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[00:00:03]

Hello from the Lincoln Project and welcome back. I'm Ron Stuff. This episode is going to be something new and we're calling it explained where we answer a question directly to you, the listeners on these episodes. We're going to answer your questions and provide insights on subjects across the political sphere so you can be informed and equipped with what you need to know for the upcoming election. If you have a question or something on your mind and you'd like us to weigh in on, please reach out to podcast at Lincoln Project on us.

[00:00:33]

We love to hear from you today. Lincoln Project co-founder and independent political strategist Rich Galen is going to join me to talk about Maylin voting. Are you excited?

[00:00:43]

I am excited for everybody to get a chance to mail in their ballot this year.

[00:00:47]

Great. So we get a lot of questions about mail and voting, absentee voting naturally, given everything that's going on in the news right now to set the table read, why don't you start by explaining what mail in voting is? And why don't we start with the distinction or lack thereof between mail in voting and absentee voting? Sure.

[00:01:07]

Well, I think it's probably a distinction without a difference. So I live in Utah, which is an all male in state, Colorado, Nevada, Washington State and Oregon, I believe, are the ballots, which means that regardless of what the election is, everyone in these states has their ballot mailed to them simply because it's safer, it's more efficient. You know, every every mail in ballot has a barcode that when it comes in, you know, it's scanned back into the system.

[00:01:35]

Absentee balloting is the same piece of paper or pieces of paper, just that you have to request that ballot. So places like California or Wisconsin, Michigan, I believe that it's called no fault absentee, which means you don't have to have a reason to request an absentee ballot, that you just decide that for whatever reason, you'd prefer to do this on your couch. Maybe that's with a voter guide or some more information as opposed to going to standing in line, whatever the case might be.

[00:02:02]

So ultimately, it's the same ballot, same envelope, different way of getting it, depending on where you live. But there's no distinction and no difference. Ultimately, it's either mailed back into your county office, your registrar dropped off at a drop box that your county may provide or drop boxes depending on the size of your county. But there has never been. And there any serious issue with security around these are fraud within without, you know, within these.

[00:02:31]

And certainly, you know, again, I live in a state like Utah, a very red state. And if Republicans in this state were at all worried about the security of it, I can sure as heck tell you they wouldn't be doing it right.

[00:02:42]

So mail in voting for absentee voting. The difference between the two names is simply why you might get one or the other, either one when you're going to get mailed automatically because you live in a state. One of five states have a a vote by mail system by default versus a paper ballot. That is literally the same thing as a mail in ballot that you have to request. And either way, you're mailing it back in. Either way, you're mailing it back in.

[00:03:08]

And either way, it's it's secured. And this put the same mechanisms. Yeah.

[00:03:13]

And let me just say, Ron, more broadly than just the difference or the lack of difference, I should say, is that this is this is what we're seeing on a broadly political scale of how we're seeing the president first and foremost, but a lot of the president's allies trying. So confusion this year in the idea of, you know, lack of security or increased fraud.

[00:03:35]

Even the attorney general of the United States, who as an attorney, whether you like him or not, absolutely knows better. But we have to understand that unfortunately for the party, the GOP, that is, you know, they are now a party that can probably only win at the national level by subtraction and reduction, which means they need less people to participate. The ironic part of the president's remarks on mail in and or absentee balloting is that for years, as I think we've mentioned on this show before, this was Republican field practice, bread and butter.

[00:04:10]

This was this is how four years Republican campaigns locked in votes from a lot of seniors who didn't want to deal with the hassle of getting in their car and go into a polling place, whatever it was. And so now to have the president utilizing this is sort of a cudgel to delegitimize the whole process. Must will will hurt his electoral outcomes because that 25 or 30 percent of his most hardcore base won't do it. And whether or not someone is going to show up to the polling place come this November, given the public health emergency we're facing is, I think, uncertain.

[00:04:45]

So it's it's a fascinating thing to see how the president tries to help himself by hurting democracy. Yeah. While at the same time hurt himself by actually reducing the number of people who are likely to vote in a way that would otherwise increase his vote count. Yeah. And this sort of goes to the the sowing of confusion by calling absentee voting or mail in balloting in one state, safe and secure in another state, not safe and insecure because this is all purely motivated by his electoral chances.

[00:05:15]

Exactly. Yeah. So five states have a mail and voting system and they've had them for some time. That's Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington. And most states and D.C. allow for no excuse absentee balloting. And there are 17 states that require a valid excuse for voting absentee. And those can include being out of your district on Election Day, having a mandatory work shift that takes up the whole polling period, being away at college or serving in the military.

[00:05:47]

And some have included fear of catching covid as an excuse. But there's been a lot of politics around that particular excuse lately. Do you want to talk about that?

[00:05:57]

Everything we're dealing with now is ultimately related to covid. And I think what we're seeing is that the president has to find a way to fight through this at the electoral level, right at the actual Election Day or election days level. But most like like most other things he contends with, he has no practical understanding of how any of it works. And so, as I said before, he is desperately trying to reduce the number of people who turn out.

[00:06:23]

And that's a very real thing, right? I mean, I I did for many years, I lived in California and I did ballot measure campaigns. And we always knew that in ballot measure campaigns, confusion equaled no. Do I think that in this case, confusion might be not participating? And that's that's that's also bad. Again, I think we need to turn out as many people as we can. I think that you're starting to see places like Michigan, which I believe the the dead are the the opening of the window to apply for your absentee ballot as next week.

[00:06:52]

I think it's seventy five days out there. And so you can see that they're starting to put the things in place to prepare for more mail than normal. And so I think that that's the secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson there I think is taking this seriously. I, I believe that you will see that probably in a lot of states that have competent elections officials, I would hate to say that it's going to come down to blue states versus red states, but it very well might.

[00:07:16]

You know, I think Ellerston I spent five weeks in Florida and Palm Beach County during the 2000 recount. And, you know, you have to understand that if in a state like Florida where you've got a governor like Rhonda Sanchez and a secretary of state, I believe is elected as well, also a Republican, that they will probably do whatever it is they feel like they can get away with within the well. I don't even know if the letter of the law matters, the spirit of the law, even if it's a close election down there come November.

