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Ballot drop box outside Copley Square library set on fire early this morning

Wanted for setting ballot drop box on fire

Update: Suspect charged.

Boston Police have released photos of a guy they say set fire to the ballot drop box outside the Copley Square library around 4:10 a.m.

On arrival, officers observed Boston Fire on scene tending to smoke coming from an early voting ballot box. The ballot box appeared to be on fire, but the firefighters were unable to determine if the fire was burning inside of the box. Eventually, crews were able to extinguish the fire by filling the ballot box with water.

WHDH reports the Secretary of State's office has asked federal officials to investigate.

The city elections department last emptied the box of ballots around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. If you used the box after then to deposit your ballot, you might want to contact the Boston Election Department.

In a statement, the city says:

While this remains an active investigation, an immediate review of the contents of the Copley Square ballot dropbox held about 122 ballots, and 87 of them were legible and able to be processed. Before the incident, which occurred around 4 a.m., City officials had last collected the ballots at this dropbox at 2:29 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

Mayor Walsh and Secretary of State William Galvin said:

What happened in the early hours of this morning to the ballot dropbox in Copley Square is a disgrace to democracy, a disrespect to the voters fulfilling their civic duty, and a crime.

Our first and foremost priority is maintaining the integrity of our elections process and ensuring transparency and trust with our voters, and any effort to undermine or tamper with that process must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We ask voters not to be intimidated by this bad act, and remain committed to making their voices heard in this and every election.

US Attorney Andrew Lelling said federal investigators have joined the hunt for the suspect.

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You can see if your ballot reached your local election office and was accepted at
https://www.sec.state.ma.us/wheredoivotema/track/trackmyballot.aspx

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Voting closed 52

There can be a delay of several days between the time you put your ballot in a dropbox and the time it's marked as "accepted" on the state tracker.

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Voting closed 21

I dropped my ballot last Saturday, the 17th, and it finally got counted this afternoon. Yikes.

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I dropped my ballot at the Fields Corner Library on Tuesday the 20th. It was accepted according to the state ballot tracker on Friday the 23rd. I was however wondering about the outside location. The drop box at City Hall during the primary was located just inside the front door to the lobby.

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Voting closed 9

I deposited my ballot in the box by the Dilboy VFW on Thursday afternoon, October 15. It was marked received and accepted on Saturday afternoon, October 17.

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Just this past Friday evening, after I'd filled out my absentee ballot and put it in the envelopes, I drove over to Somerville City hall, and deposited my filled out absentee ballot into the drop vote box that was outside of City Hall, right out in front. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, and hope that it gets accepted.

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There can be a delay most places, but it's still useful to check several days or a week afterwards. You definitely want to check before it's too late to vote in person - there are procedures for doing so that allow you to cancel your mail-in ballot.

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I'm in Rhode Island, but it's probably similar to Boston: They might collect the ballots every day but they have to scan them all in, which is a massive operation in 2020, so there could still be a delay between it being collected and the notification that it was accepted.

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Top Trump adviser: Republicans have 'always' relied on voter suppression

Justin Clark, a senior political adviser and senior counsel to Trump’s re-election campaign, made the remarks about voter suppression on 21 November as part of a wide-ranging discussion about strategies in the 2020 campaign, including more aggressive use of monitoring of polling places on election day in November 2020.

“Traditionally it’s always been Republicans suppressing votes in places,” Clark said at the event. “Let’s start protecting our voters. We know where they are ... Let’s start playing offense a little bit. That’s what you’re going to see in 2020. It’s going to be a much bigger program, a much more aggressive program, a much better-funded program.”

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Voting closed 27

Right... the Republican 2020 strategy is based on carrying races in Massachusetts.

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https://ctmirror.org/category/ct-viewpoints/inconvenient-truths-about-republican-voter-suppression/

For decades, GOP electoral strategy has been grounded in suppressing the vote and manipulating election outcomes. Forty years ago Paul Weyrich, the influential conservative strategist who founded the Heritage Foundation told evangelical leaders, “As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

Face it, the Republicans don't like Democracy.

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"Face it, the Republicans don't like Democracy."

Fixed it for you.

Here, I planted a little link farm of voter fraud stories.

Here's 350,000 dead voters:
https://publicinterestlegal.org/files/Report-Critical_Condition-Web-FINA...

Glendale, Cali 'mail dump' courtesy of KTLA News:
https://ktla.com/news/local-news/bags-of-usps-mail-dumped-in-glendale-sp...

Virginia, a 500,000 'printing error' by a local non-profit on applications. Probably a legit error, but...really?
https://www.wusa9.com/article/news/verify/verify-wrong-mail-in-ballots-f...

