Hallelujah! Election Day is here at last. I’m jealous of all of you who have voted already. The majority of states have early voting, but New York does not because Republicans in our state senate have refused to pass voting-reform legislation. As a result, today is likely to be madness, and I’ll get to see it up close because I’m working at a poll site from 5 a.m. till at least 10 p.m.
My video this week has a few final Election-Day tips, some of which are national and some specific to New York. Check it out — it’s especially important to know what to do if you’re incorrectly told you’re not registered to vote when you know damn well that you are registered.
What I refer to as a “provisional ballot” in the video is a term used in a lot of states, but in New York, it’s called an “affidavit ballot.” You’re legally entitled to get a provisional/affidavit ballot if election officials challenge your registration. Whatever you do, don’t leave! Ask for the site coordinator if you have to. If you’re still getting grief and think you need emergency legal help to exercise your right to vote, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE. Volunteers will be standing by. In New York, the affidavit ballot itself will go in an envelope. Fill out the information on the envelope very carefully, because if you mess it up, officials won’t open your envelope and count your ballot.
Speaking of messing things up, if you make a mistake on your paper ballot in New York, you can go back to the ballot peeps and request another one. You actually have a third chance too, but at that point they might move you to an electronic ballot-marking machine where you can toggle back and forth and check your work before printing it.
In New York City, you can find your poll site and ballot information here. I’ve heard of some unexpected, last-minute changes to longtime poll sites so please check one last time before you go. Everyone says to me, “But I’ve been voting at the same site for 50 years and I was just there in September!” And I say back, “You could have checked your site in the time you’ve spent arguing with me about checking it, so check yourself before you wreck yourself.”
Everyone everywhere in the country can use BallotReady to see the candidates and proposals on their ballots.
The site makes all the options very easy to understand, and you can even print out your choices and bring the information to the polls! As I said in my previous video, God helps those who help themselves, and with this site, there’s no excuse for going to the polls in a state of complete confusion.
That said, some New York City people have been bewildered by the pros and cons of the three proposals they’re going to see on the backs of their ballots — no matter how carefully they’ve read them. For those who asked how I’m going to vote, I’m saying “yes” to campaign-finance reform (proposal #1); “no” to the “civic engagement commission” (proposal #2); and “no” to community-board term limits (proposal #3). Regarding proposal #3, I know term limits always sound very appealing at first. But as you might guess from the name “community board,” these are hyper-local organizations that happen to be staffed by unsalaried members. There are 59 community boards in New York City and, among the issues they deal with are real-estate projects that can drag on for years and benefit from continuity among the hard-working volunteers. If you think your community board needs to be shaken up, I’d recommend recruiting some of your neighbors to start going to the meetings of your board with you. That’s a better way to get some fresh blood in, IMHO.
Moving along to New York’s Congressional District 02 on Long Island, I endorse Democrat Liuba Grechen Shirley over Republican incumbent Peter King. I blogged about canvassing for Liuba in September, and, since then, I’ve done a lot more canvassing for her …
… including this past Saturday AND Sunday.
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Lindsay (far left) and I did two voter lists for @liuba4congress two days in a row. I’m not going to know what to do without Lindsay next weekend! 😹 thanks to Denise (second from left) for also coming out for Liuba on both Saturday and Sunday. And Fern, on the right, has done canvassing for Liuba, @delgadoforcongress and @maxroseforcongress ! Missing from the photo – Leslie and Dina, who also got out the vote for Liuba today! What a great group! #voteblue #thefutureisfemale #votethemout #womenaretherealmvps #getoutthevote #bluewave #volunteerism #indivisibleues @indivisibleteam
Shout-out to my best canvassing pal Lindsay for doing two turfs with me both days this weekend!
Last month, I got to meet Liuba at a fundraiser where she was introduced by New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo.
I was inspired by Liuba’s retelling of how she got into the congressional race, and I wowed a couple of people while canvassing this weekend by repeating one of her stories. Liuba, who has an MBA and experience in economic development, founded a local activist group — similar to my Indivisible Upper East Side group — after the 2016 election. She wanted King, who has been in office 25 years (since Liuba was 12 years old), to hold a town hall to discuss the Republican efforts to roll back the Affordable Care Act. He refused because he was scared he would be yelled at. A meeting of upset constituents would, he said, “diminish democracy.” (Please remember that these “screaming” protestors who he dismissed are the people who pay his salary, so basically he declined to meet with his own bosses.) I knew all that before the fundraiser: The anecdote that got to me was about what happened when she finally got a meeting set up with him. His office told her to come at 3:30 p.m. one day. Liuba showed up for the meeting, only to find that King’s staff had locked the office and gone home. They didn’t merely stand her up — they fucking pranked her! After that, Liuba thought, “Someone’s got to run against this guy,” and then realized that someone could be her.
Liuba has already broken new ground while campaigning by becoming the first female candidate to petition the Federal Election Commission to use federal campaign funds to cover childcare expenses for her two-year-old son and three-year-old daughter. Meanwhile, she hasn’t taken any political action committee money but has outraised King with donations averaging $100.
First-time Congressional candidate @liuba4congress changed the way parents can run for office by getting the FEC to allow her to use campaign funds on childcare. "I'm a mom first and I'm running for office because of them." https://t.co/vGZMqX59ub pic.twitter.com/sPVXZ9cYNV
— Good Morning America (@GMA) November 5, 2018
I could go on about Peter King’s record — his willingness to see people with pre-existing health conditions deprived of healthcare, his stance against Roe v. Wade, his bizarre campaign-flier claim that he’s fighting ISIS for his constituents when they’re more likely to be victimized by domestic terrorism carried out by white men — but, honestly, the locked-office story tells you everything you need to know about this disrespectful and very angry-seeming guy. I mean, look at him, when Liuba finally got him to show up for a debate. She crushed him, of course.
.@RepPeteKing vs @liuba4congress debate in 1 picture— King gets angry, starts scolding, and keeps interrupting: pic.twitter.com/Urtqz2DuXU
— Monica Klein (@MonicaCKlein) October 18, 2018
Liuba not only has great qualifications but she also promises to represent everyone’s interests. Vote Liuba on Long Island! And, everyone else, just VOTE! Vote like your future depends on it … because it does.