So many things are online.  There is online shopping.  Online viewing of movies.  Even online casino games like mobile jackpot casino.  As with any online technology, there are advantages and their are disadvantages. But should voting go online?  Or video voting? Or even mail-in voting?  Especially with the coronavirus situation.  Or is there a better solution?

Many people are scared of the Coronavirus.  It is an unknown, and it is human nature to be scared of the unknown.  People are scared that they are going walk into a voting place intenting to vote, and walk away with a coronavirus tagging along making them and their family sick.  It is a reasonable fear, but does it justify canceling US federal elections or even insisting that everybody vote by mail?

And how can our government ensure that our vote that that is put into the mail box actually gets to the voting place, and counted?  What is going to stop somebody in the post office from taking our ballot and changing our vote before it gets counted?  Are these are only two choices, getting sick or risk our vote being tampered with?

The answer is no, it does not have to be that way.  There are ways that in-person voting can take place, and people can be safe.  I am going to outline a plan that can make this possible.  But it going to take a group effort by everybody: our government, voting volunteers, and the citizens who are voting.  But it can be done.  Where their is a will, there is a way.

Senior voting and people in high risk category, 6:00 am – 9:00 am

During this time, seniors can vote and people who are at high risk.  Many stores are having their morning hours dedicated to these groups, so it would make sense to have dedicated voting hours for this group as well.  Everything is clean. People are not stressed.  These groups of people can vote without stress and worries.

Open Voting, 9:00 am – 11:00 am

Anybody can show up at this time to vote.  There are no restrictions.  This is people who want to get their civic duty over with, so they can go about enjoying their day.

Lunch break and Cleanup, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

During this time, staff will take a lunch break and the voting place will go through a thorough cleanup.   Voting has been going on for 5 hours by this point.  The workers need a break, and the voting place needs to be cleaned.

Voting is done by last digit of our social security number

During the next 9 hours, voting is going to take place by the last digit of your social security number.  Can a person vote when it is not their time?  It would probably depend on if the voting place is not crowded.  If it is crowded, no.  If it is not crowded, maybe?

  • SS# Last Digit 0 – 12:00 – 12:45 pm
  • SS# Last Digit 1 –  1:00 – 1:45 pm
  • SS# Last Digit 2 –  2:00 – 2:45 pm
  • SS# Last Digit 3 –  3:00 – 3:45 pm
  • SS# Last Digit 4 –  4:00 – 4:45 pm
  • SS# Last Digit 5 –  5:00 – 5:45 pm
  • SS# Last Digit 6 –  6:00 – 6:45 pm
  • SS# Last Digit 7 –  7:00 – 7:45 pm
  • SS# Last Digit 8 –  8:00 – 8:45 pm
  • SS# Last Digit 9 –  9:00 – 9:45 pm

I had thought about if the voting by the last digit of your social security number should be earlier and open voting later, but this setup makes it very easy for people to figure out when they vote.  Look at the clock.  Look at your social security number.  That is when you vote.

I added to the schedule the last 15 minutes of each hour for cleanup, or just saying that the line closes.  Whoever is in line by that time, will be let in, but not beyond that.  Can a person vote during the next hour?  It would depend on how many people are waiting in line for the next group.

If the voting place has multiple rooms (and enough staff), it can even be broken up even more by the second to last digit of the social security number.

Evening break and prep for coronavirus group 10:00 pm – 11:00 pm.

During this time, the voting booths are closed to the general public.  The only people who are allowed to vote after this time are people who have had known contact with coronavirus patients, have coronavirus, but mild symptoms, etc.  The Surgeon General is going to have to figure out the details of this cateogory.

Coronavirus assumed group – 11:00 pm – 1:00 am

  • All of the workers will have on hazmat suits.
  • Doctors will be present
  • Ambulances will be on call.
  • If a person has not been given a test, they are given a test free of charge.
  • If a person needs medicine (hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and zinc sulfate), they are given the medicine free of charge.
  • If electronic voting is used, voting booth is cleaned after each person.
  • If paper ballots of used, they are sealed afterwards until they can be disinfected.

Can regular people show up at this time?  Again, it would depend on numbers.  The people who are required to be in this group should get first priority, and anybody else should expect to be treated as if they have coronavirus.

By providing a bulk of the day for “regular people”, and two special times for the two extremes at opposite ends of the day, it will keep the two groups separated.  By specifying who goes when, it will also spread out the voting.

Combine voting day with massive population testing for coronavirus, antibody testing, or if available at the time, the vaccine

What other point in time is there going to be a situation where we know where the whole population is going to be at a given place and a given time?  There aren’t any.  By combining voting day with the administration of coronavirus testing, anti-body testing, and if available, vaccines, we are guaranteed to reach at least 50% of the population.  50% is the percentage of the population that votes on average during a US Presidential election.

Make the testing and vaccines free of charge and the number of people that will be reached will be closer to 75%.  I am taking a guess with that number.  Even if people don’t care about voting, they will most likely care about getting a free test or free vaccine for themselves and their family.

There will always a percentage of the population that will just not vote, no matter what the situation is.  There is nothing that we can do about that.

What about illegal immigrants and legal immigrants who can’t yet vote?

Create a special category of voting for these people.  The votes will not count towards the Presidential election or congress, but it will allow these groups of people to state their opinion through their votes.  These votes can be used by the President and Congress to understand what truly are the views of these two groups of people.

Once we give them reason to go to the voting place, they then can get tested for the coronavirus, antibodies, or be given the vaccine, if it is available at the time.  Maybe they will show up anyways.  But I also think that our leaders should hear the views of these people, even if they cannot legally vote for a representative.  It is a better scenario than having other people speak for them.

Making voting day a national holiday and a day off of work

If we want to spread out the voting in a controlled way, then people cannot have other restrictions, for example, they have to report to work at X time.

