Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Would You Entrust this Mail Box with Your Post Ballot?


  

Dear You, 

I read Joanne's vibrating post about the American election and that she distrusts the post to deliver the post ballot

Here in Germany we hear about that distrust a lot, and if I were you I would walk miles to the next polling location to give my vote personally to be sure that it counts. 
But what of the old people, the infirm, or people who have or fear to catch Corona? 

In the Sunday paper "Die Welt am Sonntag" I found an interesting article about the American postal system. 

The United States Postal Service was founded by Benjamin Franklin because the 13 British colonies strived for independence. "The postal system" so the journalist Matthias Heine, "thus was older than the 1776 founded country which it served." 
And, he emphasises, it is the office the contemporary Americans trust most. 

When president Trump and administration chief Louis Joy, who was assigned by Trump,  now remove many, many mailboxes and lay up post sorting machines, Trump's political opponents see that as an attempt to manipulate the election. 
Instead of 33 million Americans who voted 2016 through mail, now - because of Corona, so Heine, it could be the double number of mail voters. 

As literary scholar (and always loving "the little peculiar things") I was amused to read that
 William Faulkner and Charles Bukowski worked in post offices while preparing to become authors. 

Faulkner opened his store only if he wanted, he played cards in the back-room while people waited outside, read the letters of other people and threw away what he thought unimportant. 
Charles Bukowski (you can read that in his novel "Post Office") worked lazily, but stayed 11 years. 
They could not fire him. 
And the journalist Heine ends his article with the words: 
"Trump would find in the novel (= Post Office) a few more good arguments for his distrust of the Postal Service." 

But don't get that journalist wrong: he is not pro-Trump. Some lines before he writes: 

"Trump has manifold insinuated that through post ballot on a massive scale it could come to massive election fraud - against him, of course" (Matthias Heine, tongue in cheek). 

Yours Truly,
Britta





15 comments:

  1. We have had a postal vote for many, many years, it is so much quicker and easier. It has never ever crossed my mind as to whether it will arrive or not. I am not sure quite how you can commit a be a fraud - here you are sent an official voting slip along with an official prepaid envelope that bears your own unique and special identity number on it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That, I think, is the same procedure as in Germany. We have to ask some time before the election to get the voting papers sent home (and have to cross one of the possible reasons why we don't come in person). More and more people are doing it this way.

      Delete
  2. I have a couple of points to offer. Besides removing machines Trump ordered no overtime pay for postal workers. Also no extra workers to handle the additional work loads. He also said in a televised speech that he is trying to make it harder for voters to cast their ballots by mail. In my state alone several counties are having to redo the request forms for the mail-in ballots because of lawsuits by the Republican party. This is actually the legal thing to do so new forms will need to be requested. There is little evidence of voter fraud in previous elections. There have on occasion been problems with absentee ballots and mail-in ballots. Some were disqualified because the person voting had died between the time they submitted their ballots. The people who were verifying the submissions detected irregularities and the ballots were voided. There have been problems with in-person voting at times too. Finally President Trump and several members of his family vote by mail. But he doesn't want us to be afforded the same opportunity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was very interesting, thank you so much, Emma!
      It is a lot more information than I have had before - and what astonishes me is that President Trump and his family will vote by mail! Here the politicians who want to be elected often make a big show on TV of the moment they threw their vote into the box.
      Irregularities can happen - it is life - but I think that is very, very seldom. I once had the honorary office to be elections administrator for an election part of Hildesheim, and that was tedious, but one could see that there was no manipulation (only once I had to intervene, as a man tried to instruct his wife (!) where to put her voting cross.

      Delete
  3. We have little ballot box fraud here in the UK but what we have had has always involved postal voting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that normally it is a fair process, and too many people are watching - there have been a few incidences here when they had to repeat the counting, but on the whole it is safe.

      Delete
  4. Well, Emma covered it. This election will not be a crap shoot if each of us makes sure our ballot is counted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish that too, Joanne - it is so precious to be able to vote (and I have difficulties to understand those who are too lazy to go to do it).
      Good luck!

      Delete
  5. Our postal service is being stripped down and sold off. There are now many private companies who provide letter posting services. I don't like it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The same happened in Germany, Tom: first we had civil servants - who could be trusted - then they sold the postal service, made it private and with stockholders, now you often do not know the postman, they change often - and so many times parcels do not arrive - you pay postage, yes, but now we have to pay for insurance too (otherwise, as happened to me, you loose one valuable fountain pen or a fine jacket, as it is nicked during the voyage...)

      Delete
  6. I find a decline in postal services. First it is very expensive. Letters take longer to go anywhere. Amazon gets things delivered more efficiently and shipping is free to Amazon prime customers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Susan. As I wrote to Tom: here postal services became unreliable, and expensive, and - though I do not love Amazon very much as they do not pay much tax in Germany, I use them too, prime - then I can be very sure that the ordered items arrive. Books, if possible, I buy in local bookstores.

      Delete
  7. Don’t have too much trouble with the post here Britta. I do worry a bit about legal and important documents reaching their destination, that’s why we always register or have signed for when we send anything important. Sorry I’m late commenting .... I must have missed this post ! ( no pun intended ! ) XXXX

    ReplyDelete
  8. I thought of you f Mr. Trump, Jackie - but the post in Germany is not very reliabel either since the last years... Important letters I also let register - then one is on the safe side (bit it is scandal that you have to pay for that extra). XXXX. Loved your pun :-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I thought of Mr. Trump, Jackie - but the German post is not very reliabel either. If I have an important letter, I register it, as you say. But I think it is a scandal that one has to do that! (Pay extra). I loved your pun! XXXX Britta

    ReplyDelete