Antivaccine nonsense Medicine Politics Pseudoscience Skepticism/critical thinking

Vote as if your children’s health depends on it. Antivaxers are on the ballot.

Antivaxers have become politically active and, unfortunately, quite influential in several states. As you go out to the polls today, remember that, and vote as if our children’s health depends on it, particularly if you live in Texas and Oklahoma.

It’s election day, finally. After months of enduring endless political ads, attack ads, mailings, text messages, and more, it’s finally time to vote. So go out and vote. If you need motivation, just consider: Antivaxers have become increasingly active in politics. I’ve actually been documenting this for years, going back to the backlash in California to SB 277, the law that eliminated nonmedical “personal belief exemptions” to school vaccine mandates, which unleashed a firestorm of antivaccine activity. I also think that, probably more than anything else, SB 277 accelerated the alignment of antivaxers with conservative, small-government groups who view regulation as evil and over the last five years or so have started to lump school vaccine mandates in with hated regulation, viewing them as unholy assaults on “freedom” and “parental rights.” I have to admit that antivaxers have played conservatives well, presenting their antivaccine beliefs in conservative-friendly terms as being about the “rights” of parents to raise their children as they see fit and portraying school vaccine mandates as unacceptable assaults on freedom. Never mind the rights of children, as Peter Hotez notes:

“We’ve got kids dying of the flu, an enormous risk of a measles outbreak, over what?” says Hotez, who has been one of the loudest voices to condemn the modern anti-vaccine movement. “Over crap. Over nothing. These phony terms that anti-vaccine groups have claimed like ‘medical freedom’ or ‘parental choice’ ignores the fact that children have a fundamental human right to be protected against deadly diseases.”

Yes, they do. But antivaxers don’t see it that way. Many view their “right” to raise their children as they see fit to be basically absolute.

This sort of antivaccine activism has been particularly pernicious in Texas, where the antivaccine group Texans for Vaccine Choice has been quite effective. So, if you’re in Texas, you really need to pay attention to where your candidates stand on school vaccine mandates. But antivax political influence is not limited to Texas or California. Indeed, just yesterday, there was a long article in WIRED by Megan Molteni, How antivax PACs helped shape midterm ballots. It starts with Oklahoma::

IN EARLY 2015, Sen. Ervin Yen, an anaesthesiologist who became Oklahoma’s first Asian American state legislator, introduced a bill to require all schoolchildren to be vaccinated, unless they had a medical reason not to. California had recently debuted similar legislation after an outbreak of measles in Disneyland sickened 147 people and led to the quarantine of more than 500 others. At the time, California’s vaccination rates were below the 94 percent threshold needed to establish community immunity for measles. Oklahoma’s vaccination rates were even lower than California’s. Yen, a moderate Republican, felt like he had to do something.

But his bill never made it out of committee. The next year, he tried again, modifying the language to allow for religious objections. It failed too. So did the one Yen introduced in 2017. In 2018 he tried yet again, along with a resolution that would have placed the elimination of all non-medical vaccine exemptions on the general election ballot in November.

Yen is Republican. (It is, after all, Oklahoma.) As has happened often during the last few years, as a comparative “moderate” he was also primaried by an outsider Republican candidate, Joe Howell, and lost. Why? Here’s what he thinks:

If you ask Yen why he lost, he’ll offer a variety of reasons in his soft, Oklahoma City twang. But he suspects the biggest factor was the influence of local anti-vaccination activists. According to campaign finance filings, Oklahomans for Vaccine and Health Choice were the second biggest donor to Howell’s campaign, after only Howell himself. “They weren’t the only reason I lost, but there’s no question the anti-vaxxers were important in my defeat,” says Yen.

Also, did I mention that the Republican candidate for governor of Oklahoma, Kevin Stitt, is an antivaxer?

As I said, it’s not just Oklahoma, either:

But in the last few years, the modern anti-vaccination movement has evolved into a new chapter: the political action committee. In the 18 states that currently permit parents to send their unvaccinated children to public schools on the grounds of philosophical objections, “Vaccine Freedom” PACs are increasingly flexing political muscle to keep it that way. By making a broader appeal to parental rights, some groups are now pushing agendas that would eliminate vaccine mandates of any kind. And as they shape this year’s election ballots to be more favorable to their cause, the nation creeps ever closer to an infectious disease outbreak as inevitable as it will be tragic.

