There’s Always Been Voter Intimidation. We’re Just Paying Better Attention

The image above of Donald Trump glancing over at his wife, Melania, as she cast her votes made headlines. Who was she voting for? People joked that she was actually voting for Joe Biden over him. Throughout the four years they were the First Family, they seemed to get along like the Hatfields and McCoys sitting at the same table at a wedding ceremony. Comics made fun of her slapping away his hand as he tried to hold hers and even more conservative people I know were cautious of how she looked one time when he turned to look at her while giving a speech.

October is Domestic Abuse Awareness Month and as we are less than 10 days away from the 2022 General Election, otherwise known as the Mid-Terms, all eyes are wondering what will happen. Generally Mid-Terms have been a bland time of low voter turnout. Republicans and conservatives were able to rile up their bases so much in 1994 and 2010 to make major strides at the federal levels as well as with state offices. But there’s been a big surprise in the last few elections where there has been record turnout.

As we sit and watch and wonder what will happen, pictures like those above happen all the time. We just don’t really notice. How many times does a man glance over to make sure his wife/partner is voting for the right person? How many women hope and pray that someone doesn’t get elected so their partner won’t take things out on them? I’m not saying domestic abuse reports go up around election times, but I’m sure some men are making sure certain votes are cast.

When I was a wee lad I went with my mom as she went to vote one time. It wasn’t a big election. I think there were one or two issues on the ballot but the poll workers allowed be to go in to the booth with her. The curtain was pulled and she let me flip the litte level casting the votes. We had those machines in Georgia for all the years I lived there and was an eligible voter. I often tried to vote as many times as I could. I liked the privacy. In 1998, I tried to get an absentee ballot as I was in college. It arrived to my college mail box the day after the election. I wasn’t surprised the election office in my home town took their time. I was listed as a Democrat and that part of Georgia is represented by Marjorie Taylor Greene. Need I say more.

The next election in 2000, I switched as I was living in an apartment in Statesoro, Ga. I waited in line at the Bulloch County Fairgrounds for an hour to vote. There were mostly other college students in line. The county knew what it was doing by assigning most of us to that precinct. They were hoping we would get frustrated and not vote. What they didn’t know was standing in line at Georgia Southern was something everyone got a bachelor’s degree in. One of my professors joked it’s the one thing we do a lot of that is really useful in the real world. I waited in line for two hours to sign up for classes. I waited in line sometimes in the rain to get into clubs.

When I moved to Oklahoma, it was different. The state uses the paper ballots and just a small three-side cardboard partition about half the side as the one in the picture above. Anyone can see who we are voting for if they are standing the right way. Maybe that’s what Oklahomans want. They want people to be intimidated. It’s very easy for some Bubba with cowboy boots and blue jeans to glance at your ballot as they walk by.

But are people really afraid of what others think who they vote for? Yes, I believe so. Even though it’s secret, I’m sure a lot of people intimidate others. It’s easy to do behind closed doors. Parents often are very critical of their children when they don’t align their political views and ideas along with their own. And I’ve heard the same old spiel. It seems Republicans are always the one who repeat the same story time and time again about how as Democrats we are ruining America and our money is going to help undocumented immigrants or minorities.

Funny part is they’re always the ones who scream about imaginary problems whenever something is wrong. A bail bonds office in Wagoner, Okla. had a campaign sign up on private property. One of the elected officials wanted it taken down. Why? The office was campaigning for the other guy and he tried to claim it was within 100 feet of a polling place. It wasn’t. As a matter of fact, the Election Board office which was having early voting was down the road from the bail bonds office but it was well past the 100 feet radius. You’d be very surprised how little 100 feet is when you hoof it.

He was always demanding recounts and claiming that polling places were turning away people even though there was no proof. One of the advertising representatives at my paper actively campaigned for a county commissioner, even wearing a shirt on the day of the election. Yet, my supervisors didn’t think this was a major offense. But she would get booted a few months later for something else I’m not going to mention here. She also claimed that ballot boxes for the county commissioners came back unsealed but didn’t offer any evidence.

