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Here's my problem living with sheltering in place.

[Yes, I know that I am writing this from my place of extraordinarily privileged. I should be, and I am, deeply grateful that I have a bicycle, a car, leisure time, and health. That I have enough disposable income to be able enjoy the recreational opportunities of Alameda, California, should they be available. I have the luxury of riding a bicycle for recreation and exercise, not because it is my sole means of transportation, nor because it is necessary for my work. I am deeply grateful for these privileges that I enjoy. But still, after months of relative solitude, this is how shelter-in-place is affecting me.]

The other day I went to Alameda (California) to ride my bike. I drove there alone. Even if I had gone with someone, we would have taken separate cars so as not to be in an enclosed space together. I rode alone. Even if I had ridden with someone, cycling is mostly a solo experience much of the time anyway, and I wouldn't have wanted either of us huffing and puffing on each other if we were communicating.

Under normal circumstances I might have brought a book, perhaps to sit in a cafe afterwards, people watching and having a latte. But no. I suppose I could have sat at an outdoor table, if one were available, and watched people go by, wearing masks, making no contact. Or, I could have sat on the beach - alone, making no contact - except of course that the beach in Alameda is usually windy, and yesterday unusually high winds are expected. Though I saw that there were plenty of people on the beach, for me that is no fun. I suppose I could have picked up some groceries or mailed some letters - woo hoo!

So, I went to Alameda, rode, and then came home.


And that is my problem with shelter-in-place.

I woke up this morning really, really, truly anxious about the arrival of winter. What is going to happen to people during a winter with a raging COVID-19 epidemic? 

What happens to restaurants that are barely holding on right now, when weather makes outdoor dining basically impossible? What happens to all sorts of shops, grocery stores, etc., that expect lines of people to stand outside and wait before coming in one at a time? It’s one thing to keep people lined up on the sidewalk in good weather – in the middle of a winter storm is quite another. And let us not forget the lines outside of unemployment offices.

What happens when travel to pleasant, warm places is difficult, or even banned due to travel restrictions? What happens when you can’t have a socially distanced visit outside in the yard with family, friends, or neighbors, because it’s raining, cold, snowing, or whatever flavor of "shitty" your climate brings in winter? We will all be even more isolated.

I don’t know what brought skiing to mind (I can’t ski any more due to health issues), but I wonder if ski areas can survive with socially distanced skiing. One person per lift? Lift lines with people 6' apart? Lift lines that snake for a mile, not just an annoyingly long 50'? Not that skiing is so terribly important to the world, but having the ski industry wiped out kills a whole domino of support industries and jobs.

More importantly, what businesses haven’t I thought of that can’t survive a socially distanced fall/winter/spring, and the businesses that rely on those businesses, and the people that rely on the jobs they provide?

What is it like to wear a mask when its freezing cold and your breath condenses on it?

What the fuck is this winter going to be like?

[PS: Yes, I am aware that the examples of dining out, travel, and skiing are largely the concerns of the wealthy. I am just as concerned, or more so, about the emotional and financial impact on those less fortunate. These are just my personal thoughts on how COVID may affect me. Furthermore, while "trickle-down" economics doesn’t work, the web effects of wiping out any given industry impacts us all.]
Kero, Co-Pilot, October 2004

When I drive with Molly, she pretty much stays in the back. If we’re headed to the dog park, sometimes she gets so excited that she will try to climb into the front seat, but that’s pretty much it.

Kero used to stick her head over the seat back for me to pet her at red lights. She liked to lick my ears, which were at just the right height while I was seated in the car. She’d go crazy licking the ears of passengers. Anyone in the passenger seat got a serious mopping. She loved everyone, and showed her affection with generous kisses. I used to say that she would “French” on the first date.

My dad hated that. While we were driving, Kero would lean over and try to lick his ears. He’d bat her away like a mosquito, exclaiming, “fuyh!

Kero died 5 years ago today. My dad passed about 2.5 years ago.

I have Molly to keep me company, but COVID isolation is getting very heavy.

The passenger seat feels very empty.

Early in August I wrote a post suggesting that the best thing dOnald trUmp could do for himself was to drop out of the race. He wouldn't have to face losing, and Pence could pardon him.

But ohhhhh, nooooo. Clearly I am not Machiavellian enough. Clever enough. Evil enough.

I recently heard a theory of what tRump will do if he loses that makes my ramblings sound like the innocent whimperings of a child. 

If tRump wins, well, that's it. Game over. 'Nuff said.

