Democrats Must Postpone In-Person Voting Now

Jay Ponti
8 min readMar 14, 2020

Reckless. Criminal. Villainous.

It’s a good starting place, but these words only begin to describe the Democratic Party’s willingness to threaten the lives of voters by not postponing voting at the polls due to the global Corona Virus pandemic.

The NHL, NBA and MLS have shut down.

Italy’s government imposed the closure of restaurants, bars and almost all shops except food stores and pharmacies. Three weeks ago Italian citizens were going about their day, business as usual, and today the country is in chaos.

Given the alarming rate of contagion, our country may be on the verge of the worst health catastrophe in modern U.S. history.

World leaders. A-list Hollywood actors. Members of Congress have tested positive for Covid-19. Not even POTUS was able to avoid being exposed to the virus that is ten times deadlier than the flu.

The difference between them and millions of poor people is that they have access to the best health care and will be at low risk to die from exposure.

Major museums, schools, and Universities. All closed.

Fucking Disney World.

Why? Because lives are at stake.

AEG has canceled Coachella and all North American concerted tours, but the democratic party is determined to put thousands of lives at risk just so it can push through their establishment candidate, Joe Biden.

The extent to which the virus is contained depends entirely on how the country responds to the crisis. Singapore and Taiwan are the gold standards in Coronavirus containment.

“While other countries waffled on acknowledging the danger of the outbreak, Taiwan took action immediately under the guidance of its National Health Command Center, which the country established after the deadly SARS outbreak in 2003 that killed 73 people there.”

Anywhere there are crowds of people in public is an unacceptable risk.

It is not overstating to say that holding primaries in the middle of a global pandemic is state-sanctioned genocide. To continue down this path following the fiascos in California and Texas that witnessed voters in line for up to 2–4 hours. Who were these people who stood in line for hours, refusing to be denied their sacred franchise?

Poor and working black and Latino voters.

These will be the ones to suffer the worst impact.

The effects won’t stop there. We need to understand that it is not just those who are infected in public spaces. It will affect the loved ones at home and everyone else that each infected person comes into contact with. Elders are the highest risk. Approximately 70–80% of senior citizens in other countries contracted the virus from a family member.

The only way to “flatten the curve” of Coronavirus is through quarantine. Global supply chains have been disrupted due to Trump’s trade war. Critical supplies for citizens and health workers like n95 respirator masks are all running out. The administration has forced the CDC to cut spending.

We are at a watershed moment.

The shelves of supermarkets are already being stripped bare, but we have not begun to see the worst.

We are in the moment when the shoreline is receding before the tipping point when the tsunami hits. The administration has been aware of this virus since December and has done nothing about it. Are we to believe that no one in the democratic leadership has been aware of this or the decimation of the CDC? Did anyone raise the alarm? Where was our media?

Failed leadership. Our institutions continue to fail us.

There was one elected official who acted appropriately. Katie Porter took the CDC director to task on providing every American free Corona Virus testing. We need the Democratic Party to lead like this now. Urgently.

What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

When everyone who is infected with Corona Virus starts showing symptoms it is most likely going to hit a tipping point any day now. In every country, there is a period of 1–2 days where everything changes.

We are not prepared.

We need to quarantine EVERYONE. NOW.

You may not like or trust Joe Rogan, but do your research on infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm. He is legit and will completely realign your worldview in 15 minutes

The 20–30% of our population that will be affected can cripple our health care system. Not enough hospital beds. Not enough test kits, Not enough ventilators. Not enough masks.

They are flying doctors into Italy. Calling health professionals out of retirement. They are having to decide who will live and who will die because they can’t treat everyone.

It is chaos, and Americans are not immune

The notion that we are going to have people show up to polls to vote is purely psychopathic. We have learned very little from other countries at this point.

Arizona just closed 78 out of 229 voting centers. This is just going to make the lines longer and put more people at risk. This is criminal negligence.

They need to shut it down now. This is going to kill people.

Election officials in Arizona

The Democratic Party must cancel in-person voting primary elections now

At this point shifting from voting at the polls to vote by mail (VBM) may be the only option as the effects of the pandemic are unknown and could continue for months if not years. The correct decision was made to cancel having an audience for the debates. With ticket prices for the debates going for $1,750, it is clear that the party is committed to protecting wealthier democrats, insiders, and apparatchiks. It is time they also take appropriate measures to protect poor and working people.