[00:07:45]

And so, you know, a lot of this is going to come down to state by state. A lot of it's going to come down to whether or not the post office is messed up, which we're hearing so much about. So, for example, if you live in North Carolina and you have applied for an absentee ballot, you're going to receive that ballot probably the Tuesday or Wednesday after Labor Day. That's after Labor Day, not in October, but the first week, maybe early second week of September.

[00:08:10]

If I were you and you're really dedicated to doing this and you have filed for an absentee ballot when it comes voted, close it, sign it. If it needs a stamp, put a stamp on it. And if you can find a Dropbox, take it to the Dropbox. Don't let anything take to come to chance. I think that there's, you know, one person not doing it can say, oh, well, it doesn't matter if I do it, but it does.

[00:08:35]

We saw again, if you go back to Florida in two thousand five hundred and thirty eight votes, right. In twenty sixteen, eleven thousand votes in Michigan, seventy seven thousand votes between Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, every vote is going to count. I know sometimes we sort of get inured to that idea, but it doesn't make it not true. And so you only need one hundred thousand people to say, my vote doesn't really matter or to get confused, to get discouraged or to believe that the system doesn't work and you can have real tangible consequences as we're seeing now.

[00:09:06]

Yeah, I want to put a pin in in what you just said and come back to it a little bit later in this episode, because I have a question for you about the, you know, the margins that we're looking at in November. But we should note that that some states are doing it right. And California, Nevada, New Jersey, Vermont and Montana are five states that went all mail because of covid. And so while other states are playing politics with this, there are other there are some states who have made the decision that that the entire voting process would be by mail this year.

[00:09:38]

So let's go to voting by mail as a part of traditional GOTV operations on campaigns, and I think previously Jennifer Horn has talked about this on the podcast because she used to run a state party in New Hampshire. And she talked a little bit about how these are sort of the bread and butter of especially Republican campaigns. But let's go a little bit deeper. So how important has mail in voting and absentee voting been for Republicans in increasing turnout? And maybe let's give folks a little bit of the mechanics of what goes on inside a campaign and and exactly how that how that happens.

[00:10:14]

Let's start with the mechanics first and how it gets to absentee balloting. So at some point, and I would venture to say that most competent campaigns and competent is the key word there at this point are probably determining in a state by state fashion what they're what the number is they need to win. If they get to X votes, they they they feel like they can be reasonably sure of victory. Then they start to break those down, maybe by county and then ultimately by precinct within those counties.

[00:10:47]

And we're talking about individual Americans or individual Michiganders, individual Pennsylvanians. And so they there will be a list and there will be an effort, I should say, once they've determined who those people are. Are they already registered as absentee ballot holders? Are they already going to receive a ballot, whether or not if we do nothing, if the answer is yes, OK, if the answer is no. Call them, email them, text them, send them a piece of mail that says fill out your absentee ballot application today, send it back in, make sure you're on the list.

[00:11:21]

Once they do that now, they can say, let's, you know, just for argument's sake, say it's mid-September. And I'm sure there's a whole bunch of people who are now screaming at me about the actual date.

[00:11:31]

So now they say, OK, this is our universe. So let's say that we have Waukesha County conservative county west of Milwaukee. And again, we'll just use round numbers to make it easier. We know that there are a hundred thousand Republican voters, absentee ballot holding voters on our list. And we want as many of them as we can to turn out the vote. That ballot mailed it back in most, let's say that on day one. A thousand people turned it right, OK?

[00:12:02]

The the county registrars should be keeping track of that and reporting publicly that this many ballots came out and it depends on states and everything. But in some states, they will actually say, OK, Ron has returned his ballot. Reid has returned their ballot. CJ has not. Rob has not. Right. So we know Ron and Reid are now like their ballots are done. So Ron and Reid, it's been a great election. We'll see in two years.

[00:12:26]

Right, for CJ and Rob, is it another phone call or is it another text in a normal year? Would it be a knock on their door? Is that another piece of mail? You haven't voted yet. And so what you're doing is you're collapsing the number of people you have to worry about from that starting point of one hundred thousand to some lesser number where you say, OK, we can we can pretty much be sure these people are registered Republicans.

[00:12:50]

They should come our way. They have returned their ballots and therefore, by, let's say, late October, sixty thousand votes are in of our universe. Right. So you've been able to reduce the number of people you're actually talking to, reducing your targeting universe, which means you're spending more money, you're spending your money more efficiently. And that goes on from precinct, a precinct all around these states. Again, that's a normal and competent organization.

[00:13:16]

I think that the Trump campaign probably has those people. The problem is, is that the people they're now trying to talk to are being told by the president, by Fox, by CNN, by Rush, by any by band. And whoever it is, it's a scam. The whole thing's rigged. Right. And as I think I've noted before, there was video now probably a couple of months old of Republican voters in Grand Rapids, Michigan, recording themselves, burning their absentee ballot applications there.

[00:13:47]

Some poor guy who's like the western Michigan political director for Trump, who is like tearing his hair out because, you know, those folks have decided they're probably never coming back. Right. That's where, you know, Trump's inability to sort of grasp any sort of granular detail, detail at all with what his campaign is actually fighting against is that he he will always make for every step forward. They try and take he will take two or three steps backward.

[00:14:15]

Whether or not that's on the purely political electoral level messaging or elsewhere. And this happens to mix together in which you have him making it harder for the people ostensibly working on his behalf to do their jobs again. That does not mean that the Biden campaign and Democrats out there are free to not do their jobs. They have their own efforts, especially given the fact that a lot of underserved communities, whether or not that seniors, the military, as you noted, communities of color, urban neighborhoods, a lot of places where polling has always been traditionally difficult or they have consolidated polling places in the name of, quote unquote, efficiency.