Make voting day, national emergency readiness day

Most voting places are done in schools and libraries and other multiroom public buildings.  The government can host seminars on how to prepare for different emergencies.

  • How to write a will
  • How to create a personal emergency plan
  • How to create a personal emergency kit

It can even include lectures on how to fill out a 1040EZ tax form or how to create a personal budget.

Why not just allow mail-in voting?

During the Coronavirus stimulus package vote in the House, the Representatives were required to travel from their homes to Washington, DC, even if they were under quarantine and technically not allowed to travel in order to vote on the stimulus package.  Why did this happen?  It happened because Representatives were not allowed to proxy vote, vote by telephone, vote by mail, vote by videoconference, or have anybody harvest vote.  The only acceptable vote was an in person vote.  Nothing else was considered acceptable.

So if those types of voting are not acceptable for a group of 435 people where Nancy Pelosi personally knows those 435 people, why would anybody, for even a single second, believe that 13 million votes can be trusted when it is impossible for our leaders to personally know those 13 million people?  The answer is that they can’t.  So if they can’t, then why are they still pushing for mail-in voting?  The answer is that they want to do voter fraud.

Isn’t there already mail-in voting in every state?

Yes, there is mail-in voting for every state.  But for most states, it is the exception, not the normal way of voting.  This is what happens in reality on voting day.  The in-person votes are counted.  The number of mail-in voting envelopes are counted.  If the number of mail-in voting envelopes are less than the difference between the two candidates, the mail-in votes are counted at a later date and time.

Once that changes, where the number of mail-in votes becomes greater than the difference between somebody winning and somebody losing, the voting system is not secure.

Any mail-in vote loses its chain of evidence.  There are million and one way that a vote can be tampered with in mail-in voting.

Why are mail-in votes not secure?

Mail-in votes are not secure, because they are not watched from the time that person casts a vote, until the time that the vote is cast.

Do you think that every letter gets to the person it was mailed to?  What about all of the letters to Santa Claus?  How many of those actually reach Santa in the North Pole?  100%, 90%, 50%, 25% or 0%.  The answer is zero percent, because even if a person writes down the correct address for Santa at the North Pole, every single letter to Santa is placed in the dead mail area.  Think about it.  How hard would it really be to correctly mail a letter to Santa?  There is only one Santa, and him and his elves are the only people living at the North Pole.  That means that there is only one post office at the North Pole.  So how can a letter to Santa, not get to Santa?

The answer is that individual postal workers take all of the letters to Santa and place them into the dead mail pile.  They do not even try to mail Santa’s letters to the North Pole.  So if the Postal Workers can legally intercept every single letter that every single minor citizen sends to Santa, what would stop a postal worker from stopping a letter from arriving at a voting place or intercepting a ballot and changing the vote?

If the US Postal Service cannot guarantee that every single letter mailed to Santa arrives to Santa in the North Pole, how can they realistically guarantee that every single ballot mail through the US Postal Service will actually arrive at the correct voting location?  They can’t.

Joking aside, once a person loses its chain of evidence, the ballot must be assumed to have been tampered with.  Most postal workers are honest hard working people, but it only takes one corrupt person in a central place where mail is sorted in a state and the whole entire integrity of our voting system goes out the window.

Mail in votes cannot guarantee voter privacy in voting

How do you guarantee that person does not sell their vote for a bag of crack cocaine?  You can’t.

How do you guarantee that person does not have somebody putting a gun to their head while they are voting?  You can’t.

How do you guarantee that person is not told, “vote for X or else we will give grandma the coronavirus.”  You can’t.

How do you know somebody is not told, “Show me your absentee vote filled in with X candidate or you will be fired from your job.”  You can’t.

There is a reason why voting is done in private with several people watching to guarantee the person does have privacy.  Take that away as the standard way of voting (and not the exception), and voting system cannot be trusted.

What about voting by the internet or cell phone?

Iowa caucuses anyone?  If that does not convince you that voting by internet or a cell phone is a disaster waiting to happen, then nothing can convince you of that.

What about harvest voting?

What is harvest voting?  Harvest voting is when somebody comes to collect your vote, telling you that they are going to deliver your vote.

During the 2016 election, I was living abroad.  In the country I was living in at the time, the local mail service was horrible.  It could take 2 days for a letter to get from the US to this country, but then a month more for the letter to get from the port of entry to an actual address.

So a group was advertising that if you voted through them, they would deliver by airplane all of the votes and then place them into the mail once they were in the US.  The problem was that the votes never got to their final location to be counted.  I do not personally know of one single person who voted through this group whose vote actually got counted.  Person after person asked their local voting place in the US if their votes arrived, and the answer was always, no they did not.  Not one single vote arrived to be counted as it should have been counted.

It was not any one party.  Republican, Democrat, Independent — it did not matter.  The votes did not arrive.  Colorado, California, New Jersey, Connecticut — the vote did not arrive.  Zero votes arrived at their final location to be counted.

Entrusting a third party to deliver a vote is essentially accepting that your vote will be “lost”.  If you are lucky, the ballot will end up in the same pile as Santa’s letters, but most likely they ended up in a large campfire in the middle of nowhere, USA.

Summary

I do not support mail-in voting, or internet voting, or cell phone voting, or video voting, or any other type of voting that is not in-person voting.

As a pessamist I am always thinking the worst case scenario?  No, I am software engineer whose area of expertise is finding bugs in systems regardless of if the bug is a requirements bug, a software bug, or a process bug.  There are too many “bugs” with all types of voting except for in-person voting where both a Democrat and a Republican are overseeing a voting location.

There will always be some legitimate reasons for mail-in voting, but once it goes beyond the exception (less than the difference between two candidates — range of error), those votes can no longer be trusted.

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