November 1, 2020

Short: On Voting

Something important to note about elections in the United States is that votes are never fully counted on Election Day. It is an impossibility.

This idea from the GOP that somehow votes are counted in full by midnight on the first Tuesday of November every fourth year with a clear winner is ignorant of history, particularly during elections held during World War One (1916), before World War Two (1940), and during the Civil War. For a party hellbent on reliving the past, the GOP seems to be completely in denial that as a country, we have in place the means to run an election where our voices are actually heard. And we can do so without actively suppressing them in the process.

The GOP has the nation under the belief that many conspiracies are afoot in the processes that we have. The ones that we have used for centuries. This is untrue. Particularly when it comes to counting votes.

Votes have never been counted in full on Election Day. It is impossible. Voting ends a few hours before midnight. As noted by the New York Times, Cumberland County will not begin to count mail-in votes until November 4.

In close races or close jurisdictions, recounts will be likely. None of this is new. This is not evidence of a conspiracy. A conspiracy would look like everything else we have already seen: the attempts to delay the election, attempts to invalidate legal votes, automatically purging voter registries, quietly gerrymandering, and everything else that makes voting more difficult (as noted here).

It did not have to come to this. As of today and tomorrow and Tuesday, we still have a functional government that is supposed to work for us – not against us. Granted, more and more it appears that our government is actively working against us under the guise of “you must do everything yourself – or else” under this notion that “personal responsibility” rules over everything and community means nothing. But that is for another time.

For now, we must remember that while yes we are holding an election in somewhat unusual times, the situation is not unprecedented. Not only that, we have far more tools at our disposal to make this election easier. The issue is that many in power are actively trying to make this election much more difficult even with the difficulties we already face. And therein lies your actual conspiracy. The one that stares you in the face and misdirects you every single day.


Many Americans are painfully unaware of how our electoral procedures actually work. We know that we vote and votes are counted. But the process by which votes are counted is more complicated than that and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. It is not your fault if you do not know these things. The processes are often difficult to find and often written in legalese that can be difficult to understand (even for people with advanced degrees).

If you are unaware of your jurisdiction’s voting procedures and laws, please contact your Supervisor of Elections. If you’ve found this blog, you can find your Supervisor of Elections online. Just search for your city and Supervisor of Elections. They will help you to understand exactly how the electoral process takes place in your jurisdiction. A kind piece of advice: please do these things well in advance or outside of elections. They are more than happy to help you. That is why they do the jobs that they do. Right now, they are incredibly busy.

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