Of course, I’ve been warning about the increasing politicization of school vaccine mandates for years. This politicization became undeniable during the Republican primaries for the 2016 election, where Donald Trump, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, and others seemed to vie for the title of best panderer to antivaccine beliefs. (Rand Paul won, from my perspective, with his line about how, “The state doesn’t own the children. Parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom.” Yes, that’s what “parental rights” mean to him and, sadly, a lot of other antivaxers. Indeed, after Donald Trump’s victory, I was concerned enough to ask if 2017 would be the antivaccine year. (The answer: Mixed.)

I alluded to Rep. Jason Villalba, a three-term Republican state legislator from Dallas, who was similarly primaried by an antivaccine-approved candidate:

In 2015, Villalba filed legislation to end religious and philosophical vaccine exemptions, a loophole in state law dating back to 2007. Like Yen, he was concerned about a potential measles outbreak, especially with a two-month-old son at home.

In response, a mother named Jackie Schlegel, who says that one of her kids was injured by vaccines, formed a Facebook group of “mad moms in minivans” to kill the bill. The group quickly grew into a political action committee called Texans for Vaccine Choice determined to protect their right to medical freedom.

After the bill’s defeat, the group turned its efforts to unseating Villalba, backing primary challengers to his re-election campaign in 2016 that ran largely on the vaccine exemption issue. According to Villalba, every time he’d show up at the polls to greet people, two or three people from TFVC would be there to confront him and yell insults. “They just wanted to ridicule me and make me look foolish,” says Villalba. “I didn’t think that was an effective way to win hearts and minds.”

Villalba admits that Texans for Vaccine Choice wasn’t the only factor in his defeat: Beto Fever. In his wealthy, educated district, which Clinton won by 14 points in 2016, about a fifth of the district’s Republicans switched over to vote Democratic in this year’s primaries, thanks to the appeal of Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke. According to Villalba, that left all the residual voters who hail from the farthest of the far right fringes as the main Republican voters in the primary, in an example of the law of unintended consequences.

It’s not just Villalba’s unseating, either. Antivaxers have been very busy in Texas. For example, during the flooding of Houston after Hurricane Harvey last year, Barbara Loe Fisher’s National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) did its best to make sure that make sure that the parents of children temporarily displaced to other schools due to flooding could maintain their children’s personal belief exemptions to school vaccine mandates by pointing out how schools can’t require documentation of vaccination status from children made temporarily homeless by the hurricane. In addition, I’ve written about Texans for Vaccine Choice on multiple occasions. It is a virulently antivaccine group that’s played a pivotal role in blocking any efforts in the Texas legislature to tighten school vaccine requirements and make it harder to obtain personal belief exemptions. Indeed, it’s a group that has led me to conclude that, most likely, when the next big outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease happen, they’ll happen in Texas.

The WIRED article doesn’t mention it much, but we have a similar, albeit fortunately weaker phenomenon in Michigan. For instance, my state senator, Jeff Noble, appeared at an antivaccine panel discussion, where he touted his efforts to eliminate a state requirement that parents seeking personal belief exemptions travel to their local county health office and undergo an education program on vaccines, or, as I put it, to make measles great again. Tellingly, he pointed out that it was only the Republicans who were responsive to antivax proposals to weaken school vaccine mandates, while all the Democrats on the committee were completely opposed.

Speaking of RFK, Jr., just before the election, he released an advertisement attacking California Senator Richard Pan, the architect of SB 277 and a vocal pro-vaccine advocate, in his bid for reelection and endorsing someone named Richard Frame, who appears to be a progressive:

So, yes, there are definitely antivaxers on the left. As I’ve pointed out many times, antivax is the pseudoscience that knows no political boundaries, with luminaries on the left such as Jill Stein having pandered to antivaxers and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. being a leader in the antivaccine movement.

However, right now, in 2018, the loudest and most influential voices in the antivaccine movement have overwhelmingly aligned themselves with the right because they’ve found a message that resonates with the right: Deceptively conflating “vaccine choice” and “vaccine freedom” with freedom from government regulation and “parental rights.”