[00:14:54]

But for a lot of those folks, it's difficult to get to a polling place. All of these things make polling and make voting more difficult. And I will say and I'm sure there are psychological and political science studies to show this, but the moment that there is, you know, one iota too much friction to participate, people won't. And so it has to be as frictionless and as seamless as it can. And that's why the vote by mail and the absentee ballot piece is so crucial this year, because it allows those folks who, again, may not have the luxury of a polling place at the elementary school down the street, or if, let's say they're in assisted living facility and they're not comfortable, not surprisingly, going to a place, standing cheek by jowl with people for several hours.

[00:15:41]

Also, remember, in a lot of these northern states, it's going to be cold by early November.

[00:15:45]

And it's not it's not like it's in it's like that wet cold. It's like that England cold or that Chicago cold. Like it's it just cuts through the night. And so if you can sit in the warmth of the room or your living room or your kitchen table and do this like do that as opposed to standing out against the like the the brutal, you know, late October, early November Wisconsin wind, which I don't know if you've experienced, but it will just it will just, you know, just freeze your core.

[00:16:12]

So I think that's one of those things that, you know, why it's so essential this year that folks who traditionally already have a tougher time participating, let's make it easier for them, less friction related. And also, here's what we also know. Seniors tend vote in far greater numbers than anybody else. The president we have seen is slipping greatly with those voters on for several reasons. One, because the covid thing, the covert infection, the pandemic has hit them so, so hard, both in sickness and fatalities, too, because, you know, in that late March, early April time period when they things were just getting up and running, you had the lieutenant governor of of Texas, Dan Patrick, among others, in the Republican right, saying old people should sacrifice themselves on the altar of.

[00:17:00]

It does, it seems like years ago now, but like I think seniors took took a little bit of umbrage, rightfully so, to the idea that they should you know, they worked hard all their lives. And now. All right, you've had a good run. We'll see you later. Yeah. And then you know what we just saw last week with these executive orders? Of course, again, the president not having any real clear understanding of what this means is suspending the payroll tax or getting rid of it or whatever the case might be was all fiction to begin with has a practical effect on Medicare and Social Security, which a lot of folks these days, especially if you're over 65, are probably relying on because, you know, maybe they're out of work.

[00:17:35]

You know, maybe they had to they were forced into retirement. Maybe they have medical bills or medical needs that Medicare is covering. But that trust fund is really the last line of defense for a lot of folks who hit their late 60s, early 70s.

[00:17:49]

So to put a finer point on on that very detailed answer, absentee voting has been enormously important for Republicans over the years. And for all the reasons that that Reid just detailed. I want to I have a couple of follow up questions really quick. First of all, do people need to keep track of the barcode on those to take a picture of it with a smartphone? Is that important at all for tracking absentee ballots?

[00:18:14]

So typically, after you close your ballot, you seal it. And, you know, whatever the tarof is, there should be a barcode that you retain at home ever again. Every state is different. And let me let me stress this. Every state is different.

[00:18:28]

So if you live in Wisconsin, your rules would be different from Arizona than they will be different than North Carolina or Texas or wherever it might be. So just make sure you read. And I and I'm not trying to be simplistic and I'm not trying to be condescending. Like this is the stuff that makes your vote either not count or get sent to the bottom of the list, which is read the instructions to follow the instructions. It's usually going to be blue or black ink.

[00:18:54]

Don't do it in pencil. Don't do it in red. Don't give don't give the folks counting the ballots. Any reason to throw it aside, call it provisional, whatever the case might be. You want that ballot to count and you want it to count as soon as they open it.

[00:19:08]

If there should be proof of receipt on your end, which means that if you believe there's been any sort of funny business that you have that pin it to your wall, use a magnet on the refrigerator, put it in your junk drawer or whatever it is, just make sure that from the moment you put it in the mailbox or the drop box for the next 60 days, whatever it is, just hold on to it.

[00:19:27]

Hold on to it. Like you would a winning lottery ticket, because for a lot of us and for the country, it will be right.

[00:19:34]

It's a good way to put. Right. So, yeah.

[00:19:38]

So yeah, for sure. There is typically that. And then, you know, I'm sure that there are ways and I think, you know, Ron, you and your team have done a terrific job of putting the information on the Lincoln Project US website link and project. Let us vote for all the voter information. Most of the folks that work at your county are going to be more than willing to help you. Those folks tend to be their civil servants, right?

[00:20:00]

This is stuff they care about. They don't want this stuff getting messed up. They take it seriously. I would also say that for a lot of the postal workers, right, they take this stuff seriously. It's not a joke to them. You know, they want to make sure that they're part of the process works. I think that what you see is as you get further and further up the line and things get more and more politicized is where you start to run into problems.

[00:20:19]

And so it's really making sure that you at the at the ground level on a one, two, three Main Street knows everything you need to know about voting, your voting, your ballot, mailing it back in or again, dropping it off, dropping it off, if you're able to do it, might be the best thing because then you don't even have to worry about, you know, the Postal Service or anything else.

[00:20:37]

And just in case, if you're anything like me and you tend to lose paper and you have a phone or a smartphone with a camera on it, just take a picture of it because then, you know, it's in your camera. You can always refer to it.

[00:20:47]

Pivoting a little bit. How do we know that if more people vote, Trump will lose?

[00:20:53]

I will say that it is an assumption on my part, but I would also say a couple of things. One is that we've tended to see that in 2016, if we look back at the last election, there were hundreds of thousands of voters, especially on the Democratic side, who had they turned out even in a let's say, a 10 at a 10 percent rate, Clinton would be president. So we know that there was a significant amount of depression in the Democratic base.

[00:21:21]

We also saw just writ large, I think I think turnout was like 50 percent, which was lower than than I think even 2012. In fact, we may go back and repeat this, but I think that Trump won the presidency with less votes than Romney lost the presidency with just on the Republican side. So and I don't I don't I can't compare that to the Obama stuff because I don't know that off the top of my head. But I think you also see that there are less people self-identified as conservative and Republican these days, independent, you know, self registration yourself, ID Democratic.

