Nothing suspicious about that!
For months, Republicans have been screaming and crying about how they think Democrats are gonna rig the election through mail-in ballots, even though the Democrats are not really the ones with the reputation for doing that. But it's not because they actually think that's going to happen, but because it's a well-worn bit of political wisdom that the more people vote, the more likely a Democrat is to win. Also because it's a safe bet that Democrats are more likely to take COVID-19 seriously, and thus less likely to put themselves or others at risk by voting in person.
Judges have shot down Republican attempts at limiting ballot drop boxes in both Ohio and Texas, but a slate of Trump appointees on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the lower court's ruling this weekend in Texas, allowing GOP Governor Greg Abbott's attempt to drastically reduce the number of ballot drop boxes to stand for now. Likewise the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has stayed the district court ruling in Ohio. (It's almost like Trump's GOP is the one doing the court-packing!)
But over in California — where pulling something like that off is far less likely — the GOP went the other way entirely. They decided instead to put up drop boxes everywhere. Unofficial drop boxes, that is. Unofficial drop boxes that, according to the state of California, are quite illegal.
Secretary of State tried to limit the ability of city dwellers to vote. It ... didn't work.
For decades, Republicans have made it clear that they don't give a flying fuck about the principles underpinning our democratic system. To the GOP, the will of the people doesn't matter; the only thing that actually matters is gaining and holding onto power.
As part of the Republican Party's plan to steal the 2020 elections by any means necessary, earlier this week, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose issued a directive limiting every county in the state — with no regard for geography, population, or feasibility — to just one drop box each to collect absentee ballots.
After initially dismissing the case, Ohio federal Judge Dan Aaron Polster reversed course on Friday, reinstating the lawsuit filed by civil rights organizations and individual voters alike, and striking down LaRose's one Dropbox per county rule. Finding that LaRose's ratfucking violates the rights of voters under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution, the court held that the directive “significantly burdens the right to vote, and, ultimately, may have the effect of deterring many people from voting or forcing them to risk their health by voting in-person." As such,
The Secretary is enjoined from enforcing that portion of Directive 2020-16 that prohibits a county board of elections from installing a secure drop box at a location other than the board of elections office, and the Secretary is also enjoined from prohibiting a board from deploying its staff for off-site ballot delivery.
Suck it, LaRose.
What was she wearing?
Now that 13 members of a militia group have been charged in a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and put her on trial for "treason" — and maybe execute her, who can say — wingnuts are scrambling to explain that the plot miraculously had nothing to do with Donald Trump's call to "LIBERATE MICHIGAN" or his frequent rhetorical attacks on Whitmer and other Democratic governors during the coronavirus pandemic. The Dear Leader himself took to Twitter to say he's never encouraged extremist violence, and to accuse Whitmer of being insufficiently grateful that Trump's very own Justice Department and FBI saved her from the plot. And then he went right back to accusing her and all Democrats of being in cahoots with dangerous radicals. We'll just transcribe his three-tweet rant here:
Governor Whitmer of Michigan has done a terrible job. She locked down her state for everyone, except her husband's boating activities. The Federal Government provided tremendous help to the Great People of Michigan. My Justice Department and Federal Law Enforcement announced...
...today that they foiled a dangerous plot against the Governor of Michigan. Rather than say thank you, she calls me a White Supremacist—while Biden and Democrats refuse to condemn Antifa, Anarchists, Looters and Mobs that burn down Democrat run cities...
...I do not tolerate ANY extreme violence. Defending ALL Americans, even those who oppose and attack me, is what I will always do as your President! Governor Whitmer—open up your state, open up your schools, and open up your churches!
Thoughts and prayers! Remember, when armed militia guys — including some of those arrested yesterday — were protesting Whitmer's coronavirus lockdown and calling her a Nazi, Trump was supporting them, calling them excellent folks, and urging Whitmer to compromise with them.
You people want to vote, go someplace where it's allowed.
In an astonishing display of naked assholery (like even worse than the yodeling vegan baby kind), Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered yesterday that each county in the state can have only one drop-off point for absentee ballots, effective today. Several large (and surprise! heavily Democratic) counties had already set up multiple ballot collection locations, to make voting easier during the pandemic. Those sites will be shuttered today, even though the counties have already begun collecting ballots, and had announced the locations to voters, so that's going to lead to all sorts of confusion. As intended.
Abbott's order will be especially tough on Harris County, Texas's most populous with 4.7 million people, and home to Houston, which had opened 11 absentee ballot collection offices. We're not talking drop-off boxes like many states have; these are staffed locations where people must show photo ID to drop off a ballot. And Travis County (Austin) has four sites, too. Despite that, Abbot's office claimed the restrictions were absolutely necessary to ensure "ballot security," even though voting fraud is extremely rare for both in-person and absentee voting.
And this is fun! In addition to limiting the number of ballot collection points, Abbott ordered that county clerks "allow poll watchers to observe any activity conducted at the early voting clerk's office location," including observing voters showing their ID to the poll workers. At this time, people dropping off their ballots will not yet be required to take a DNA test to prove they are who they claim to be.
Democratic groups may file a lawsuit as early as today to get the sites opened again.