From CNN, 50,000 ballots with too much information filled in, contrary to Iowa law:
https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/27/politics/iowa-absentee-ballot-application...

"The judge sided with the Trump campaign and the Republican Party, which filed a lawsuit this month seeking to discard the absentee ballot request forms. The Trump campaign argued the forms should have been blank except for the election date and type, per the Iowa secretary of state's directions. Local officials in Linn County, which is home to Cedar Rapids, ignored those directions and sent out the applications with more information anyway.
"It is implausible to conclude that near total completion of an absentee ballot application by the auditor is authorized under Iowa law where the legislature has specifically forbidden government officials from partially completing the same document," Judge Ian Thornhill wrote in a Thursday ruling."

There's plenty more out there.

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Republicans LOVE voter fraud. Look at all these felonies.

The party of “LAW AND ORDER!” strikes again.

“Kansas Republican charged with three felonies in voter fraud investigation”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/kansas-republican-charged-with-...

“North Carolina Republican operative charged in election fraud scheme”

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-north-carolina-idUSKCN1Q...

“Meet the Trump Fan Accused of Registering Democrats as Republicans. A woman in Florida charged with 10 felony counts of submitting false voter registration forms had filed hundreds of forms before her arrest.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/11/us/cheryl-hall-voter-registration-fra...

“Police in Iowa have charged a 55-year-old woman with election misconduct after she reportedly voted twice for Donald Trump”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2016/10/29/trump-supporter-charged-...

“MAN ARRESTED FOR VOTER FRAUD IN LUZERNE COUNTY Police say he tried to apply for an absentee ballot for his dead mother... Lynn is a registered republican.”

https://www.wnep.com/article/news/local/luzerne-county/man-arrested-for-...

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You forgot the one where the President told his supporters to commit voting fraud by voting twice.

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Oh and the one where the California GOP put out fake ballot drop boxes to steal ballots.

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...I don't like voter fraud. No sane American likes voter fraud. Here's a couple of links that explain the problem.
One is Public Interest, the other is Pew Foundation. Hardly biased, but they show rather clearly what a train wreck of unreliability the voter registration system has become. It needs to be cleaned up or it simply cannot be trusted.

https://publicinterestlegal.org/blog/report-28-million-mail-ballots-went...

https://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/legacy/uploadedfiles/pcs_assets/2012/p...

That trust is sacred. Once in doubt, it will be difficult to repair.

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And we’re not all of a sudden changing the subject from voter fraud to voter registration problems just because your laughably-false assertion that “Republicans don’t like voter fraud” was thoroughly debunked.

The fact remains that while Republicans scream bloody murder about voter fraud, hard evidence and felony arrests show it is (shockingly) Republicans snd Trump supporters are the most flagrant and numerous transgressors of election fraud.

How many felony arrests did you outline in your “link farm”? I provided 5 links showing 19 felonies charged for Republican pro-Trump election fraud.

As to the voter registration problem you are soooo concerned about: so what? Show evidence that improperly registered voters had any impact on any election result.

Furthermore, this rando “Public Interest” group you cite is described by Wikipedia as:

The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is an American conservative legal group based in Indianapolis, Indiana,[2] which is known for suing states and local governments to purge voters from election rolls.

So it’s a Republican voter suppression organization. Huh. No wonder I don’t give a shit about what they say.

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Ya, actually a bit of a small garden.

Have some more tomatoes:

https://dailycaller.com/2020/05/21/philadelphia-elections-judge-pleads-g...

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/michigan-city-clerk-charged-with-alt...
https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/sep/24/sherikia-hawkins-southf...

It's a repeat, but it's so much fun to read.

https://www.nj.com/passaic-county/2020/06/voting-fraud-charges-filed-aga...

This one, you may not like because of the source, but don't shoot the messenger...it's a gem, a compiliation of convictions for voter fraud. California has seven in 2020 alone. LOL.

https://www.heritage.org/voterfraud/search

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Funny how you stress in this thread and in a different threats that the *real* problem is a combination of missing ballots and voter registrations of dead and moved people that should be deactivated, yet none of these stories involve said problem. These are examples of people in government jobs committing fraud, not voters themselves.

And you lament in a different thread how vote by mail is somehow a disaster, but only one of these cases involve mail in voting.

Just change the subject to whatever is convenient, I guess.

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Automatic voter registration when you turn 18 and voter ID! See now both sides win!

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You're chasing phantoms.

Whichever outlet you gulp down your information from has you so laser focused on a completely insignificant issue that has only now become a talking point because whichever outelt you gulp down your information from has a political agenda.