[00:21:59]

Registration has been up, and so what I think you see is that on the natural, if you can get disaffected Republicans, independents and Democrats to show up in strong numbers, Trump just doesn't have the coalition. There's only so many white exurban voters and in rich country club guys to go around. That's not to say he can't win with them because he did last time. But if if the coalition that is forming or maybe has formed, I don't know.

[00:22:27]

But I think that certainly we we are a part of comes to play on Election Day. It's going to be very, very difficult for Trump to win simply because it's just not the votes there. And he is he is preternaturally incapable as his campaign of trying to reach out to new coalition members in anything other than a truly fanciful, farcical, performative way. Right. They will have this group for Trump and that group for Trump. But it's more of a just you know, they felt like they had to do something, so they did it.

[00:22:57]

Trump I don't know what he got. I don't think he got 10 percent of the African-American vote last time. I don't expect that he's going to get at this time. But if you have hundreds of thousands of African-American voters in Detroit, stay home. Michigan's in play again. And so I think and if they show up, it's not in play. Same in Philly or Pittsburgh or Milwaukee or any place where urban centers who just generally just weren't, you know, disinterested or depressed or or disheartened in twenty in twenty sixteen show up.

[00:23:25]

I think it becomes a it becomes a different dynamic. And while we shouldn't compare midterm elections to presidential elections, we certainly saw very strong turnout among African-American women in twenty eighteen, I think also an African-American win, but also suburban white women. So I think that once again, hopefully if we do this right, the women will save all of us.

[00:23:49]

Yeah, let's hope so. I have another question here that I think is a good segue to our next our next topic here, which is voting fraud. And earlier on, we've talked a bit about the overwhelming margins that we need. I think you mentioned this recently, actually. Maybe it was on our meeting this morning about how we have to run up the score so high on Election Day so that there can be no question of the result. And with that frame, I want to pivot to to Maryland voting fraud or I'm putting that in air quotes because there's been a lot of confusion and chaos around this lately sown by the president and his team himself.

[00:24:30]

Most recently, I think Trump has attacked mail in voting, saying that it will cause increased fraud. Bill Barr has also alleged that there can be a higher rate of election interference with mail in voting. So let's start with, first of all, the merits of those arguments before we get into what could happen after Election Day, potentially not having results on November 3rd, November 4th. Let's talk about the merits of those arguments, first of all, and sort of dispel any myths.

[00:24:57]

Set the record straight.

[00:24:58]

Voting in the United States is, you know, a very it's a fascinating experience compared to most other Western democracies, again, because it is because of our federal system and even then the federalized system within the states in which individual counties are responsible for the the setting up of polling places, the tabulation of those ballots, and then ultimately the receipt, the delivery of said ballots to the county or to the state or whatever it is.

[00:25:26]

You know, there's a there's a process that sort of ladders up. I would say this is that the fraud necessary to change the outcome of an election would be such that, like, these guys are coming up with it. Now, I could see I do ascribe to Russian interference and ban and interference in 2016. And today with the you know, there was that report out about Facebook in the millions of Q and on Facebook groups and members and everything else who are constantly pumping the sewage out into the ether because they don't need all of it to take hold.

[00:26:00]

They just need a little bit of it. It's take hold. But the the idea that you could somehow organize mass voter fraud and no one would hear about it, I think is Justice Thurgood Marshall once said, you know, everybody always forgets about the girlfriend. There's just too many people involved in a in a in the moving pieces like that. I think the most voter fraud is, you know, there's there's several cases. Sometimes people vote in the wrong place.

[00:26:26]

Maybe they thought they were registered and they weren't. Maybe they moved. And so I would say a lot of it is not even fraud. It's inadvertent. The amount of fraud that occurs again is very, very small. And so, again, what you see is that with faced with what is potentially a catastrophic electoral defeat in November, the president, the attorney general, the Trump campaign and all of the other associated sort of Gribbles that make up the the right.

[00:26:58]

Far right now, Republican establishment, for lack of a better way to put it, are doing everything they can to sow confusion, disbelief, delegitimization, because, again, their ultimate goal is not to get in sometimes, not even to get people to vote for Trump, but just not to vote at all. And so I think that's what we have to constantly fight back against. So two things to bolster, everything you just said is that, you know, there are safeguards in place like signature cards and unique identifiers.

[00:27:30]

And also it's worth noting that the Heritage Foundation database itself recorded in 2016 in the presidential election, over one hundred and thirty million votes were cast, but they recorded just eight instances of verifiable absentee ballot fraud. That this gets to your point about the volume that would be necessary. And yeah, and I was told there would be no math.

[00:27:52]

So I don't know what percentage. Eight votes is out of 30 million, but it doesn't seem like a lot. Yeah, I think it's zero point zero zero zero something. So the importance of mail and voting now, why is in voting critical specifically in 2020? And more broadly, we can talk about coronavirus, we can talk about, you know, how it lets more people vote. I think we've covered this this topic, but I want to make sure that we, you know, thoroughly answer this part of the question, because I know there's some people who are genuinely confused and concerned and sure.

[00:28:27]

Thinking, Well, actually, I might just go stand in line so that I know my vote counts.

[00:28:31]

And, you know, and for some people, that is a right. All righty. As well as a right. Are it that they want to go they want the act of going in? You know, I don't know if it's pulling a lever any more, pressing the button on the screen, getting the I voted sticker showing the pride of walking around. This is punching your chin out, doing this in the context of what used to happen. Who knows what happens anymore, but walking around with the I voted sticker and a little flag on your chest.

[00:28:56]

Right. Or on your lapel that says, I participate. And and I think that we still need that again. There will be folks for whom, you know, if they're healthy, if their polling place is you know, I assume, you know, the whatever facility from someone's garage to a high school gym will be somewhat sanitized. I assume they'll put social distancing in place. We should expect things are going to take longer, though. You know, if we if as we've already seen in places like Kentucky and Georgia, you know, there have been massive waits for folks, you know, they had to run to a judge to keep polling places open.

