Do It for the Elders

Unless you live under a rock/bubble bigger than mine, which is highly unlikely as it’s one of my minor superpowers, you have heard the request to vote from every crack and crevice of our system. And you’ve most likely heard the very good reasons: make your voice heard, participate in our democracy, save our country from ruin (even though people differ on the definition or ruin, we seem to be able to agree we’re all working toward that goal).

And that is all fine, but in case those reasons don’t do it for you, here’s another: Do it for the elders who single-handedly run our polling systems. At least here in Massachusetts.

I have lived in and voted in 3 different areas in and around Boston: in a city with a mix of college kids, townies, and those from elsewhere who liked it enough to stay; a working class city; and now a bastion of blue snowflakes. What do they have in common? Every poll place is run by people over the age of 70, maybe even 75.

While we’re bellyaching about having to run in there before, after, or during work, or between jobs, or picking up/dropping off kids, or between care giving errands, these badass guardians of our democracy are there from 7 am to 8 pm on election day, and with early voting, on many other days, as well.

So if  you are at least trying to pretend you’re human, you should go out of respect of these elders, many of them grandmas and grandpas. Are you going to diss grandma? Are you that lame?

And if you don’t care about that, are you going to be shown up by a little old man or lady? They can get up early and sit there asking people the same questions for hours, and you can’t manage to take 10 minutes to pop in and vote?

C’mon, don’t be an asshat, just vote! You can always be an asshat later.

And of course all you lovelies who have voted or will, thank you. You’re utterly fantastic, and the badasses approve.

Photo credit: OMF



  1. I’d like to shout out to the elders at City Hall who got me through early voting after teaching at 7am and not being sure what to sign, where to sign, or even IF I had already signed. They were efficient and patient. And remember, people, many of their mothers fought for your right to vote, both prior to 1920 and during the Civil Rights Era. The first one. For them, too.

  2. How about making voting day a national holiday, cheap, crumbling America! And what about presenting Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All bill to the nation, so that many of the 30 million Americans who cannot afford the exorbitant healthcare insurance premiums, do not have to die when they get seriously sick!

    Crisis for American Democracy’: It’s 2018, in the Richest Nation on Earth, and Voting Machines Still Distorting Elections
    “Voting machines that flip votes don’t need to be hacked by a malicious foreign actor to undermine public confidence in the integrity of our democracy. That’s being done for Americans, by Americans.”

    by Jake Johnson, staff writer

    Poll worker Mary Ellison prepares a voting machine at the Prince Hall Masonic Lodge during the South Carolina Democratic Presidential Primary February 27, 2016 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

    It’s 2018, and the United States is the richest nation in the history of the world… but much of the country still doesn’t have functional, glitch-free voting machines.

    “This machine problem is essentially threatening to call into question the entire election in Texas.”
    —Beth Stevens, Texas Civil Rights ProjectAs if the barriers to voting erected by right-wing politicians looking to suppress minority turnout weren’t enough, error-riddled, hack-prone, and outdated voting machines throughout the nation—from Texas to Georgia to Wisconsin—are wreaking havoc in the midst of an unprecedented surge in early voting and raising alarming questions about the integrity of vote counts less than 24 hours before millions cast their ballots in the critical midterm elections.

    In Texas, where Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke is vying for Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s seat in an extremely close race that has drawn national attention, civil rights groups have alleged that voting machines are deleting Democratic votes entirely or switching them to the Republican candidate.

    “This machine problem is essentially threatening to call into question the entire election in Texas,” Beth Stevens, voting rights legal director for the Texas Civil Rights Project, told Politico.

    In a tweet on Sunday, the Brennan Center for Justice called on voters to immediately notify poll workers if their votes are being switched to a different candidate:

    Similar problems have marred Georgia’s gubernatorial race, where Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp—who is also in charge of overseeing the state’s elections—is taking on Democrat Stacey Abrams, who recent polls show is less than three points away from the lead.

    In the build-up to Tuesday’s election, Kemp has deployed a number of tactics voting rights advocates have decried as dirty tricks to purge hundreds of thousands of voters from the rolls and prevent thousands more from exercising their constitutional right to the franchise.

    “What we’re seeing now is a concerted effort to make sure that our election system does not work for everyone.”
    —Sue Halpern, New Yorker
    On top of these efforts, civil rights groups have accused Kemp of deliberately ignoring calls to replace Georgia’s outdated voting machines, which the Georgia NAACP alleged during early voting in recent weeks were changing selections from Kemp to Abrams.

    But because Georgia is one of five states that use entirely paperless voting machines, there is no paper trail to confirm and remedy machine errors.

    “We’ve experienced this before,” Phyllis Blake, president of the Georgia NAACP, told USA Today of the voting machine issues in an interview late last month. “They should have been replaced about 10 years ago.”

    As the New Yorker’s Sue Halpern noted on Sunday, deeply flawed and outdated voting machines “reflect a wider crisis for American democracy,” and the GOP’s continued refusal to fix these flaws is intricately connected to the party’s decades-long assault on voting rights.

    “What we’re seeing now… is a concerted effort to make sure that our election system does not work for everyone,” Halpern concluded. “Voting machines that flip votes don’t need to be hacked by a malicious foreign actor to undermine public confidence in the integrity of our democracy. That’s being done for Americans, by Americans.”

    Writing for the New York Review of Books on Monday, attorney and election integrity advocate Jennifer Cohn also warned that unreliable voting machines pose an existential threat to the nation.

    “This potential weakness is critical,” writes Cohn, “because the entire system of our democracy depends on public trust—the belief that, however divided the country is and fiercely contested elections are, the result has integrity. Nothing is more insidious and corrosive than the idea that the tally of votes itself could be unreliable and exposed to fraud.”

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