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If a few ballot drops get set fire across the country and they plant the seeds of claiming the election was fixed and/or they need to discard all the early voting ballots, etc. It also makes people not want to use the ballot boxes and thus not vote.

This is the sort of news they want plastered on TV for the next 11 days, not talk of COVID, etc.

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what's been happening. I saw a few stories of this happening in red states and was so grateful I lived here. I am just so disgusted and disappointed with this country at this point. And no Fish, Republican and dmcboston, I will not move. This is my country too and I want better for it and our children

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I'm serious.

For the record, I'm against any type of vote tampering or voter fraud. That includes arson of voter drop-off boxes.

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(Slow clap)

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Golf clap.

For the record, I'm also against smoking crack with underage kids while getting millions in bribe money from Chinese and Ukrainian companies and giving the old man a cut.

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If you believe that load of horse-puckey, you'll believe anything.

Or you know it's utter bullshit, and you'll repeat any lie to advance the fortunes of your criminally incompetent president -- who, by the way, gave away the game months ago, admitting that without GOP efforts at voter suppression, they'd never win another election.

Are you as naive as a four-year old, or an inveterate liar? Either way: sad!

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When we dropped our ballot off there last week there was a BPD cruiser sitting right next to it, apparently guarding it. Was an officer still nearby when this happened?

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My off the cuff guess would be...no.

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I dunno. I'm looking at the surveillance photo and I'm having doubts about his being a part of the 'vast right wing conspiracy' so beloved by Hillary.

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...but it IS a conspiracy, of sorts: a coalition of those who lack all scruples in their determination to maintain their dominance: the GOP. To quote Michael Parenti, "There's only one thing they want, and that's everything."

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The suspect photos really look like the sort of troubled soul you might expect to see hanging around the Copley library, not some militia goon down from New Hampshire. And, in fact, a couple of folks in the South End report they've seen this guy around the neighborhood before, so we might be talking about a mental-health issue, not a right-wing vote-suppression issue.

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There's no reason to assume that Republican vote-suppressors don't have mental-health issues. In fact ...

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But my conspiracy theory!!

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Those are leading Republicans quoted in the links. Whether this arson was or was not committed by a Republican, they are doubtless pleased with it.

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I don't know of any Republican pleased when public property is burned or when a Constitutional Right is potentially denied to 35 voters whose ballots were impacted. Still, there is deserved satisifaction for Republicans who opposed the weakening of longstanding voting laws and implementing things like remote, unmanned ballot boxes. Republicans predicted the system would be compromised and this is just the latest example. Would you fault the weatherman who was pleased after his much maligned forecast proved true? Don't fault Republicans for an accurate prediction on this, either. One of those "I told you so" moments, if you will.

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If your weatherman somehow caused the weather to conform to his prediction, then yes, I would fault him. That's what the Republicans have been doing for the last 40 years: telling us that government is inept and incapable of accomplishing anything, then making it come true when they get control of the government. Maybe you need to be reminded of Grover Norquist's famous desire to shrink the government so he could "drown it in a bathtub." This has been Republican policy for all those years, and every time they've gotten into power, it's what they implement. Their unending attacks on all of the New Deal programs, including Social Security, Medicare, minimum wage, and every form of worker protection and environmental protection, are expressions of that policy. Their goal is to push us all back to the 19th century, and it's a mystery to me how they get so much support from working people, whose enemy they truly are.

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I don't know of any Republican pleased when ... a Constitutional Right is potentially denied to 35 voters whose ballots were impacted.

"Pennsylvania’s Republican legislative leaders asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to stop a decision by the state’s high court to count mail-in ballots received up to three days after Election Day."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/pennsylvania-gop-lawm...

"A Carson City judge on Friday denied a request by Republicans to halt ballot counting in Clark County."

https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/politics-and-government/clark-county/...

"Republicans in North Carolina teamed up with the Trump campaign Thursday to petition the Supreme Court to weigh in and shorten the period of time after Election Day that mail-in ballots—postmarked by Nov. 3—can still be counted. "

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/10/north-carolina-republicans-a...

"Republican officials in three swing states, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, are blocking legislation that could allow for the early processing of absentee ballots—purposefully making it take longer to get the election results. In other words, they are engineering the absentee vote counting delays that Trump is already planning to complain about and sue over."

https://washingtonmonthly.com/2020/09/30/republicans-are-slowing-down-th...

And of course, this golden oldie:

"Yelton also previously testified at a N.C. General Assembly committee in 2013 that changing state election laws could help Republicans win elections by disenfranchising some Democratic Party “special voting blocks” and that was “that reason for the photo ID” requirement.

https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article93077422.html

YOU'RE WELCOME! 8-) 8-) 8-)

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Simmer down, everyone. Simmer down....

