Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday October 17, 2020
Determined voters endure long lines to cast early ballots in historic election
Thousands of people, some braving hours-long waits, glitches and politically motivated obstruction, are flocking to cast early ballots and writing the story of a pandemic-era election that may change how America votes.
Heavy turnout at early voting centers in Georgia and Texas comes as many voters elsewhere take advantage of mail-in ballots, defying President Donald Trump’s misleading attempts to cast the election as the most corrupt in history. Another of the President’s many misinformation efforts — his claim that the Obama administration spied on his team — suffered a serious blow on Tuesday when it emerged in a Washington Post report that a Justice Department probe into one key aspect of the conspiracy theory will end without even a public report.
The candidates should have been making last minute preparations for the second presidential debate on Thursday night. But a drama initiated by the President’s diagnosis with Covid-19 caused the cancellation of the event after the President refused to take part in a virtual version — then demanded the reinstatement of the clash when he recovered.
Instead, Trump and Biden will take part in dueling town halls on NBC and ABC respectively. The arrangement may be a disservice to voters since they will only have one final chance to see the candidates on stage together on October 22. But given the President’s constant interruptions in the first debate, the format may actually allow a more forensic examination of each candidate’s positions. It is also certain to trigger the former “Apprentice” star’s obsession with television ratings.
Inspirational scenes of eager voters, in some cases in Georgia waiting eight hours to exercise their democratic rights, reflected enthusiasm on both sides at a raw moment in US history at the tail-end of a tumultuous presidential term.
Voters are facing the most difficult circumstances imaginable given the health emergency. Confidence in the election is also being challenged by court battles in a handful of states arising from apparent GOP efforts to complicate early balloting that Democratic voters prefer. There are also infrastructure problems — for example the registration portal in Virginia crashed on Tuesday on the last day when citizens can sign up to vote.
Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden mostly concentrated Tuesday on winning votes rather than on how they will be counted. (CNN)