If you didn’t need another reason to vote this year, there you have it. Just make sure to check your candidate’s views on vaccines before you go to the polls and make sure you’re not voting for someone who will work to enact policies that can lead to the resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

65 replies on “Vote as if your children’s health depends on it. Antivaxers are on the ballot.”

For me, it depends what the issue is. There are places right now where the “single issue” is literally that one candidate is a Nazi. That’s a threat to my life and safety, and a lot of other people’s.

I’m in Massachusetts, and the candidates I voted against aren’t that bad–and several of those I voted for are actively good. But as Orac says, sometimes it is a matter of your, or your friends or children’s, lives.

For me, it depends what the issue is. There are places right now where the “single issue” is literally that one candidate is a Nazi. That’s a threat to my life and safety, and a lot of other people’s.

I don’t think that’s so much a single-issue as it is an all-around revolting candidate with a vile agenda. But point taken and to extend that, the danger of voting on a single issue such as anti-vaxx is that they would vote for a vile candidate solely if they supported an anti-vaxx agenda and I think anyone rational would agree how dangerous that would be.

We voted.

Things have been interesting in Dr. Pan’s Facebook page: it appears there’s extensive opposition to him… almost all from antivaccine activists from out of state.

I’ve recently seen comments involving Dr Yen – I didn’t know who was- but he LOST? Anti-vaxxers are still waving him around like a flag. Not sure exactly where I saw that as I look at loads of garbage.

Lots more against Dr Pan such as today at AoA comments. The other day Kim Rossi had a comment that included thinly veiled ethnic slurs which may have been scrubbed ( “inscrutable” and something else).It may have been on twitter. His district is IIRC Sacramento which is rather blue – I doubt that they can muster enough support to oust him.

Hopefully, many people are upset about real issues like the possible loss of health care, a mindless leader, interference by foreign governments in elections and corporate influencers in the cabinet that their voices will drown out the anti-vaxxers’ quibbling.

I just heard a prediction ( Stephanie Ruhle) that 100 million will vote .

It does seem counterintuitive: some Texans are willing to pay money (to PACs) so that children can be vulnerable to vaccine preventable diseases. The likely result? Similar to the UK immediately post Wakefield, California post Disneyland, and the current outbreaks in Europe it will mainly be kids that develop disease. It’s baffling to me: making a public health issue political, then paying money to put children at risk…

Orac writes,

Antivaxers are on the ballot.

MJD says,

I admire your passion for vaccines, but factually, the word “antivaxers” has no clear boundaries. @Orac, please define the word “antivaxer” and make it quantifiable.

Orac has no need to define that word because EVERYONE except you knows exactly what it means. You probably do as well but persist in denying your opposition to vaccines by substituting issues like safety that are so common to other anti-vaxxers. Vaccines are safe and effective. They’ve been tested repeatedly.

Do you also go around griping about the lack of safety in air travel, automobiles, home heating options, the electrical grid, public water systems and all food products? **

** which can crash, fail, explode, catch fire, become contaminated or poison OCCASIONALLY

Denice Walter writes,

Orac has no need to define that word because EVERYONE except you knows exactly what it means.

MJD say,

@ Orac, if I am indeed the only person who doesn’t understand the meaning of the word “antivaxer” please disregard my question. Alternatively, if one person matters just like casting a vote – please answer the question.

please disregard my question

There was no need for the “if,” jackass; that’s the default. You can’t get the simple idea “if you have nothing to say, say nothing” into your passive-aggressive cranium.

It’s also not as though he hasn’t been referred to old posts in which I explained how I defined antivaxers. He’s just being passive-aggressive now.

Q. Is anti-vaxxer the antithesis of a vaccine safety advocate.


Vaccine Safety Advocate – Any person hesitant about vaccinations but committed to affecting their risk/benefit ratio, typically a person of science or parent who places their concerns into the public domain in an effort to affect vaccine continuous improvement.

@ Orac,

I’m waiting for your brief definition of “anti-vaxxer” to make a comparison with “vaccine safety advocate”.

Q. Is anti-vaxxer the antithesis of a vaccine safety advocate.

A. Fuck the living fuck off. Take up change ringing, preferably as a clapper.

From the Logically Fallacious website:

Definist Fallacy
(also known as: persuasive definition fallacy, redefinition)

Description: Defining a term in such a way that makes one’s position much easier to defend.