But, lets say that tRump loses (please, oh please), by however much; a landslide or just 1 electoral vote. What does he do? He spends the time from November 4 to late January (let's say the 18th or 19th) fighting the outcome. Claiming rampant voter fraud, erroneous mail-in ballots, "Blue State" Governors, the "Deep State", foreign interference, and on and on. He'll start lawsuits in every state, and he'll fight, fight, fight to stay in office. No surprise there.

But, lets say it gets to the 18th or 19th of January and it is clear that he is out on the 20th at high noon. What does he do? What can he do? Well, paraphrasing Adam Schiff, "A lot. He can do a lot." And that lot is to pardon everyone (everyone that he likes, that is.)  He issues blanket pardons for any and all crimes, committed before or during his presidency. He pardons his kids, his children-in-laws, and his grand children. He pardons Bill Barr. He pardons Mike Pence. And Steven Miller, Mike Pompeo, Steve Mnuchin, Mark Esper, Betsy DeVos, Kellyanne Conway, Louis DeJoy, and on, and on, and on. He might even pardon Brett Kavanaugh (it is a weird idea for a President to pardon a Supreme Court justice.) And then... he resigns.

Yup, the day or two before the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President, dOnald tRump resigns from the office, making Mike Pence the 46th POTUS for 1 or 2 days. Pence does one and only one thing. He gives tRump a blanket pardon. tRump is pardoned from rape, sex with minors, collusion, treason, fraud, and murder for hire (we all know that must have done that at some point in his past.) Then Joe Biden becomes the 47th POTUS, and tRump and his cronies are free as birds.

I'm sure I would have thought of that if I were capable of thinking like a villain like tRump. Thankfully I am not.

Some years ago, a girlfriend introduced me to tomato sandwiches. When she told me we were having them for lunch, I thought she was crazy. It turns out she was anything but. Tomato sandwiches are simplicity itself, and deliciousness itself. 

There is no recipe for a tomato sandwich. To look at one is to know the recipe. I like mine as simple as can be; two slices of really good bread (I like a slightly sweeter bread); mayonnaise on one or both pieces; a thick slice of a beefsteak tomato fresh from the garden or farm-stand, salt and pepper. But you can use whatever bread you like - toasted or untoasted. Mayonnaise or not is up to you - or substitute something else, or leave  off dressing altogether, relying on the tomato to provide moistness. One slice of a giant beefsteak or big-boy tomato, or multiple slices of smaller tomatoes, or even a pile of thin tomato slices. The only thing that is important is that each element must be excellent – being such a simple, pared down collection, each must shine on its own. 

Here I am using a bread sweetened (and colored) with honey and caramel coloring, with gray salt.

As I have come to understand, tomato sandwiches really aren’t madness. Cucumber sandwiches are just the same – slices of a savory fruit on bread. [From a botanist’s perspective, both tomatoes and cucumbers are fruits.] Watercress sandwiches live in the same flavor-space. Arguably bruschetta is at its most basic a simple bread, garlic, and olive oil affair. I am told that after a long night of drinking, nothing pleases some in Asia more than rice with soy sauce and sesame oil – possibly with sliced scallions if one is feeling wild. I have no doubt that around the world there is a simple, savory something enjoyed in each and every culture. 

So, go nuts. Have a tomato sandwich. Then tell me who’s crazy.

The kind we grow here: 'Boxcar Willie'

Earlier this summer, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on the case of Trump v. Pennsylvania. The court decided in favor of Trump, concluding that employers have broad religious and moral exemptions from the mandate that health insurance provided to their workers include coverage for birth control. Soon the court, minus Justice Ginsberg, may rule on other aspects of ACA potentially dooming that legislation.

But that is not what I want to talk about. Every time questions are raised related to health insurance provided by corporations, I am reminded of something my dad used to say. He was very conservative and voted the straight republican ticket for most of his life. [He voted Republican up until tRump. He couldn’t bring himself to vote for a man he called an “unqualified moron”, regardless of party loyalty.] He owned a small specialty chemical business. Over the years he had anywhere from 3 employees (in the earliest days), to 50 or 60 at the company’s peak.

Every time the issue of health insurance came up, American business would vigorously declare that the government should stay out of it. My father would shake his head and growl, “What, are they nuts?” He would say things like, “I am in the chemical business. I am not in the insurance business. I don’t know health insurance, and I don’t want to have to provide it to my employees.” He would ask, “Why do these companies want to deal with this mishegas? They make cars, or sell shoes, or fly airplanes. That’s what they should do!” He would go on, “Every year I have to read through all these fucking insurance riders and choose the best insurance for my people. What if I make a mistake? I lie awake at night worrying about what would happen if I chose a bad insurance plan and an employee suffers.” [He really was a good employer in spite of his gruffness and conservative nature.] “If the government wants to take over health insurance, I say ‘Please! Please do!’ What makes these companies want to deal with this nonsense. Let the government take it over! Please.”