[00:29:35]

I think that's one thing we should note, too, is that we here at the Lincoln Project are in the process. And I think we'll be doing this soon of announcing that we'll have our lawyers in different places, in different states, ensuring that everybody who wants the opportunity to cast a ballot will be able to. And so we just like Republicans, just like Democrats, you know, we can't call them Lincoln lawyers because I don't want to get sued for copyright infringement.

[00:29:59]

But but we will have our folks out there, experts who understand how these things work with direct lines into county registrars, insists the secretaries of states. So that if if we have a person in place who understands that this is these folks are not going to get the chance to cast their ballot before the doors are supposed to close, that, you know, we run to the courthouse and make sure it happens, that if we see any irregularities, that we're we're calling those in ASEP so that the state authorities can take all the action they need to.

[00:30:32]

But again, I think that, you know, in the context of this, the mail voting is one in which the most amount of people can participate the most safely in a time when things will be if things are uncertain now, they are likely to be even more uncertain come November 3rd. And so I think if you can and are willing to participate by mail, you should do so. If not, we can talk about early voting if your state provides for that.

[00:31:00]

And of course, then there's in-person voting.

[00:31:03]

OK, here's the monster of the topic here, the the United States Postal Service, the potential delays that you just talked about and what I think is a counterintuitive and alarming idea that you just mentioned, which is that things are going to get more uncertain the closer we get to November 3rd. Sure. That's that's a pretty scary thought given the time that we're living through right now. Let's really dig into this. The United States Postal Service, there's a lot of uncertainty right now about how quickly and efficiently they can work, including Trump's newly installed postmaster general slowing down the mail.

[00:31:38]

Right. Which we're not making that up. That's what that's what he was doing, ordered to do. And he has ordered postmaster's around the country to slow down the mail, feel free to offer any commentary you like on that point. But but but also, how will this impact voters on the postmaster general piece? This is the this guy whose name I can't recall is some Trump Goon is the first postmaster general in the history of the republic who is not a long time postal employee or postal senior.

[00:32:08]

Right. One more political appointee. Right. You know, and they always I believe the postmaster general always has to be Senate confirmed. But again, it's one of those positions that you really got to know how this stuff works because it is so essential, even in twenty twenty to to sort of the lifeblood of the country. I mean, it was it's in the Constitution, right. We we think back about, you know, that the Pony Express.

[00:32:34]

Right. For many four decades, maybe a couple, maybe one hundred years, 150 years. The post office was what literally connected the country and Americans to one another. Right. The concept of pen pals would not exist. But for the idea that I could drop, you know, I could write a letter to my best friend in 1947, put it in a mailbox and some time later, but in a reasonable time, it would show up at their at their mailbox and they would be able to read it.

[00:33:03]

And this this was before cell phones and the Internet and email and all the other stuff. So it's been you know, it has been connective tissue for the United States since our founding. And so now and I do believe for all of the guff that the Postal Service takes, that the folks that work there do believe that their jobs matter. Right. That they do believe that what they do is as important as we think it is. And so whether or not that's sending Christmas presents, whether or not that's sending a tax check, whether or not that's as we've just heard now from Fred Wellman, who runs our veterans coalition, that he's getting texts, emails, DMS on Twitter reporting that veterans are waiting two weeks longer than they should for their prescriptions in the mail.

[00:33:47]

I mean, let's if I if you would just permit me, Ron, as an aside, you know, just let's put up let's hit pause on voting for a senator. The idea that you might have veterans. Right. Who who are are recipients of VA health benefits. Let's say they served any time. Right. Whether or not they ever saw combat, whether or not they ever served in a in a war zone, whatever it is, you know, they dedicated some significant amount of time to their country, to all of us.

[00:34:14]

And now whether or not it's blood thinners, heart medicine, you know, whatever it is all the way to to men and women, some of them young men and women who rely on these medicines to combat PTSD or maybe some physical injury that they sustained or wound that they sustained while they were overseas and in combat or in theater is an abomination across the board. It's a failure of leadership and a in a demonstration of inhumanity that frankly angers me a great deal.

[00:34:48]

Injured anger all of us because it's showing that there are people in charge, starting with the president on down who are making life and death decisions for a very narrow political reasons. And that is, to me, beyond the pale. And I know that it sounds like what kind of bad spy novel are we living in. Right. What kind of bad political thriller movie are we?

[00:35:11]

Are we sitting through? But unfortunately, this stuff is real. So now how does it come to voting? Again, as I noted, let's say that you live at one, two, three, Main Street and the county registrar's office is two point two miles away as the crow flies, whatever it is, there's a pretty good chance that if you mailed it on a Monday, it's going to get there on a Tuesday. Who knows, though? You know, if you mail it on a Monday and it gets there 10 days later, there's a chance that if you mailed your ballot on October 1st and it got there October 11th, you'd be OK.

[00:35:40]

But if you if you if you mail your ballot November 1st and it gets there on Thanksgiving, really good chance it's not getting counted any time soon. So don't take the chance on that stuff. Make sure again, if you live in North Carolina, make sure that if you get your ballot November 7th, you know, you're checking the box for Joe Biden on November 8th and putting that thing in the mailbox that day. Right. And put a stamp on whatever it is you got to do.

[00:36:07]

Right, if you were mail in your electric bill. Right. And I know that this is maybe you pay it online. I don't know. But you get my point. If you're mailing your electric bill, if you're mailing your mortgage and a lot of people do. Yeah, right. That you would make sure that that thing got in the mailbox as soon as it was supposed to, so that there was no there was no question that it had gone the way it was supposed to.

[00:36:28]

I think also run one thing you noted about the paper, you know, mark down if it's on your calendar, on your computer. You know, I received my ballot on September 7th. I mailed it on September 8th. Right. I've got my piece of paper, you know, did I get notification that it has arrived? Right. And I think you can probably go online and check those things again in some places, maybe some places not.

[00:36:48]

But, you know, anything you can do and I think will continue to provide. Is the Lincoln Project more information for folks across the country about how to make sure of these things? But the bottom line is get the ballot, read the ballot, vote the ballot, seal the ballot, put a stamp on it, mail it as soon as you get it. Don't take don't leave it. If there's one thing we know, if there's one thing twenty sixteen taught us, don't leave anything to chance.