By allowing in-person voting, they are putting the lives of our elders, health workers, poll workers, and most vulnerable citizens in serious jeopardy just to push through their establishment candidate. It is criminal.

Think I am simply biased and trying to suggest this because it will help Bernie? Voting by mail will disproportionally affect voters under 54 who overwhelmingly support Sanders, whereas Biden wins the older vote.

There are other problems with shifting to 100% VBM as delineated by the National Election Defense Council:

Lack of Transparency: As with any voting system that is not fully transparent, proving mail-in fraud can be difficult or impossible.

Lack of Security: Ballots are stored in hundreds of thousands of locations with no security for two to three weeks.

Election Fraud: There is no way to be certain that the person who signed the envelope is the person to whom the ballot was sent. Ballots can be stolen from mailboxes while the voter is at work or away from home on an errand.

Potential for Ballot Mishandling:Post-office or contract mailing company illegally forwards ballots; more than one ballot sent to voters; postal workers put ballots in the trash. All of these thing have happened in Colorado)

Ideally, the primaries will be postponed to ensure that no one is put at risk by being subjected to the long lines, or that voter suppression isn’t taking place when rational people have to choose between their right to choose the nominee and very likely endangering themselves and their families.

Regardless, we must be considering other options at this point.

Bernie Sanders’ address offered some important solutions, including caring for prisoners and our undocumented citizens in detention centers but does not go far enough.

Beyond canceling in-person voting need the Democratic Party to immediately use the power of the party to push the federal, state and local governments to:

-push for a moratorium on evictions

-push banks to suspend mortgage payments

-city-wide quarantines except supermarkets and pharmacies.

-free testing for every citizen regardless of status or health insurance

-create a hotlines in every city for people to call with trained people collecting data, coordinating with hospitals and letting those who are symptomatic report and be directed to facilities

-push for services for elderly, homeless and ADA for food and medication

-mobilize national guard to have food rations available

The window to act is closing before our eyes. We may be passed the point where we can avoid the level of containment that Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore have achieved, but we may be able to avoid the worst of what is happening in Italy.

Every country has come to the conclusion that quarantine is the answer to containment. The only question is whether or not we will make that choice before hundreds of thousands, if not OVER A MILLION PEOPLE, are at risk of dying.

From the very outset in Iowa, it has been clear that the Democratic Primary has been mismanaged, either intentionally or due to incompetence. We are beyond politics now and are in a Darwinian survival moment. Any elected official who fails to act now will be judged by history and their names will go down in infamy.

DNC Chair, Tom Perez

The Democratic Party failed to bail out the American people after the 2008 crash. It has opposed policies like Single-Payer Medicare for All health care system, that could have helped us to navigate this catastrophe much more skillfully. Obamacare was a step in the right direction, but the Democratic Party has still been comfortable with 45,000 people dying each year because they are uninsured or underinsured. These systemic failures are part of the same mechanisms that have lead to the party fighting appropriate measure to abate the coming climate catastrophes.

Why you may ask? Blind self-interest with short term risk aversion. Nature is now giving humanity a serious wake-up call to urgent rethink our way of life and governance. It is clear that the Trump administration has failed and must be replaced with new leadership. We are only now just seeing the import to fully examine and implement Senator Sanders’ platform for systemic change. It has never been more important to choose the path of strong leadership to face what we are up against. We have more than enough data from other countries to act accordingly.

Every American deserves the right to cast their ballot and shouldn’t have to face death to exercise their right to vote.

Before you go, please take the time to listen to this Emergency Podcast by Michael Moore trying to wake people up to what is coming, and here is a tool-kit with more information on the Covid-19 pandemic.

God bless, and please take care of yourselves.


Thanks for reading!

From Occupy to Standing Rock, Jay Ponti has been a grassroots political organizer. He was the co-creator of #BankExit, the campaign which ignited billions in fossil fuel divestments. He has masterminded direct actions with Jane Fonda, Susan Sarandon, and other luminaries, which received international media attention.

Jay was a strategist for the 2017 California Poor People’s campaign that coordinated simultaneous actions occupying capitol buildings in 35 states where over 2500 people were arrested to stand for climate justice, criminal justice, health care as a human right, undocumented rights, homeless rights and many other critical issues facing our nation.

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