MJD’s definition of Vaccine Safety Advocate is an example.

i cannot imagine being in the position of having to vote for a republican for any reason and to be honest, I have not checked on this for any of the candidates. I just want my state to turn back to BLUE. If I find out any of my reps are anti-vax, I’ll take direct actio, but not sure I could withhold a vote unless they were rabid about it–and that’s what I’d do, leave that spot blank, not vote for the republican. The first one I’d look at is Ron Johnson–yeah, he who sponsored Right To Try. He’s too far gone for redemption. I’ll check on the others.

“i cannot imagine being in the position of having to vote for a republican for any reason ”

When there are thirteen choices on the ballot and nine of them are Republicans running unopposed.

My SO has a policy of never voting for anyone running unopposed because he wants to give a possible write-in candidate a fighting chance. I’ll vote for people I genuinely like even if they’re running unopposed, so they can say they have more mandate than “there was literally no one else”.

I think I voted for a Republican once (although my state doesn’t exactly have party affiliations; it’s weird) because the person running against them had no relationship with reality and was frankly scary (and the Republican was OK).

There seem to be quite a few of those. Like for one of the judge positions, the unqualified guy actually lost his license to practice law in Hawaii.

And we all “love” Good Space Guy. :-p

Chris: Oh my goodness, that guy! Apparently he runs against any judge because he had a bad case and decided all the judges hate him (wonder why) so whenever one is up for election he runs against them.

GoodSpaceGuy used to be entertaining, when he was all about space exploration. Now he just sounds like one of the dime-a-dozen right wing fringe folks.

Yep, he has become more unhinged over the years. I have a habit of making notes in the voter’s pamphlet as I slog through it. My younger son finds them very entertaining.

This really hasn’t been an issue where I live. We have anti vaxxers but our ruby red legislators don’t feel the need to go all out full fax to keep their seats, so they generally don’t.

But it would be an issue if I knew one was anti vax, blue or red.

I hate voting in Chicago elections. Nearly all the races are foregone conclusions, and there’s a parade of nearly pointless judicial retention entries (almost nobody ever gets booted from the Cook County Circuit Court). Yet here I sit filling out a 13-page sample ballot.

I’ve been in Hyde Park since ’84, so I think we overlapped for a while. You wouldn’t recognize the neighborhood now that Urban Renewal Redux has taken place. So much for Milton Friedman.

I never know where to vote on judges. I should probably be a little more proactivr there. I usually vote to retain people I personally know and like and leave the rest blank

I actually spoiled my second ballot by accidentally double-voting, so I had to do the whole damn thing over again. The simplest approach is probably just to vote against retention for those who receive abysmal evaluations from the the bar associations (in my case, six or seven, the opinions of which I weight differently). YMMV.

Well, I’ve been arguing for awhile here that there aren’t enough antivax votes for pols to pander to them, so it’s more likely a matter of significant campaign donations, and now Orac finally tells us about the antivax PACs. So many questions: How much $$ do these PACs spend? On what and for whom (any Dems??)? Who donates to these PACs? What’s the balance of big donors to small donors?

My guess would be the PACs are mainly funded by a relative few, relatively well-heeled donors. This is a general problem with our post Citizens United politics: a few wealthy people can prop up several stealthily extremist candidates into the mainstream. The other day The Guardian reported that a small circle of well-heeled white supremacists provided the funding that started the political careers of both Kris Kobach and Steve King.

This is America. It doesn’t matter how many people support or oppose a cause, at least not compared to how much money is stacked for or against.

There is a lot of money and stay at home moms to canvass in antivaxx land.

I would estimate that there is a hard core group of supporters ( from looking at facebook numbers- up to 50K, twitter followers, commenters etc) who probably send a little money to their charities, see films and buy books
HOWEVER a few wealthy people created the websites and charities or fund research ( Age of Autism, Generation Rescue, Focus Autism/ Health etc; Blaxill, Larson, Handley, McCarthy/Wahlberg, the Segal family, the Dwoskin family).

Sullivanthepoop alludes to “stay at home moms” below and that is certainly an important factor that allows Thinking Moms and other sites to exist: they do the day to day operations. Lately, though, TMR seems to be frequently inactive as a website having gravitated towards social media. AoA is mostly Kim Rossi.