[00:37:14]

Your chance is not our friend. Right. Your fate has not been our friend. Karma has not been our friend. Let's let's take fake karma and chance out of it. Right. The three amigos of disaster and and step forward a little bit in our own right. Everything you can do.

[00:37:32]

And speaking of what voters can do, what happens if their ballot is postmarked on time, but it's received late. It depends on the state. So I think that there are some states where the postmark is what matters, and I believe there are other states in which the date of receipt matters. So, again, I don't have I wish I could tell you all 50 states and five territories off the top of my head. But again, make sure that you understand that.

[00:37:57]

And again, the best way to ensure that is to, you know, don't mail your ballot later than October 30th or whatever day it is or, you know, this really October 20th, whenever you can. Just again, I'm going to beat you and I'm going to beat everybody over the head with this. So I'm sorry. We're going to keep talking about this yet.

[00:38:13]

The ballot vote, the ballot, return the ballot and just. Yeah. Are there types of voters that are more that are most likely to mail a ballot closer to the deadline and risk not having their vote counted? You know, there typically are.

[00:38:27]

I mean, most even in a normal mail, you know, in a normal election, there will be about half of folks who mail it very soon. And then, you know, it's sort of it's sort of it's sort of you get a bell curve, right? You see an early rush of returns and then it sort of tops out and then it increases or, you know, it tops out. And then you see a further increase as you get closer toward Election Day.

[00:38:47]

It'll be interesting to see this year because we just expect there's going to be so many more people that are participating this way. But I would say, again, you know, somebody, if you're a late decider now, you know, it's a you're a rare breed, I think, in this I think in these polarized times. But again, if you're a late decide or don't decide too late and if you're going to, you know, a lot of times to even if you have a mail in ballot, you know, you can drop it off at the polling place on Election Day.

[00:39:15]

But make sure it's your polling place because, you know, if you drop in again, every state is different. And I'm sure people are listening to me and their eyes are glazing over as they sit in their cars. And I totally understand. But like, if you drop it off at the wrong place, it might be considered provisional, which means it gets counted last. I don't want that either. So you're potentially. Yeah, if we're not right.

[00:39:37]

Potentially. Not at all. Depending on the margins or who's in charge of the counting. Right. Right. Yeah. And I think Steve Schmidt mentioned this one time on on one of our episodes. The only person who can stop you from voting is you. And and it really is true. You but but it's going to take some effort, maybe, you know, maybe more effort on your part than than than it should or than you have ever had to put in before.

[00:40:02]

So just to put a finer point on this, apply early mail back early. Many absentee ballot deadlines are too late to receive complete and mail back your ballot in time, drop off your ballots at a polling place or a Dropbox if you know you can in your state. And again, Lincoln project US vote. And we've compiled lots of resources there, all the salient details and and in every case links off to the the elections website for that state.

[00:40:34]

So if you just want a handy resource, check that out. What can our listeners do to make sure other people's votes count? Read because, you know, I mean, I think I think a lot of folks listening there already with us, they've already checked it out. They know exactly how they're going to vote and when they're going to vote. And and and, you know, they've got a plan. And and one of the questions we get on this topic is, OK, I'm with you now.

[00:40:59]

What can I do to make sure that everybody else can vote and that their votes count? What are the most valuable things for them to do?

[00:41:05]

Well, I mean, a lot of it's simple, which is, you know, start with your family. Is your is your spouse, your partner. Are they registered to vote? If they're registered to vote, have they requested their ballot? If you have children, you know, who are of voting age, are they registered? Have they have they requested that absentee if it's your grandparents or your parents, whoever it is, start there and then talk to your friends, you know, the ones that you believe are likely to vote.

[00:41:35]

You know, the obviously it depends on how they vote. But, you know, if you have friends and colleagues and your networks, you know who you believe want to participate but might be confused. You know that we Facebook has many things, but it also connects a hell of a lot of people.

[00:41:51]

So if you have folks in your Facebook group who are, you know, you believe or are confused, you know, point of our way, use, utilize anything you have, there's resources out there. You just got to go find them again. We'll help with that process. And I think if you haven't signed up for one of our our Facebook groups, our volunteer groups in the Target Electoral College states, please do. So, you know, we'll be reaching out to voters, you know, in your state, your county, your locality, making sure that they understand that, making sure that we're walking those people through individually, whether or not that's by phone, by text, by mail, by email, by direct message, whatever the case might be.

[00:42:30]

But, yeah, you know, get you first and foremost, get your family out if it's you plus eight. And we do that, you know, one hundred thousand times. You know, we've made the difference and I'll say this, you know, there's that old trope that, you know, democracy is not a spectator sport and it's not. And when we see it, we're in a place now because, you know, we're in the reality show era of politics, which we can help end.

[00:42:56]

But that means like we got to get off our rear ends and do it. It's democracy is a very fragile means of governance, form of governance, and it relies on the populace to get off its ass and do its job, which is to participate such that the people in power understand that they are not in charge. Right. Democracies only work when when when the people who are governed, you know, give their consent. And when they start to take that consent for granted, we start to see what we're seeing.

[00:43:26]

I mean, the founding fathers, if you go back all the way to Philadelphia in 1787, understood that left to its own devices, government will become a leviathan that wraps its tentacles around all of us, which is why they put so many checks and balances in place. But the checks and balances are dependent upon an informed and active electorate participating when they have the opportunity. And I think if if if now is not the time, you know, to to sort of get yourself geared up and have an extra cup of coffee or an extra espresso or coke or whatever it is you used to get going in the morning, we've got plenty.

[00:44:01]

We need any.

[00:44:02]

Yes, we will. You will find the things that get you fired up. Now is the time. Right. And it's, you know, not to not to be hyperbolic about it, but it's only the democracy and it's only democracy and the future of the country on the line. Yeah. So, you know, but that's you know, but what I want to say is, is we need to make it more tangible than that. You know, when folks ask why should I participate?

