Why mail-in voting is not the best way to protect the public from coronavirus

The big discussion in June 2020 is the 2020 United States Presidential election and how to make it safe for the American voting public.  Should we do online voting? Should we do mail-in voting, but then, where is the paper trail (or more formally, the evidence trail)?

The argument against mail-in voting is trust, i.e., it is vulnerable to manipulation and cheating. However, as many gaming sites, dating sites, and even the online casino sector point out, if everybody accepts their cybersecurity, they should also do so for mail-in voting systems.

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But I think that the people who are pushing for the mail-in voting (or online voting) are missing something bigger.  An opportunity that will not repeat itself for another 4 years.  The ability to know exactly where every single adult voting citizen is going to be on a single day.

It does not matter if we are talking about virus testing, anti-body testing, medicine distribution, or if it is physically possible vaccinations.

The US Presidential voting day should be USA Coronavirus Elimination Day

This is what I am envisioning.  Assuming, of course, the medical backing is ready to go.

Every single voting location in the US also becomes a coronavirus virus testing, antibody testing, medicine distribution, and/or vaccination site.  100% free.  A person comes in, they cast their vote, then they go to another room where they can get a coronavirus test (if needed), medicine prescription (if needed), antibody testing (if needed), or vaccination (if needed).  No cost, no confusion, no hassles.

Figures of US Population in 2018:

  • 318 million total population
  • 297 million US Citizen population
  • 22 million non US Citizen population
  • 236 million adults (US Citizens, permanent residents, and illegal residents) — 22.4% under the age of 18
  • 137 million voted in the 2016 US Presidential election (58% of the people voted)
  • Including non-voting people, 43% of people voted.

Will there be enough volunteers to handle the number of people?

Enlist doctors, nurses, paramedics, army personnel, doctors without borders, etc.  There should be enough people to help.

What is the target for herd immunity?

If we follow the gameplan that was used to eradicate the smallpox virus, the goal would be 80%.  But with this virus, we would have to do the whole world.  This whole thing started with just 1 person on around November 24, 2019.  It is now almost exactly 6 months later, and it has become a worldwide problem.

Can the focus on the voting day get the US to that level?

I would estimate that the US could realistically get to the 50% level, just focusing on the US Citizen voters on that day.  Considering this is a major incentive for somebody to go to the voting location, besides just exercising your constitutionally guaranteed right to participate in the leadership of your country, I would guess that this election would have a higher turnout than normal.

Free, everything is already setup, everything you need in one location.  So no better scenario.

What about non-US Citizens?  Shouldn’t we protect them as well?

Keep the sites open for an additional 2 days to handle children, US Residents, and illegal residents.

Again, 100%, no hassles, no cost … everything in one location.

Why are children put behind adults?

Children are put behind adults, because for most children if they get the virus, they usually do not show any symptoms.  Some children do have complications.  That is to be expected.  But those children  are the exception, not the norm.  Plus, those are the type of patients that should be dealt with in a doctor’s office or hospital, in case there are complications.

What about seniors and high-risk people?

As for the testing, vaccinations, medicine distribution, etc., the sites could be opened a day earlier to handle these people.  Or they get take care of in doctor’s offices, hosptials, or clinics ahead of time.

As for making them come back the next day to do voting … that is a more complicated question.  Do we allow them to vote the previous day in person, so essentially have 2 days of voting instead of just one day?

That is a more complicated question that I will leave to others to decide.  I am focusing on the medical side of things.

Would this add to the cost of the election?

The major cost to the election is the setting up of the sites and the taking down of the sites.  So if everything is combined together, the added costs will be minimal.

Should the US be doing anything else during those 3 days?

If I was in charge, I would follow Israel’s example and do a 100% shut down of the whole nation.  No public transportation, do intercity travel, no flights, no trains, no buses, no stores being open, including grocery stores (except for certain times for people to restock essentials), restrict people to stay in their local areas, shut down domestic travel, shut down international travel … essentially create a fire block for 3 days with the only thing being open is voting centers and that are also these testing, vaccination, medicine distribution centers.

Can this really work?

I think that if everybody is on the same page.

Everybody has the same goal.

There has to be a a 100% guarantee that any government employee, military person, police officer, governor, president, House of Representative, or Senator who tries to extend things by even a minute beyond the preset shutdown time and date will be immediately arrested.  Given that, yes it can work.

The major obstacle will be that the government has lost the trust of the citizenry.  This is a huge power that the citizens would be giving our elected officials.  The amount of trust that we would be giving them to trust that they are not going to abuse that power is beyond comprehension.

The government would be asking the people to do something that has never been asked of them previously, and it would all be based on trust that our government officials would not abuse that power and would give up that power after election day.

and here is the kicker …

It would have to be a trust that they would give up that power REGARDLESS OF WHICH CANDIDATE OR POLITICAL WON THE ELECTION.

Will a vaccine be ready to even make this possible?

Honestly, I don’t know.  But if I was running the show, I would be doing everything in my power to make it possible.

Realistically, this will be one of the easiest viruses to do a clinical trial to test a vaccine.  We have already done the control group.  It was the original Diamond Princess Cruise ship.  That ship could hold 2,640 passengers and 1,100 crew members.  That is a total population of 3,740 people.  Most phase 3 clinical trials involve 1,000 – 3,000 people.  There are also very detailed records of what happened when, and how long things took.

So the US gets permission to use the Diamond Princess for a phase 3 clinical trial.   You get the same number of volunteers.  You give them a free cruise ship vacation (maybe even a voucher for one outside of this clinical trial as an added bonus).  Everybody gets vaccinated.  Since we already have the control group, we don’t need to do the 50% without vaccines.  Include a couple of people who are known to have the coronavirus.  In the original Diamond Cruise Ship it was just 1 passenger.  Then let nature take its course.

Will there be the added complication of people naturally being cautious?  Possibly.  Although, if you look at pictures of beaches and other vacation spots, very quickly people throw “social distancing” out the window, and just have fun.  Boy meets girl … you know the rest.

The original cruise ship outbreak started on February 2, 2020 and the last passenger disembarked on March 1, 2020.  So it lasted a total of 1 month.

If we need to test for reinfection (which all cases seem to be a short period after somebody recovers), the clinical trial may need to be repeated 2-3 months later.  So let’s backtrack.

  • Election Day: November 2, 2020
  • Two weeks for final analysis of data: October 19, 2020.
  • Second round of clinical trial: October 5, 2020.
  • Two month break: August 3, 2020.
  • One month original clinical trial: July 6, 2020.

But since, it would be really big thing, and the government would want to make a big deal about, the passengers should already be on the boat on July 4, 2020, Independence Day, so they watch the fireworks from the boat.  Plus, huge parties will always include lots of people mingling (aka virus exposure).  So if we want to get people settled, we would load people on the boat on July 1, 2020.

Will the government be ready by July 1, 2020?

I have no idea.  Several drug companies keep saying that they are close.  But is the timeline too tight to guarantee safety?  Again, I don’t know, but if I was running things, I would still be trying my hardest to make that deadline.

If the vaccines are not ready by the deadline, I would still move forward with the plan, and just focus on the 5-minute tests and medicine distribution and contact tracing.

As the saying goes, “Assume the worst, and hope for the best.”

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