Florida Senator Rick Scott — or, as I like to call him, “Senator Skeletor” — has proposed a new bill whose desired effect appears to be to reduce the number of eligible votes.
On Thursday, he proposed the ironically-named Help America Vote Act of 2020 (aren’t they always named ironically now?), which:
- Requires that mail-in ballots be counted within 24 hours of when voting closes on Election Day, and
- Prevents mail-in ballots received before Election Day to NOT BE PROCESSED and COUNTED before Election Day.
This bill drastically cuts the window of time for counting votes down to just over a day. Any votes not counted during this period are simply not counted.
This is a drastic reduction from the the way it is now, where the period to count votes can be weeks, because of advance absentee and mail-in voting. For example,
- In Colorado, where all voting is mail-in, votes can be processed as early as 15 days before Election Day.
- In Florida, Senator Skeletor’s home state (and mine!), votes can be processed as early as 22 days before Election Day.
This runs against a lot of election statutes across the U.S., where federal elections are handled at the local level and subject to local laws.
It’s probably too late to pass this law, as advance and absentee voting has already started, but there’s no reason why Senator Skeletor and company can’t try to get it enacted for the next election.
As to why the Republicans seem to like minimizing the number of votes counted, I present you with some reading material:
- Pew Research Center, October 31, 2018: Conservative Republicans are least supportive of making it easy for everyone to vote
- Mother Jones, January 30, 2019: Mitch McConnell Admits That Republicans Lose When More People Vote
- Washington Post, March 30, 2020: Trump just comes out and says it: The GOP is hurt when it’s easier to vote
- The Guardian, March 30, 2020: Trump says Republicans would ‘never’ be elected again if it was easier to vote
- Business Insider, March 30, 2020: Trump baselessly claimed that expanding voting access would lead to a Republican never being elected in America again
- Vanity Fair, April 3, 2020: Republicans Now Just Admitting They Want Fewer Americans To Vote
- The New Republic, April 5, 2020: The Republican Plot Against Voting Turns Deadly
- Bill Moyers, April 8, 2020: Republicans Admit They Lose When Elections Are Fair and Free
- CNBC, April 8, 2020: Trump slams mail-in voting, says it ‘doesn’t work out well for Republicans’
- Chicago Tribune, April 10, 2020: Trump says mail voting means Republicans would lose every election. Is that true? No.
- The Hill, April 15, 2020: Trump lays bare the Republicans’ mail-in voting hypocrisy
- NPR, June 12, 2020: Voting And Elections Divide Republicans And Democrats Like Little Else. Here’s Why
- Esquire, September 25, 2020: Why Won’t Florida Leave Our Elections Alone?
Florida’s governor, Ron “DipShantis” DeSantis, in a bid to help win the state for his lord and master Donald Trump in the upcoming election, has been pushing some really bad ideas this week.
First, he proposed the Combatting Violence, Disorder and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act, whose primary purpose seems to be discouraging and criminalizing dissent.
Among other things:
- It provides a loophole for people who run over protesters with their vehicles if they’re “fleeing for their safety”.
- You can be arrested for attending a protest where someone decides to pick a fight.
- You won’t be able to post bail if you’re arrested at a protest that turns violent.
- If you organize a protest and someone who attends starts a fight or engages in vandalism, you’ll be liable under RICO (the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act), which is not the intended purpose of that law.
While he’s not so keen on first amendment rights, the governor is a big fan of university students’ right to party. He wants a “bill of rights” to protect college kids who might get expelled for breaking the no-parties rule that universities in the state are trying to enforce.
“I personally think it’s incredibly draconian that a student would get potentially expelled for going to a party,” he said on Thursday. “That’s what college kids do.”
But proposing that we deny bail to protesters and charge protest organizers as if they were mobsters? That’s what corrupt governors do.