[00:44:23]

Well, look, look, look what's happening now, right? Public health emergency. Hundreds, five, five million Americans have been sick. Yeah. One hundred and seventy thousand dead, 30, 40 million out of work, tens of millions about to be evicted. You know, these numbers can get big in a hurry and they become statistical in a hurry. But the pain is going to come for all of us in one way or another. And we cannot mitigate it.

[00:44:51]

We cannot get to the brighter day I think we all hope for until and unless we get it under control. And the bottom line is Trump is incapable of it. He's bored with it. He doesn't want to talk about it. The reason why he says testing does more testing is bad news is because he wants testing to go down, because he thinks in his mind that if there are less tests and less publicly reported cases, then there are actually less cases like that's that's how he sees it.

[00:45:16]

And of course, we all know that that is that is ridiculous. But not to him. He doesn't want to talk about this anymore. He wants to talk about whatever the heck it is. He wants to talk about it on any given day. Yeah. So, yeah, it's important. You know, there was the woman, you know, it's probably an apocryphal story, but the woman who when Frank when Ben Franklin emerged from Constitution Hall in Philadelphia, Freedom, Paul, whatever we called it.

[00:45:37]

And now now 80 miles of my own civics test said, you know, Mr. Franklin, what have you given us? And he said, a republic, madam, if you can keep it. And the question this fall is, can we keep it? And I think we can and I think we will. But. Right. But it's time to get fired up. We've got eighty four days to go. Like no rest for the weary. Right.

[00:45:58]

You know, it's got to be, you know, into the breach each and every day. I know, Ron, you and your team are always at it. You know, we've got the folks that work out at the Lincoln Project are an incredible band of pirates and patriots. And and I know that that millions of people that follow us on social media and the half a million people that have signed up to join the Lincoln Project, which we'd also encourage you to do Lincoln Project at us, like we need more of you and we need more of you working harder every single day.

[00:46:26]

We can do this. Right. This is the thing is is like it's imminently doable. It's totally do. It's all Americans got to do is just go do it. Yeah. Just to add a couple of a couple of other things you can do, which I think we've talked about before, signing up to become a poll worker. There is a shortage of poll workers right now across the country. They're acutely needed in some of the most important states.

[00:46:54]

But but they're really needed all over the country. And it's pretty obvious why? Because of covid. But but just understand that that poll workers really matter, and especially when one would vote. Margins are are tight. We will put we'll put a link to to a resource where you can sign up to to become a poll worker. I think there's a couple of a couple of options, organizations that are helping folks get connected. And also read you mentioned helping others, helping folks in your immediate family, whether that's getting them out to a physical location to vote or just think about all of the work that you had to put in researching how you were going to vote by mail and when you were going.

[00:47:37]

You now have. All of that knowledge at your fingertips, it's already in your head, you can share that with everybody in your network, you can tell them, right. So so if you have if you have elderly parents or you have grandparents who who aren't exactly sure, guess what you do. And you can now help them and walk them through the process. If you have friends who also. Well, I'm not sure I'm not sure how I'm going to do it.

[00:47:58]

Can you whatever you now know.

[00:48:00]

So go help them. Everybody listen to this podcast. Most likely knows how they're going to vote.

[00:48:04]

Well, and here's the thing. Parties like this, this device reads holding up this phone. I'm holding up my phone, I'm on camera so Ron can see my my lovely mug.

[00:48:13]

I'm holding on my phone. It has every bit of human knowledge ever created in it and you carry it around with you. So if you can go on Facebook, if you can look up, you know, I've never seen that kind of bird in my yard before, and you type it into Google, you can go to your state, you know, your state elections office, your county elections office and figure out how to do this.

[00:48:36]

It's not enough to say, well, I just don't understand or I didn't have time. Like everything you need is at your literal fingertips. If you want, they will send you the ballot. You don't even have to leave your house. And so what I'm saying is like, don't let the you know, it's like the head saying, I don't feel like doing it, but the heart saying you have to. Right. And I think we have to listen to the we have to listen to our guts a little bit more than our heads because our heads will be overly rational and not passionate enough.

[00:49:08]

And we can't have this can't be a vanilla ice cream election. Right. This has got to be like a banana split election, lots of bells and whistles and good stuff. But it can't happen until they can do it. Yes, absolutely.

[00:49:20]

And if you do and I know that I just slaughtered all sorts of metaphors in that last all you English teachers out there. I am so sorry. I'm very, very sorry.

[00:49:31]

If you do go to the polls, you can you can. If you do go to vote physically in person, you can bring bottled water and hand them out to folks who are waiting in line because there will be very long lines. They're guaranteed to be very long lines. You can hold someone's place in line if they need to go use the restroom, you can bring umbrellas. If it's raining, you can offer rides to anyone who might need them, get creative and think about the things other people might need in order to exercise the right to vote.

[00:49:57]

Right. There's you know, there's lots of stuff you can do. One more question on this topic, which is how how folks can put pressure on their local officials to make sure that voters votes are counted fairly. We've talked, obviously, about calling officials on our podcast. We talked about it last week. In fact, what are some other public ways to pressure officials and and is this necessary?

[00:50:27]

If there's one thing that I've learned in a lifetime of politics, is that the last thing in the world any elected official wants to do is actually hear from a constituent. They hate that. They just hate it. And why is that? Well, because that means that somebody's paying attention to what they're doing and they really don't like that example.

[00:50:46]

So, yeah, I would say, you know, call, email, text, write a letter to the editor, you know, attend to, you know, if they have a I assume well, I shouldn't assume because a lot of these folks don't want to do it, but they'll be Zoome town halls or some sort of televised interactive thing where they you know, where they're going to take questions. But just make sure they know that you're watching, that you're not going to let them get away with it.

[00:51:13]

We will certainly be carrying that banner through the fall that we are watching that when we hear and see of things that are fundamentally wrong or against the spirit of free and fair elections, that we will be calling those people to account. And I think that everybody can in their own ways. And so, again, if you know, all the information is at your fingertips, if you feel like you're not, you're hearing something. Again, if it's about the post office, you know, if you're a postal worker.

