at each station are smaller. I really don’t see how reducing polling stations makes anyone safer.

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Yes. I live in Kentucky and voted by mail in the Democratic primary. Suddenly, now that it seems McGrath will defeat Booker only because Booker was an unknown a month ago (when I voted), a lot of the Left is complaining about voter suppression. However, where were all these people when the were looking for poll workers? The reason we have only 200 polling stations is because it takes four workers per precinct. Most of the workers are elderly. I guess actually participating in the electoral process beyond voting is too hard for the under 40 crowd.

But, have the democrat voters listened to him and refused to register?
I guess that when he tried to delegitimize the mail ballots, it affected more his own party.
If he (or any other republican) loses because of it, he can cry as much as he wants that he doesn’t like the results, but it won’t change the fact that his party lost (also) because of their own stupidity.

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See “2016 Presidential election” : https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-elections/donald-trump-lost-popular-vote-hillary-clinton-us-election-president-history-a7470116.html

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I see this as exactly the same situation.
The rules that were set before (even if someone doesn’t like) are not changed after the election because the one who lost is complaining.

I agree. More polling places would likely reduce the overall risk simply by reducing the number of people in any one location.

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When you’re working a shitty job it’s hard enough to get time off on a weekday to vote, much less spend the entire day at the polling station plus the ancillary time needed for training. Boiling every issue of civic engagement down to “apathy” is unhelpful and unrealistically reductive. The reality is that there are plenty of institutional hurdles to engagement that overwhelmingly favor the elderly, who have little to nothing else to do with their day.

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No need to get all ageist. The elderly traditionally do far more volunteer work in every respect because they have the time to. Most people between 18 and, say 50-60 are busy in school, raising kids, making ends meet and helping those 18+ year olds navigate early adulthood. I personally volunteer quite a bit and I’ll tell you; it fucking kills me. Having three school aged kids to look after makes me think about resigning my volunteer board position regularly.

One more purely anecdotal note; 100% of the door knockers for the 2016 democratic primary and election in my area were in their 20s (or just looked really fabulous in their middle age).

ETA: @alahmnat beat me to it!

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I’ll respectfully ask those of you who do not live in Kentucky (greetings from Lexington!) to peruse some very good Twitter threads from people who do live here, such as this one by an election law professor, this one by a Pulitzer Prize winner. Another Pulitzer winner, @phillipmbailey also has some good tweets about the situation, but I don’t have permission to include more than two links since I’m new to commenting here.

Kentucky massively expanded mail-in voting in a bipartisan agreement (Dem gov, GOP Secretary of State) as a response to Covid-19. Every registered voter got a postcard explaining several ways how to get an absentee ballot.

Fewer polling places were also a result of Covid-19 and protecting poll workers, who tend to be elderly and at higher risk for the virus. The polling locations in Lexington and Louisville are a college football stadium and the state fairgrounds, i.e. large venues where people can spread out. In Louisville, they’ve been able to vote there for a week. We can vote at the polling place today and tomorrow in Lexington. I dropped off my absentee ballot in a lockbox there last week, but we’ve been able to mail ballots in for at least a month.

This is not to say that there haven’t been issues, or that there won’t be tomorrow, our actual election day, but there is no widespread voter suppression happening. That said, we have already been warned that counting all the absentee ballots will take about a week. Just in case you’re inclined to cry foul when we don’t have results tomorrow night.

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Funny. That didn’t seem to be a hurdle for massive protests.

The Democratic primary has turned interesting.

This is one of the reasons I deplore mail-in voting, though of course it is a no-brainer in times like now.

Rife, dammit /pedant

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