Yes sausage sizzles and cake stalls are very much a part of voting here, you can usually also buy some of the famous lamingtons. I think that is the secret to getting people out to vote, plenty of wonderful smelling food. Also elections are always held on a Saturday. I shudder to think what would happen if someone tried to introduce compulsory voting in the US.
Good on you for voting you don’t have the right to winge about politicians if you don’t vote.

This is really weird. In Australia, vaccination is a politcal non-issue. Both major parties strongly support vaccinations for all except those with certain specified medical conditions. The media is also supportive. And the anti-vaccination group has virtually no influence.

They are sausages in bread, so a bit different to hot dogs and you have to pay for them. Voting is often in school, community or church halls and they are allowed to fund raise on voting day. Sometimes there are home-made cakes on offer as well. And the pubs are allowed to be open. It is all very civilised.

“They are sausages in bread…”

Yum, my favored option. Often sliced in half length wise, fried and served on sandwich bread with mustard, and sauerkraut if available.

Chris, it’s a sausage sizzle so you get a sausage, tomato sauce and fried onions.
Importantly, compulsory voting means everyone owns the vote, nobody can say as Mr West once said “ I didn’t vote but if I did….”.

Shelly: “… sausage, tomato sauce and fried onions…”

Even without the sauerkraut that makes it sound more yummy. Though even without those delicious treats awaiting me as I tossed my mail-in ballot with free postage into the box… I was proud to vote. As I have done even when I had to show up in person to talk to my neighbor since I was eighteen years old… cough cough… more than forty years ago.

By the way, I am married to a naturalized citizen.. not voting is very frowned upon in this house… even though the dude is from Vancouver Island. Go figure.

And the pubs are allowed to be open. It is all very civilised.

The very notion of pubs not being open is an affront.

The tomato sauce is optional. Outside some of the higher class establishments in the Eastern suburbs of Adelaide other sauces are available, even if there are no decent candidates to vote for.

The very notion of pubs not being open is an affront.

I know things have moved on in recent years, but there are still states where the pubs have to be closed.

I remember back when working for the US Gubbermint, after a particularly long and difficult day of meetings, I headed to the pub for a beer on the way home, only to find it was closed because there was a special election for County Clerk. Admittedly, I could have crossed the county line for a beer.

“Tomato sauce is optional”
If you’re from SA your sausages probably have all sorts of fancy gormet stuff in them like real meat.

Fortunately, here on Long Island, if it’s an issue at all, then it’s definitely flying under the radar. I found voting easy today – I voted Working Families Party straight across. After the WFP candidates were defeated in the Democratic primary, we endorsed all the Democrats, so I wasn’t conflicted.
On the flip side, there were lots of judgeships up with no WFP candidates. It’s a venerable Long Island tradition to cross-endorse for the offices no one seems to care about, so with candidates on the Democratic, Republican, Conservative, and Independence lines, I could not find one judicial candidate who was not on at least two of these lines. We don’t get to choose our local judges. The party bosses decide who will fill what slot in exchange for cross-party patronage. The Conservative Party is the worst – it’s nothing but a machine for trading a ballot line for jobs for their relatives and sycophants as commissioners, supervisors, and superintendents with local governments.

Last night I checked Mary Holland’s new book “HPV Vaccine On Trial” out of the library. As I walked to the checkout area I found myself carrying it with the cover tucked tightly against my chest, so others wouldn’t see what I was reading – as if I was checking out porn.

Which in a way, it is.

Thus far a quick run-through finds that she and her author cohorts have checked off just about every antivax box – heartrending anecdotes (a young woman started getting panic attacks three months after the vaccine, and even earlier she failed to show much emotion after the family dog died – undoubtedly a vaccine effect), Toxins, No True Placebo, Research Amateur Night, coverups, conspiracies and skullduggery. It’s like she recycled every other antivax book ever published.

*oh, and didja know cervical cancer in poorer countries can be prevented just through better sanitation and clean water? Bet you didn’t!

Re *: Actually, lack of sanitation and clean water is a well established cancer prevention measure since children who die young never get most cancers. But you already know that.

In case everyone hadn’t noticed, there’s no post today. I was too swept up with watching the election returns last night. Ah, well…

You may want to comment on the long NYT mag piece on Ted Kaptchuk and the placebo effect. (Or not..)

