I have seen the future of the 2020 elections, and it ain’t pretty.
It was at a virtual hearing Monday before the Supreme Judicial Court, with an also-ran candidate in the Fourth Congressional District Democrat primary trying to get the deadline for counting the ballots extended … for another 10 days beyond the primary election next Tuesday.
What could possibly go wrong?
Ten more days! The state sent out the mailings to every registered voter in the state six weeks ago, telling them how to apply for mail-in ballots.
But now the court has been told the voters didn’t have enough time to a) mail back the application for a mail-in primary ballot, and then b) send said ballot back to the local election clerk before next Monday.
This being America in 2020, some victims had to be identified. One of SJC justices asked plaintiff’s attorney if any of the petitioners in the suit had not yet received their mail-in ballots. No, said the lawyer, but he had another card to play.
Come on down, unnamed 98-year-old woman in a nursing home. The lawyer sadly said that this granny had only received her ballot last Saturday and “God only knows how many similarly situated people” there are like her.
God only knows indeed.
This may be the first time you’ve heard about a 98-year-old woman in a nursing home being denied her inalienable right to exercise her franchise, but I guarantee you it won’t be the last.
This unfolding disaster going to make the Florida hanging-chad fiasco of 2000 look like a day at the beach.
Over the next few weeks, and probably long after election day on Nov. 3, these kinds of election hearings will be held across the country … preening public-defender type lawyers pompously declaiming that everyone, yes, Your Honor, everyone must be permitted to vote, even if they’re … dead … or illegal … or felons … or have already voted two or three times in other jurisdictions.
And judges, many of whom apparently haven’t set foot outside their palatial mansions in six months, will be dithering, making profound statements like “all sorts of things are going on,” which Justice Kimberly S. Budd did actually say Monday.
Some of the SJC justices even seemed shocked, shocked to learn that sometimes mail entrusted to the Post Office isn’t delivered in a timely fashion — “we didn’t know there were going to be all these problems!” one of them said.
Tuesday, the secretary of state was back in front of the SJC, this time in front of a single justice, answering a lawsuit by some disabled group which is also claiming that some of their plaintiffs, or failing that, an “affiant” or two, may be grievously inconvenienced by the current election schedule.
Okay, but what how about this other aggrieved group — people in the military? There’s a federal law that ballots to overseas voters must be mailed no later than 45 days before the general election.
“Given the remote regions where many of our active duty military personnel are saving,” the Disabled Veterans of Massachusetts wrote about this lawsuit, “any delay in sending ballots overseas could jeopardize the delivery of those ballots.”
We understand most of the Democrats trying to game this COVID-19 panic into chaos and a Joe Biden victory don’t care about the military.
But how about the civilian expats — there’s 500 of those Beautiful People just from Cambridge alone living abroad, awaiting their ballots. And probably 490 of them are going to be cast against Orange Man Bad.
What about their votes?
The Department of Justice weighed in on Monday about the 45-day legal requirement, reminding the SJC of their responsibilities. Next stop: federal court.
This year 45 days before the general election would be Sept. 19. Which is a problem considering that at least one candidate is asking that the vote counting be continued until Sept. 11.
And what happens if, on Sept. 11, one or more races remain so close that some of the trailing candidates demands a recount?
And what if, after the recount, a losing candidate exercises his or her option of appealing for a hearing before the State Ballot Law Commission?
How does all this get done by the federal deadline for printing and then mailing out the general-election ballots by Sept. 19?
Answer: It doesn’t.
The SJC will probably try to split the difference — extend the count a few days — and it’ll be a mess. And next Tuesday’s election isn’t even the main event.
When you get right down to it, other than the Democrat U.S. Senate primary, who really cares about any of the primary races in Massachusetts next week?
Already, President Trump has incorporated into his standard campaign stump speech the recent rampant voter fraud in Paterson, N.J., not to mention the six weeks of chaos in counting the Democrat primary vote in the 12th Congressional District of New York. And now this.
Coming soon to a courtroom near you — election-year chaos.
Mr. President, you ain’t seen nothing yet.