Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Lamont orders Vote By Mail for 2020 primary

Today Gov. Ned Lamont issued an executive order allowing registered voters to vote by mail in the August 11th state and presidential primary.

The primary was scheduled for April 28, then postponed to June 2, and finally firmly placed on August 11. The Democratic National Convention begins on August 17, so the results of our primary will most likely award delegates at the convention.

Sec. of State Denise Merrill has said each registered voter will receive an application in the mail with a post-paid return envelope. After completing and returning the application, eligible voters will receive a ballot with a post-paid envelope in time for the election. Also, Merrill directed each town to have a secure dropbox available in a prominent location so voters can drop off their ballots in person without exposing themselves to public polling place workers.

Here is the link for a PDF file of the Governor's executive order.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Covid-19 stuff

I had my annual physical ten days ago. My doctor's office has been trying to keep semi-open during this pandemic, so I was able to get an appointment during their reduced business hours of 10AM-2PM.

I told him how sick I'd been in mid-January with a suspected flu that was exceptionally rough on my lungs. I remember thinking as I was having a coughing fit and unable to clear my throat, "This is how people die from the flu!"

So I asked if I could get a Corona antibody test. Since I'd just had blood work, he called the lab and asked them to run a test on my remaining samples. He explained that they keep the blood available for five or so days afterwards in case more tests are needed.

I got the results back after the weekend. Negative for antibodies. Which means I simply had the flu.

I was oddly disappointed.

I'd been hoping for antibodies on the assumption that it may (no proof yet) protect me from re-infection.

And I was a bit miffed because I had the flu shot for this season. But I did read soon after I was sick that the shot, which was formulated months earlier based on what scientists think MAY be the flu threat, only covered two of the four strains that the Connecticut DPH website said were active here when I got sick. So I had a 50-50 chance of flu, and I hit the odds.

In other Covid news, here in Milford we've had 573 confirmed cases of Corona, with 68 fatalities. That's roughly a 12% fatality rate!

I don't know why we're having such a terrible time with this disease, when so many other towns and cities in Connecticut are experiencing much lower fatality rates, anywhere from 8% to 4%. But, it could just be a statistical anomaly.

Which is precisely why everyone has been screaming for more widespread testing! THIS is the sort of thing that will assist doctors and epidemiologists in battling the spread of Covid-19.

In other news, the Marmalade Ass in DC has started taking hydrochloroquine on his own. Apparently he's worried he may have been exposed, and he's hoping somehow he was correct about the drug's efficacy, although there's absolutely NO peer-reviewed studies that support this conclusion.

In my opinion, only GOOD things can happen when a morbidly obese man in his 70s takes a drug with widely known and dangerous side effects to ineffectually battle a disease which specifically targets people with his pre-existing conditions.

In fact, I think his doctors should double or triple his dose! You know, just to be sure.

Today at Walgreens we found 50-count boxes of masks for $30, so we bought one. The way we look at it, after the nation partially reopens over the next few weeks, there is likely going to be a second, even BIGGER wave of infections.

We want to make sure we're in a good position to survive other people's stupidity. After all, we wouldn't want all those Karens to miss their hair appointments!

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

The Time For Vote By Mail Is Now

Secretary of State Denise Merrill is pushing for a universal vote by mail option in Connecticut. This is something that's been LONG overdue, but I'm pleased that the idea is finally getting some traction.
"Connecticut has the most restrictive absentee ballot laws in the country, and the coronavirus has exposed how that restrictiveness can threaten our democracy," said Secretary Merrill. "The legislature can and should fix this permanently when they come into session in the summer by removing the most restrictive language from the statute."
Legally it looks like there is ample justification already in Connecticut law to make this possible, with one tiny exception. In a recent op-ed, Merrill stated the following:
In today’s situation, that more restrictive language in the statute makes it more difficult for people to get a ballot to mail in the face of the fear of a global pandemic. The Constitution reads “due to sickness” while the statute reads due to “his or her illness.” Those three words, “his or her,” in the statute but not in the Constitution, are the reason why we cannot vote by mail this November if we want to avoid polling places and a possible fall wave of the coronavirus.

The legislature can fix this for the short term very easily when they meet this summer to vote on budget adjustments and coronavirus relief. All they have to do is remove the words “his or her” from the statute 9-135, so that the language of the statute matches the language of the Constitution.
This seems easily doable, with the exception of the most vocal Trump supporters who will absolutely claim that this will lead to massive voter fraud. Which is a bullshit argument, for these following reasons:

1) Voting by mail has been successfully used for many decades by soldiers stationed overseas. There have been very, very few instances of fraud; and pretty much any time a vote was found to be questionable, it was usually because of an honest mistake and not part of a huge conspiracy.

2) If it was SO goddamned easy to manipulate an election through voter fraud, don't you think the powerful right-wing groups funding most of the bullshit tactics of Trump fans wouldn't enthusiastically engage in making sure there were MILLIONS of fake votes for their candidates? They wouldn't hesitate even one nano-second before creating a voting fraud cabal designed to take advantage of whatever imaginary voting loophole the conspiracy nuts think exists!

3) The main reason conservatives hate voting by mail is that it will ensure a much higher participation in elections. And THAT is their biggest fear! Why do you think so many red states are closing polling places in urban areas and enacting draconian voter I.D. laws? Because making it difficult or impossible for minorities to vote will only help their candidates. Republicans don't want anything resembling a fair election because they will get crushed! This is why Mitch McConnell refuses to allow a vote on the bill to protect election security. McConnell would rather have foreign interference and foreign hacking in our elections if it helps keep his party in power.

And it will be much easier to vote, and will actually save voters time and money:
Secretary Merrill previously announced that all voters will be receiving applications for absentee ballots; those applications will explain the law in light of this interpretation of 9-135. As previously announced, the Office of the Secretary will pay for the postage for the applications, their return, the ballots, and the ballots' return, so that absentee ballots can be used without cost to the voters or the towns.

This is obviously the way to go. I look forward to seeing this happen.