Subhead: “New research is zeroing in on a biochemical basis for the placebo effect…” The reference is to molecular biologist Kathryn Hall, who is arguing that placebo response seems determined by genotype – that is, some people respond to certain placebos while others don’t, based on their genes…

Yeah. I saw it. I seriously cringed when I saw them use the term placebome. Gah! I’m not sure if I’ll be taking this one on here or at my not-so-super-secret other blog. I probably won’t get to it for tomorrow in either case. There might not be a post tomorrow because I’m going to be getting home late and stunt know if I’ll have time… We’ll see.

Interesting results:
heavy voter turnout for a midterm election- c. 113 million, women win BIG, split House and Senate. gay candidates won, diverse candidates abound
( paraphrase) Suburbs got bluer, rural areas redder ( Katy Tur)

As I’ve mentioned previously, it’s so blue around here that even the republican had dark blue signs: he lost, -btw- The Midwest doesn’t seem totally in love with Trumpism Black gubernatorial candidates in the South lost.

Mike Adams claims that we just averted a civil war- other BS. I haven’t heard the other idiot’s take yet as I wasn’t at home. AoA is not happy about Dr Pan.

I used to study cultural trends whilst in grad school and it seems more and more to me that there are greater divisions than ever HOWEVER it was probably always pretty bad but we didn’t have wall-to-wall, 24 hour coverage as we do now. We didn’t
usually KNOW opinions of distant senators or representatives in detail.

about those pesky ballots ( Narad and Orac):
we have very easy ONE page forms IN THREE LANGUAGES**. Never a problem, even when there are several ballot questions, they are in tiny print with explanations below in red tiny print. I wonder how many people ignore the questions though

** English Spanish, Korean

“Mike Adams claims that we just averted a civil war”

Heh. You also narrowly avoided being stampeded by 12 million purple mastodons.

The Midwest doesn’t seem totally in love with Trumpism

Whatever the reason, at least Scott Walkerwas defeated in Wisconsin.


about those pesky ballots

I actually managed to spoil my second one by accidentally voting both yes and no for one judge (this is the paper-ballot system in which one gets a marker and connects arrows on a too-small table), so I had to do the whole thing over again. I was a fool not to just vote no for the candidates with sub-90% rankings from the bar associations, both of whom won anyway.

I want a booth, curtain, and levers, dammit.

We get our ballots mailed to us. We can fill them out over an almost two week period in our dining room, kitchen, bathroom, dungeon… or wherever we fill comfortable. Then put them back in the envelope, sign the outside and drop them in a mail box because they come with postage.

There are in-person polling places for those who want the personal experience, or had trouble getting their ballot due to a change of address. This is the same county that sent youngest a card asking if they were still in the county because of one missed vote (the kid had moved to another state for a post-baccalaureate certificate… where they voted, plus they did vote in yet another state for grad school… both states with serious voter suppression issues — but as a kid of an immigrant — totally prevaled).

We first get the one page ballot in the mail and vote in a REAL booth with curtains and buttons- but no levers any more. Chris’ state ( and Oregon and Colorado IIRC) may have the best systems but it was easy to get a mail in-ballot for older or disabled individuals like my father.

A young woman took out her driver’s license yesterday but a poll worker said, ” No need for that”
Also there are never lines lines unlike what I see on television. Many voting places in each town/ city.

I even got a sticker. Woo hoo.

I’m with you on the booth and curtain (which we have in my town), but I strongly prefer paper ballots. Which are actually required by law in my state–ballots can be counted by machine (my town uses the fill-in-the-bubble type ballots), but having paper ballots guarantees that they can be counted by hand, if needed.

I have heard too many horror stories about voting machines (especially the electronic variety) to trust them.

We don’t elect our judges, and we don’t do the kind of popular initiatives that you see in many western states (we did have two constitutional questions on the ballot this year). So our ballots will typically fit on a single 11*17 inch sheet of paper, and usually on one side thereof. (Municipal and school district elections are technically considered two separate elections, so we get one sheet for each of those.)

Slightly OT, sorry.

Now that the Democrats have flipped the House, they hold the committee chairmanships. Hopefully there will be no more harassment of climate scientist, or anti-vaccination hearings, and a more pro-science atmosphere.

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