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It's from the Guardian, so I had to see what the story was.

"“Traditionally it’s always been Republicans suppressing votes in places,” Clark said at the event."

Here's another version of it, with the context filled in to show the truth of the statement.

" Asked about the remarks, by the Associated Press, which obtained the audio recording, Clark said he was referring to false accusations that the Republican party engages in voter suppression.

“As should be clear from the context of my remarks, my point was that Republicans historically have been falsely accused of voter suppression and that it is time we stood up to defend our own voters,” Clark said. “Neither I nor anyone I know or work with would condone anyone’s vote being threatened or diluted and our efforts will be focused on preventing just that.”

Context is everything.

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Wait, but what you posted is his claim that the context makes the remarks less damning, not the actual context that supposedly does so...

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What I posted was contained in the Guardian article itself. There's a lot of internal links, but since virtually all of them just go back to the Guardian, the level of trust in the articles is minimal.
I don't have the actual tape. The Guardian article is as good as it gets.

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You're telling us that his denial is all we need to discount the meaning of what he said. Sorry, I think he's lying. Vote suppression has been an explicit Republican policy for so long, and expressed as such by so many of them, that picking one statement and implying that the guy's denial of its meaning somehow disproves their well-known history, is feeble. Here's an undeniable case of their vote suppression tactics:

For nearly 40 years, the Republican National Committee was barred from engaging in voter intimidation tactics and "ballot security" measures like paying law enforcement to appear at polling sites.

But in 2018, a federal judge lifted the restriction, ending the 1982 consent decree. This year will be the first time in nearly four decades that a presidential election is held without this agreement in place — an addition to the heap of challenges already influencing voters amid a global health crisis.

If you want to know just what the Republicans did to earn that decree, you can read about it here. It's exactly the sort of thing Trump has been threatening to do this year, and his brownshirts have already started. So yeah, they hate Democracy.

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"For nearly 40 years, the Republican National Committee was barred from engaging in voter intimidation tactics and "ballot security" measures like paying law enforcement to appear at polling sites. "

Maybe if someone paid to have security at polling sites, they wouldn't get lit on fire.

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Ever voted in Boston? There’s a cop inside the polling station itself, paid by the city. I can’t think of a legitimate reason that one party should be paying for additional law enforcement officers to be there. I CAN think of a reason the RNC would like to have a bunch of cops on its own payroll, standing outside, staring at voters — and it’s not security.

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...if their "law enforcement" didn't have a history of active voter suppression, that measure would have been an act of voter protection during the many hears that the sheriff and his shotgun "protected the polls".

Are you very stupid, or do you think everyone else is? We know why the Voting Rights Act was created. We know why the Republicans wanted it gone. We see what they have done since it was gutted. Gaslight yourself, don't try to gaslight us.

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I knew this type of thing was going to happen. Mail in and drop off ballots are so chaotic and uncontrollable. And no, I am not a Trump supporter, it is a non-partisan issue. I'd say this no matter who was running. Maybe it's me, but it seems we are regressing instead of moving forward. Forget these mail ins and drop offs. Set your damn alarm and go stand in line. Or better still, make voting day a two day weekend affair like a civilized country.

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Not uncontrollable at all. You can easily track your ballot online and still have the option to vote in person if it's not received by election day. It's a much better option for people with health issues or complicated schedules due to odd work hours, caring for family or whatever.

Now that we have the infrastructure in place I hope they make it permanent.

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Read my post with the Pew and Public Interest links in it.

28 million ballots missing. That ain't good.
24 million voter registrations NFG.

"Research commissioned by the Pew Center on the States highlights the extent of the challenge: Approximately 24 million—one of every eight—voter registrations in the United States are no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate. More than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters. Approximately 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state".

Voter registration in this country needs a damn flamethrower.

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Mail-in voting is fine. Drop box voting is fine - there is no need to have a slot wider than is necessary to slip a ballot in (a la the new blue mail collection boxes). Salem ballot collection boxes, believe it or not, had built in fire suppression. Oregon has been voting by mail-in only since 1996.

This incident effected 35 ballots out of the +3,100,000 ballots that will be cast this election AND there is plenty of time for those 35 ballots to be recast.

Furthermore, expand ballot access by making voting available for 3-4 weeks. Allow curbside mailing where possible. Incentivize mail-in voting.

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Where I live, it's walk-in, you get checked off the list, and it goes on for a period of about two weeks.
Mail is a problem, always has been.

