Here in Virginia, absentee voting by mail and in-person early voting start on Friday, Sep 18. In order to vote, we must (1) have ballots, and, (2) program voting machines.
Now, two lawsuits have brought ballot production and voting machine preparation to a halt.
LAWSUIT NUMBER ONE. We are voting on an amendment to the state constitution that will establish an independent redistricting commission to take redistricting out of the hands of the legislature. It’s a long story, most everyone agrees the proposed independent commission is not perfect but it’s far better than continuing to allow elected officials to draw the legislative boundaries — gerrymandering. And now, Paul Goldman — former chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia — is suing to change the wording on the ballot.
LAWSUIT NUMBER TWO. This is nuts. The Republican National Committee is working overtime to get Kanye West — yes, THAT Kanye West, Mr. Kim Kartrashian — on the ballot in as many states as possible as a Presidential candidate, hoping that West will draw African-American votes from Biden.
Remember — when voting for President, you actually are voting for a slate of electors who elect the President. West is now on the Virginia ballot because he has the requisite number of electors listed on his application for candidacy. Now, at least one — I’ve heard as many as three — of the electors had no idea they were West electors, their names are being used without their permission, and they are suing to remove themselves and West from the VA ballot.
I am a member of my county Electoral Board. We completed our ballot preparation Monday when I proofread the ballots. Ballots approved on the local level are sent to the state for final approval, then, to the printer.
We were told by the state yesterday to STOP ALL BALLOT PRODUCTION until the suits are sorted out. This is HUGE. Absentee ballots must be in the mail on Sep 18. Early voting must start on Sep 18 — we need ballots on Sep 18.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. We cannot program voting machines until the ballots are approved because the voting machines must be programmed with the same information, in the same order, as the ballots. Without approved ballots there’s no voting machine programming. We plan to program our machines a few days before voting starts.
OH, AND DID I MENTION — many of the printers used by Virginia localities also print ballots for other states and the printers are running out of time to meet the nationwide demand for ballots!! Our printer has told us, if we do not get approved ballots to them by Sep 10, they cannot guarantee to have ballots in our hands by Sep 18. AND — our printer also prepares the software that is used in our voting machines.
Right now, we are in full stop — no ballots, can’t program the machines. And it’s all due to scheming Republicans who are sowing chaos in every possible way.