1. Last week was long. The sort of long that jam packs two hundred years of waiting into four days, making you wonder if you’ll ever wake up feeling free again. Spoiler alert: The answer is yes. Kind of.
2. Election night was rough. I wanted to see some sort of sweeping repudiation of hate politics in America and Tuesday did not bring it, not like I’d hoped. It turned into a roller coaster of emotions – we can do this to how is this happening to decency will win out to holy crap I CAN’T TAKE MUCH MORE OF THIS.
3. Wednesday brought counting. So much counting. Plus, oddly enough, a large amount of disagreement about counting. Weird.
4. Thursday brought more of the same. Counting. More counting. Waiting. More waiting. And louder disagreements about tallying the votes.
5. I have a few thoughts on those ballots counted throughout last week and ones, in some states, that are still being counted right now.
6. Please stop referring to these as “late” ballots. Votes being counted now are either provisional ballots completed in the polling center on Election Day or were postmarked by November 3rd and are accepted up to a date predetermined by each state’s legislature. These are valid votes cast prior to or on Election Day. They deserve to be counted.
7. Yes, I get that some of these counts are dragging on but you’ve got to admit there are a few special circumstances this year that complicate the matter. Risks inherent to in-person voting during a pandemic vastly increased the number of people who chose to vote by mail so states are facing an especially large group of ballots to open and scan.
8. Many states prepared for this influx by allowing the Board of Elections to begin opening and scanning ballots into the system early. The vote tallies were stored and then reported on Election Day. Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania faced a different challenge: laws in each state barred election officials from getting a head start on processing and counting their mail-in ballots. Wisconsin had nearly 2 million absentee and early vote ballots; Pennsylvania received nearly 2.6 million mail-in ballots, roughly 10 times the number of absentee ballots it receives in a normal election. Dude, those are actual votes inside those envelopes – the state legislature set the rules, now the rest of us have to live with them. Patience.
9. We should also keep in mind DeJoy’s cutbacks in the postal service likely caused ballot delivery delays. A number of states extended the deadline by which mail-in ballots would have to be received (as long as they were postmarked by November 3rd) in an attempt to make accommodations for the slowdown at the post office. There’s so much wrong with screwing with the postal service in an election year that I can’t even begin to address it.
10. Saturday brought the news that Joe Biden is the president-elect and then the country lost its mind. There were enormous street parties that started at noon and lasted late into the night. The level of pure joy was something to behold, and it was sometime on Saturday that I realized how long it had been since I’d seen groups of lighthearted celebrations. The current president’s political rallies feel so heavy handed – someone’s being mocked or Trump puts forth some group as the New Danger To Our Democracy or you hear the latest round of LOCK HER UP! Saturday brought a relief that’s been a long time coming. So keep counting those votes. We’ll wait for everyone’s voice to be heard.