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PSA: Have a vote plan. Here are the options in Pennsylvania

In PA, starting this year, voters have the option to vote by mail. You do not need an excuse or a witness to do this. All you need to do is register for a mail ballot at pavoterservices.

To vote in the general election, you have until October 19, 2020 to register. In order to receive your ballot by mail, you must request a mail in ballot by October 27, 2020.

Voting by mail begins on September 14, 2020. Voters are advised to return their ballots as early as possible by mail or by dropping off the completed ballot at your local county Board of Elections. In Pittsburgh, that’s located downtown (or dahntahn) at:

542 Forbes Ave #601, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

The state has allowed for ballots to be accepted up to 3 days after Election Day due to the current postal service slowdowns.

So, what if you get your mail in ballot but you don’t trust the postal system? You have the option to go to your regular polling place and ask to cast your ballot on the machines. The poll worker will take your mail in ballot and destroy it. Then you can vote by machine.

What if your ballot never came in the mail or you lost it? You can still vote in the election at your polling place by filling out a provisional ballot.

In both cases, the integrity of the ballots is preserved. No one can vote more than once.

Do not collect ballots for other people.

My plan:

This year, I plan to fill out my ballot early and will hand deliver it to the board of elections. There’s a parking crater not too far from my destination and it’s a nice walk. If my ballot doesn’t arrive, I will cast a provisional ballot at my regular polling place on November 3. Since I work from home, I can do this during lunch. The polling place is just down the hill.

Do you have a plan?

The RNC Boggart

The reviews of the first night of the RNC convention are in and they’re not pretty, friends, not pretty at all.

Yes, the Republicans have had a grip on our junk for the last four years and yet it’s the Democrats who are at fault for all the bad things that are happening. You’ve got to wonder why the party that claims to be full of tough guys and projects strength as the most important virtue could be so lame at running a country.

The best review I’ve read so far is Robin Givhan’s at WaPo. Her review focused on the style elements of the RNC convention presentations and speakers. She starts with a critique of both parties’ role calls that looked like this:

It was Trumpian politics as television. And it was dismal.

Each state’s chairman or representative appeared in front of the same bland backdrop decorated with the hashtag #RNC2020. The camera’s framing trapped each speaker in an uninspiring rectangle. The only reminder that the Republicans were live from a Charlotte ballroom were the disembodied cheers that would periodically erupt in the background — perfunctory, desperate noise from a greatly reduced throng.

The view of each speaker’s face was so uncomfortably intimate that you could see the perspiration shining on one forehead after another. You could tell how close people shave and how diligently they floss. And frankly, it just seemed to be a cruel and unnecessary act to put these civics die-hards under such a high-definition microscope.

But then, the longer the roll call ticked on, the more you realized that the Republicans had no interest in putting a gloss on their proceedings. They were reveling in the sweaty urgency of their law-and-order, build-a-wall, liberty-and-justice-for-me message. It was just fine that man after man after man after man felt very comfortable expounding on the sanctity of a fetus without mentioning the well-being and autonomy of the woman who carries it.

Other than that, it was American Carnage, the Sequel and the dawning realization that they’ve done nothing to make things better in four years. If anything, the protests, unemployment, growing desperation, and persistent plague they have allowed to flourish on their watch have only made things worse. It’s hard to believe any organization would take pride in screwing things up this badly and then offer nothing but barricading Americans in their homes with guns and prayers as the remedy.

That’s all you got??

It’s like the boggart scene from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The boggart emerges from its wardrobe but instead of making the fear and panic ridiculous, Republicans turn it into the creature from Alien, complete with oozing socialism and black skin armor.

This was the chaos and dark that Biden referred to last week. It’s a cacophony of fear, confusion, lies, projection and anxiety. If it’s so bad out there, why didn’t Republicans do something about it? They’ve had the time and money. Lots of money.

Oh, also, black people and forward thinking people who want to get s}#% done are the enemies.

Yeah, “Ridiculous!”

****************

Here’s a curiosity:

I listen to news on the TuneIn app on my iPhone. For about a month, there was a constant barrage of Trump ads. The most played one was the voice mailbox of the local police station. If you haven’t heard it, it’s all about YOUR emergency and the police department getting back to you in a week.

But in the last two weeks , they’ve all disappeared and I’ve heard nothing but Biden ads. I don’t know what to attribute that to. Does TuneIn target ads to listeners based on locale? If so, is Trump giving up on Western PA? Or PA in general? Is it a national phenomenon? Do they just not have enough money? Are they saving it for more annoying ads as we get closer to the election?

Anybody know? I’m not complaining. The Trump ads were irritating AF and the TuneIn streaming app is the only place I’ve been subjected to political ads from either side. I’d like to keep it that way. (No, I’m not going premium. I don’t have endless money for a zillion sunscriptions)

But the complete absence of Trump ads after weeks and weeks of that annoying Police ad is … weird.