And finally, there’s the surprise announcement yesterday that he signed an executive order lifting major restrictions on restaurants. Local governments can still restrict restaurant capacity, but they can only restrict capacity to no lower than 50%, and if they’re trying to restrict capacity at all, they need to clear it with the state.
President Donald Trump found a new applause line at his Florida rally this week: “Normal life. O! I love normal life. We want to get back to normal life.” The next day, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis moved to deliver on that promise — or the appearance of it.
The Republican governor of the president’s must-win battleground responded 24 hours later by canceling all state coronavirus restrictions Friday without warning, catching local governments and epidemiologists off-guard amid their own strategies to keep the coronavirus contained.
As of yesterday, we had over 18,000 cases in the past 7 days.
I used to think that the mayor of the beach town of Amity from Jaws was a bit over-the top. “No real-world politician would be that deadly a combination of foolish, power-hungry, and popular,” I thought, but I was wrong. We’ve got them in spades right now, and the governor is among the worst of them.
As Florida author, podcaster, and former Republican strategist Rick Wilson tweeted five months ago:
1/ Look at any ambitious GOP governor — and all the one’s jockeying either for re-election, Senate, or a 2024 WH run (a la DeSantis, which is the worst-kept secret in Tallahassee) and they’re all VASTLY more concerned with Trump than with the health of their states.
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) April 23, 2020
At this point, you’re probably wondering “What can I do?” And the answer, thankfully, is “plenty”.
- Just because restaurants can open at full capacity doesn’t mean you have to go. You can still support your local eateries by ordering “to go” or delivery, and tipping generously. And be sure to support mom-and-pop operations!
- Just because there’s a bangin’ party full of hot co-eds doesn’t mean you have to go. This is a hard sell to a college student (trust me, my own university career was Van Wilder-esque), but it’s not a true hardship, kids. You still have it easier than most of your forebears:
- Use your voice. Tell your elected officials what you think. Discuss this with your friends. Vote.
- Hope. The goal of disenfranchisement is for you to lose hope that you can make a difference and meaningful change, lose faith in democracy, and simply surrender to authoritarian power. Resist, take heart, disconnect from the internet and news when you need to, and remember Alasdair Gray’s words:
Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation.
Reading Shakespeare is torture. He wrote in verse, in 16th-century English, for a 16th-century audience whose only other entertainment options were bear-baiting and public executions.
That’s why there’s an entire industry devoted to deciphering his Elizabethan gibberish. Having gone to high school in Toronto, my fellow students — which included Keanu Reeves, who was a couple of years ahead of me — relied on Coles Notes, the Canadian equivalent of CliffsNotes.
Today’s high school students have it a little easier. Each of his plays has at least a dozen performances on YouTube (an example: Titus Andronicus, performed by the Seoul Shakespeare Company — and yes, that’s Seoul as in South Korea) and dozens of explainer pages.
One of the newer Shakespeare resources to appear is ForcedEntertainment, a group of six artists based in Sheffield. They’ve decided to tell the stories in all of Shakepeare’s plays, aided only by household items on their tabletops.
So far, they’ve done:
- Macbeth (or “The Scottish Play”, if you’re superstitious)
- The Merchant of Venice
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream
- Romeo and Juliet
The next plays in their series will be:
- King John (September 25)
- Titus Andronicus, a.k.a. “Hideth yo’ kids, hideth thy wife”, as it’s Shakespeare’s killiest, rapiest play (September 26)
- Much Ado About Nothing (September 27)
I’ll be teaching programming for the rest of the year, and may have to steal a few tricks from these people.
Thanks to Ramon Grajo for the find!
And in case you need a refresher, here’s the Wikipedia entry on Emmett Till.
A lawyer friend informs me:
There was no acquittal in the Breonna Taylor situation: a refusal to charge for murder, yes, but there were charges that are going to trial. Yesterday was the Grand Jury’s charging decision. If it was a no knock warrant, executed lawfully, that may be the correct charging decision. But whether the no knock warrant should have been issued is a different question.