"The BOE was still untangling the mess six weeks after the primaries..."
https://nypost.com/2020/08/04/25-percent-of-ballots-in-brooklyn-june-pri...

https://freebeacon.com/2020-election/nevada-sent-more-than-200k-mail-in-...

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-19-vote-by-mail-ballot-counted-election/

'California rejected 100K mail-in ballots because of mistakes'
https://apnews.com/article/a45421048cd89938df7c882891a97db5

"Mail-in voting is fine."
Mail in voting is a train wreck.

'15 Election Results That Were Thrown Out Because of Fraudulent Mail-In Ballots'
https://www.dailysignal.com/2020/04/21/15-election-results-that-were-thr...

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The most common problem, by far, in California was missing the deadline for the ballot to be mailed and arrive.

All the links you provide are stories about ballots arriving late! Hardly a train wreck. Hardly the ‘fraud’ you decry up thread.

The other link about Nevada is a story about how the local elections board failed to keep an updated voter roll and the ballots were returned to officials.

Anyone who drills down beyond the headlines of your links will see through your transparent attempt to imply nefarious activity via mundane machinations of an evolving, contemporary voting processes.

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a good many people are opting to vote by mail, or drop their absentee ballots into vote drop-boxes, and to vote early, with ample reason. Voting in person, and standing in line, even with masks, despite the 6ft social distancing, is rather risky right now, especially for older adults, and those, regardless of age, with underlying medical conditions..

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they also are able to vote on more than one day. This is how you get a bigger turnout - something the Republicans have fought every step of the way, including making it easier to get people registered, because they know it means more votes for Democrats. Other countries also don't have 4 year election processes, the need to raise billions of dollars, and corporations manipulating elections with money and influence. If this was all happening in another country, we'd send Jimmy Carter to monitor the election.

https://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?dir=vote&document=index&lang=e&sec...

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As far as 'Civilize countries have mail in voting', well, no. Simply not true.

"Most developed countries ban absentee ballots unless the citizen is living abroad or require Photo-IDs to obtain those ballots. Even higher percentages of European Union or other European countries ban absentee for in country voters. In addition, some countries that allow voting by mail for citizens living the country don’t allow it for everyone. For example, Japan and Poland have limited mail-in voting to those who have special certificates verifying that they are disabled."

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3666259

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The link is to an opinion written by a right-wing gun nut, published by an organization founded by, and probably consisting entirely of, him. More weak sauce.

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Here's another link to ignore - it talks about how other countries allow internet voting, mail in voting. Crazy places like Sweden, Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postal_voting

https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-improve-american-presidential-ele...

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Do you think this guy really gives a shit about what he did? He doesn't even have a place to sleep.

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He's homeless and mentally ill?

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as his need for a belt

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I have to say the photo of the suspect blows that theory.

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Whether this guy is acting out the well-established Republican policies of voter suppression or not is not a test of the truth of their existence. I'm also impressed that you can determine someone's motive by looking at a blurry photo of them. What other super-powers have you got?

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“We demand proper election security!”

Also the electorate: “Let me go stick my ballot in this box on the street to sit for hours or days instead of in that box in the gym next to the cop who double checked my name.”

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...or even single-check them. Cops are not poll workers. Poll workers check names. Cops stand there.

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No, sorry, thanks for playing.
In Boston, at least, we do indeed have an unfortunate reality where the liberal cognoscenti unironically pooh-pooh any notion of routine voter ID on the grounds of possible intimidation etc... while our regular in-person polling places are staffed by at least one uniformed, armed police officer.
Yes, "staffed by". As in usually one for each ward/precinct, and working the desk (usually the sign-out desk). Not standing. Not outside. Not making sure the line or parking lot is orderly. Not enforcing distance limits for sign-holders to stay from the doors. Not enforcing distance limits for candidates canvassing for votes to stay away from the doors (yes, Julia Mejia, talking about you).
-
So...
- yes, police do "double-check" names at polling places
- yes, it's bullshit
- no, it's not normal

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At least in Southie they always have.

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I've only voted in Boston since 2004. What the (expletive) do I know?

I can't recall an occasion in which a uniformed Boston cop didn't double-check my name and cross it off in the book before I inserted my ballot into the machine.

As for the propriety of that, it's probably one of the least odious things that cops do...and that's a low bar to clear.

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I think there are 3 possibilities here:

1. He was high and thought it was a trash can.
2. Someone paid him to do it.
3. He did it on his own for some reason.

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This problem could have been anticipated. Maybe they need more security than a camera.

Next time, with advance publicity, they could try emptying the boxes at 8 pm and closing them off until 7 am or something.

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