[00:51:40]

Right. I think you can email us info at Lincoln Project U.S. If you're seeing things here and things, you know, we'll keep your we'll keep your information confidential. Same with any other elections workers. Write email us info at Lincoln Project U.S.. Yes. And we will we will take what you see. We will keep it confidential, but we will make sure that somebody takes action against it. I mean, what what the folks listening to this podcast in the millions of others have helped us do is create a channel in which when we want to shine a spotlight on something, a whole lot of rats go running and we want to keep those rats running all the way out of sixteen hundred Pennsylvania come January 20th of next year.

[00:52:18]

And one of the thing is that if you experience or witness or hear about voter intimidation or voter suppression, there's an election protection hotline. And we have that up on the on the Lincoln Project website link project. Let us vote. But the number is one eight six six six eight seven eight six eight. Just put it in your OK, just put it in your phone right now, OK, read, I think this brings us to, you know, sort of this entire conversation, especially the part about the post office and the potential delays, brings us to Election Day, November 3rd.

[00:52:56]

And I want to close out with some real talk about about what we are likely to experience. And and I want us to be really clear with listeners, but also not I want to leave folks with some hope here. Sure.

[00:53:14]

Because you talked about the need to win this election by overwhelming numbers so that there can be no question about the validity or.

[00:53:23]

Why did you mention that? Because we normally have results on election night, we normally normally we would have I mean, normally we would have.

[00:53:32]

I mean, two thousand is a good example where we obviously didn't for a long time. I think even in 2004. Remember that I think it took an extra day or so for Ohio to come in and sort of Sentier, although I don't think there was ever really any question, eh, that Bush was going to win or B, that Kerry would concede. You know, as I mentioned, I lived I live here in Utah and we had our our primary election a few weeks ago in an all male state.

[00:53:56]

And it took about a week for us to know who our, you know, our gubernatorial nominees were going to be. Nominees for governor were going to be. And so I think that we should expect I don't know that it'll necessarily take a week because, you know, we will still have early voting and in-person voting. And I think a lot of efforts like ours and many other very talented groups, you know, encouraging folks and assisting folks to vote early.

[00:54:19]

But you know what? We what we want to do is make sure we're communicating to you all. And I think we are all communicating together that if and when November 3rd comes and turns into November 4th and we don't have a decision yet. That that does not mean that Donald Trump gets to start running roughshod and say, see, I told you we wouldn't have a decision, therefore I'm not playing by the rules. I think that it has to be we're going to know our decision and when we have our decision.

[00:54:50]

And I do believe that it will be Joe Biden has been elected, that Donald Trump is going to do what presidents have always done or losing candidates have always done in this country, which is that he's going to call Joe Biden. Donald Trump is and say, Mr. President elect, congratulations. And then he is going to go back to the White House and he is going to look around for one or two more months and he is going to do everything he needs to ensure that the Biden administration has what it needs to start off on the right foot come January 20th of next year.

[00:55:21]

I don't know that they can do that last part because they haven't been able to run the White House to begin with.

[00:55:26]

But it is absolutely an unacceptable outcome for Donald Trump to do anything other than sit quietly, which we know he won't, and say I await the outcome of this election is soon is you see anything like federal authorities moving around? Absolutely unacceptable. I can't believe we're talking about this.

[00:55:48]

I know, but we're talking about it because not only is it on our minds, like we've talked about this internally quite a lot and it's also on our listeners minds and they're asking what happens when we don't know.

[00:55:57]

So because we know what he's going to do. I think what we what we say is, one, people as if to a couple of things.

[00:56:03]

One is to continually communicate that our desire to see Donald Trump go, our willingness to take all action electorally, to make that thing, to make that happen and politically to make that happen and to say this is a we should really right. And to say this is our country. This is not your country. This is our government, not your government. This is our system, not your system.

[00:56:27]

And that we will do and we will do everything we can to protect that system from you and whatever bad acts you might take. And so we will communicate that, I think. But here's the thing is, as I think I mentioned, Trump is not a confrontational guy. He doesn't like fights. He's, in fact, the least confrontational president we've probably ever had. He always hides behind, you know, Anthony Scaramucci once called him the keyboard cowboy.

[00:56:52]

He hides behind his Twitter feed because he in real life, he's a coward. And so if if he hears the drumbeat from this moment until November 3rd, you are going to lose. We are getting our country back. We're getting our country back. And therefore, you're going to lose that. It very well might be. And I hope against hope that this is true, that by the time November 4th rolls around, that we're going to know enough and Donald Trump is going to know enough that he has lost and he takes you know, he takes leave of the stage at least until January 20th until and he will never leave us alone right.

[00:57:27]

In his own weird and awful ways. But that he understands that that it is an untenable position for him to attempt to do anything like question the outcome of an election, disrupt the counting of ballots, because the outcomes of that. Are very, very bad, that they are un-American, that all you have to do is look at what's going on in a place like Belarus, in Eastern Europe, where the longest serving authoritarian dictator should have been thrown out of office this weekend by a wide margin and instead in an attempt to maintain power, you know, sent the same kind of goons into the streets of Minsk that Trump and Chad, Wolf and Bill Barson into the streets of Portland and throwing people in the backs of vans and driving off with them.

[00:58:16]

And so, you know, I think that we cannot allow that. That's not who we are. It's not who we're going to be. It's not. And I think we need to communicate that to everybody all the time.

[00:58:26]

You read this is a good one.

[00:58:31]

Ron, thank you. Thank you for breaking down our topic.

[00:58:36]

We will vote. Got to do. We will vote for more information about how you can vote or get an absentee ballot or all other things. Voting visit Lincoln Project that U.S. vote. If you haven't yet, please make sure you subscribe to the show and rate and reviews wherever you get your podcasts. This helps more voters find the show and join our movement to defeat Trump and Trump ism at the ballot box for the Lincoln Project. I'm Ron Suslow. I'll see you in the next episode.