It’s all part of Trump’s Big Lie. If you say that the election is stolen long enough, enough gullible people will believe it. In Maricopa County, Arizona, home of the Crazy Joe Arpaio, there have been reports of armed people at the polls intimidating voters. And I feel it’s going to be everywhere over the next two weeks. But this intimidation isn’t new. People used to do it all the time back in the day especially when it came to women and black people voting.

As shown in Gangs of New York, they would often pay people to grow beards so they’d go vote and shave off the beard, sometimes leaving the moustache, and voting again. Mailers in northern Virginia directed about 60,000 people to the wrong precincts. It can be considered a clerical error but it seems like a systematic problem that they don’t want people to vote in this election.

My home state of Georgia lost the 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star game because they implemented so many criticial voting restrictions. I’m almost certain that poll worker would’ve reported my mother and I if something like that happened now. You need to almost do a blood and urine test to vote in Georgia now. So far, an approximate one million voters in Georgia have voted early. When state officials are passing laws making it illegal to hand someone a bottle of water, people are pissed. And when Stepin Fetchit Walker running for Senate, I’m sure a lot of people are afraid to keep that from happening.

But one thing I don’t think anyone has ever focused on is what happens in absentee ballots of people who are invalid. In 2018, my ex voted by absentee because of her health issues. She had to sign it and I signed as well as one of my neighbors. I think she also had to send a photocopy of her driver’s license. She was and is still coherent enough to know who she’s voting for. But what about the people who aren’t?

Is it possible someone taking care of a loved one or family member is voting the wrong people? I hate to be speculating like people on Fox News, OAN or Newsmax, but I wouldn’t doubt it happens. How many times has it happened in retirement homes or nursing centers? Even if someone checks a box saying they filled it out themselves, how can people really check? Despite what Trump and many Republicans think, there’s no way to tell who voted for who.

All I do know is we’re doing something right if people want to restrict our voting abilities and make it possible for elected officials to reject results they don’t agree with. In Florida, their Gov. Ron DeSantis, who wants to be President in 2024, he’s shaking in his boots, there is the Florida Office of Election Crimes and Security, a bullshit made-up pseudo-Gestapo force. Twenty people have been arrested by one of those has been dismissed as people qeustion the legalities.

As I’m writing this Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is recovering after being attacked a few days ago. People in this country are getting tired of the violence. After the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection coup attempt and now this, it’s becoming a more dangerous world. In Arizona, Mark Kelly, the husband of Gabby Gifford, who was shot on Jan. 8, 2011 outside a Safeway in Casas Adobes, Ariz. She survived by she had to resign from her Congressional seat a year later to focus on her recovery.

Maybe following the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic, people are sick and tired of the right-wing guncrazy rhetoric. I’m all for the First Amendment but when politicians use guns and explosions in their campaign ads, they’re sending a threatening message. And that I think should be stopped. I also think when an idiot like Roy Moore pulls out a gun if he’s in Alabama or Califonia, he should be arrested, even if he’s at his own campaign rally.

I really do think people have had enough. Hopefully with this early voting, we can finally send a message that we’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. I was looking at a sample ballot for the upcoming election and there is a Libertarian candidate for each office. Hopefully, people are getting the message the Republican Party is nothing more than white supremacists, racists, bigots, sexists and control freaks who have no agenda other than staying in power a little longer. While I don’t agree with Libertarians, at least I don’t agree with them on actual things that should be debated like infastructure and money for programs.

I very upset that the Republican Party is wanting to tell us who we can marry, who we can love, and demanding that women who are raped or sexually molested by relatives carry their pregnancies to full-term even if it threatens their lives. It’s time in this country to send the bullies out of class so the rest of us can get focus on our work.

And another thing, intimidation only works so far. You can only push people so much that they finally push back. I think they’re finally realizing they can’t push much more.

What do you think? Please comment.

Published by bobbyzane420

I'm an award winning journalist and photographer who covered dozens of homicides and even interviewed President Jimmy Carter on multiple occasions. A back injury in 2011 and other family medical emergencies sidelined my journalism career. But now, I'm doing my own thing, focusing on movies (one of my favorite topics), current events and politics (another favorite topic) and just anything I feel needs to be posted. Thank you for reading.

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