Think of the Corona Virus. Now think of perhaps the most common illness affecting millions of Americans each year, the common flu. Then think of our senior citizen population, people that are allergic to the flu vaccine, the disabled, and people with compromised immune systems. And then think of these statistics. They are only valid to, at latest counts, March 10, 2020.
- The population of Germany is 82.79 million (2018). They have developed a usable COVID19 test kit and are testing people on a mass scale. The CDC has not decided to replicate this testing regimen as of late.
- The population of Italy is 60.48 million. As this is written, all of Italy is on lockdown. It has begun testing people all over the country and has shut down all retail establishments, except those with pharmacies or food stores.
- South Korea with a population of 51.47 million (2017) has already set up and is using drive-up testing for the symptoms of the Corona Virus. They are aiming at testing a phenomenal 10,000 people a day, now closing in on roughly 15,000 per day.
- Wuhan China with a population 11.08 million has the entire province of Wuhan in lock down. It has suspended public transport, limited public gatherings, prepared their health-care system, and is testing significant numbers of its population..
- Dallas county with a population of 2.618 million (2017), has stated in a March 10, 2020 headline in “D” magazine: COVID-19: Dallas County Can Test Only a ‘Small Number’ of Patients Daily.
Roughly 31 countries around the world have COV19 exposure, and that number is likely to continue to grow.
Worldwide, the last count of those testing positive for the virus is 98,192 confirmed (2873 new) cases of exposure to the virus.
Last count of deaths due to the virus is 4,269. Both figures are changing, virtually by the hour as more patients are hospitalized and treated for the virus.
“The WHO’s estimated mortality rate for COVID-19 started off at 2%, [Dr. Anthony] Fauci said. If you count all the estimated cases of people who may have it but haven’t been diagnosed yet, the mortality rate is probably closer to 1%, he said, “which means it’s 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu.” per CNBC.
All the while our national government has been trying to make up for lost time. The CDC is trying to distribute 1.1M COVID-19 tests by last weekend. This number of kits meant to serve 327.2 million (2018) people in our country.
Tarrant county alone has 2.054 million (2017) in it. 1.1 million test kits distributed to the entire country will not even get to Tarrant county and we don’t even know what the exposure rate is because we haven’t looked. Tarrant county reports that the seasonal flu, a corona virus type of virus, is “wide-spread.” Ask yourself, do you want to go against recommendations of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and go into large crowds? Do you want to be in a small room with a large group of people? The CDC recommends that senior citizens and those with compromised immune systems refrain from being exposed to large gatherings, long flights and cruise ships. This will eventually include all of us. Ask yourself this, do you want to be with a lot of people within inches of you and not the recommended 6 feet away?
That is what happens on voting day. So, the bigger question is, will you vote in the most important election in modern history? Will you go to vote at the polls? I think the answer is maybe, if you feel lucky. There is an answer though.
The answer is the absentee ballot. Washington state enacted voting by mail statewide in 1983. Washington state has been saving money at the county and precinct level in large part due to these efforts. Voting in this way has saved their counties money by having no need for physical voting places and expensive equipment. This option allowed the state to draft fewer volunteers on election day. And thus, there are no long lines at polling places. There are no 2-6 hour waits while your election volunteers work a 13+ hour day to get sometimes angry voters signed in and assisted to vote. These dedicated volunteers swear to the election judge that:
By contrast, the Washington state voters’ polling place is no further than her or his mailbox. Washington state has also set up drop boxes to collect ballots from voters.
The state of Texas currently allows senior citizens, the disabled and people that will be in other locations the right to request to vote by mail but not the public at large. Texas currently prints absentee ballots and we could print more of the ballots to distribute to us, the voters. No longer would we need the voting centers peopled by hard pressed volunteers, who may be exposed to or transmissive of Corona virus and the flu virus while they work behind the tables to check us in to vote. In this time of stress to our immune systems and the current environment of viral diseases, this would remove the risk of contact with many other strangers both in lines and in the closed places of the polls. Mail in ballots would be a personal health benefit for each of us, voters and polling place volunteers alike. All the while, we would be saving our tax dollars by adopting statewide absentee voting.
Getting this option, however, will require some urgent action by all of us. You personally, must lobby your representatives and our entire state government for a change to current law. This is not a partisan issue. Democrats, Republicans and Independents, the disabled, rural and urban voters would be served. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, the disabled, rural and urban voters would be enabled across our County and our State to save our precious tax dollars while exercising our national duty.
We at the Chronicle encourage you to call, text and email all our representatives. Not just your own in Austin. By changing the way we hold elections, we would be enabling all Texans to have their voices heard no matter where they live. See the Texas state website for the information you need to speak to our representatives at,