Of course, it was a rhetorical question. He knew why, and I do too. The vast majority of America’s major corporations are run by arch conservatives who want the government to tax as little as possible, and provide as few services as possible. They also want their employees to be stuck in their jobs due to the need for insurance. Furthermore, large corporations can carry the cost of human resources departments that handle getting, maintaining, and managing healthcare policies. It’s no skin off the back of the people at the top to have their businesses providing healthcare insurance to their employees.

But life would be so much easier for everyone if we just had universal healthcare. Corporations that aren’t in the healthcare industry could focus on their core competency, whatever that might be. For companies with religious or moral objections to certain healthcare options, the issue becomes moot. Also, companies can stop playing stupid games such as making sure that everyone is part-time, or a consultant, etc. to avoid having to provide benefits (of which insurance is far and away the most expensive.) Meanwhile, companies use health insurance as a way to handcuff their employees to their jobs. But, I have to ask, do they really want employees that are only there because of the health insurance benefit? I’ve got to believe that someone clocking in every day solely for the health care is unlikely to be a company’s dedicated performer! Let them go, taking their government provided health insurance with them, and bring in someone else who is truly invested in the work. Then the employee, now freed from the need for employer sponsored healthcare, can find another job that better suits their needs, aptitudes, and desires. Everyone wins - the worker, the employers on both side of the move, and the economy. Everyone.

Oh, and another benefit of a single-payer system: all Americans can get the healthcare they need without going bankrupt. Not having your company situated in a country filled with the sick, dying, and bankrupt, has got to be worth something. And the net cost for American businesses will be almost nothing. If business stopped objecting and just let the government take over providing health care in this country, they could relieve themselves of all the overhead of providing it themselves. Sure, their taxes would probably go up, but, that tax burden would be spread across all taxpayers. I am hard pressed to believe that the portion contributed by corporate taxes would be greater than the cost employers already bear providing private health insurance. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so.

So, please, can we stop litigating who pays for what, when, and how, and just give the human beings that live in American healthcare already? Geesh.

The attack on the United States Postal Service:

This has been bugging me for a couple weeks now, and since Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) recently brought it up, allow me to vent about this a bit.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is a service provided by the U.S. government to the people of the United States. Long distance communication is so important that it was authorized in the Constitution itself. If telegraph, phone, or the internet had existed at the founding of America, no doubt the framers would have enshrined them in the Constitution as well.

[Aside: In his book The Invention of Yesterday: A 50,000-Year History of Human Culture, Conflict, and Connection, Tamim Ansary repeatedly emphasizes communication as the fundamental limiter on the size of states, countries, and empires. You can only control as far as you can efficiently communicate.]

Who decided that the USPS should be self-funding?

Even though it is a U.S. government agency, currently the USPS receives no funding from taxpayers. The USPS is required to fund itself entirely through the sale of postage stamps and other service charges and fees. I have heard that there are other agencies that are self-funded, but, I honestly have no idea which. I have not managed to find information about any of them. This may not actually be correct (if you know, please put it in the comments.)

Why is this? The post office is so important that every nation on earth has one. It is so important that it is authorized in our Constitution. It is so important that historians reference it in their analyses of world events.

We don’t require the armed forces to be self-supporting. The CIA and FBI don’t have to charge for their services to do their jobs. Some stretches of highway are toll roads, but most federal, state, and local roads are built and maintained by government agencies, with no usage fees imposed, and their operation is neither required nor expected to be revenue-neutral. The same is true for the FDA, EPA, USDA, DHS, Department of the Treasury, HUD, and on and on. All these other agencies provide services to the people of the United States, while the cost of running them is covered primarily or entirely by taxes. The USPS is no less important a service and should not be hobbled by an unfair set of funding rules.

Reliable delivery everywhere:

The USPS is a rather extraordinary service in many ways. Notably, letters sent within the United States have the same cost regardless of where it originates or where it is going. If I send a letter from my house to my next-door neighbor’s house, it (currently) costs 55 cents. If someone in the remotest part of Hawaii sends a letter to a destination in the remotest part of Alaska, it costs 55 cents. The USPS is committed to this and has been since the implementation of the Rural Free Delivery act. [In case you ever wondered about the title of the old TV series, “Mayberry R.F.D”, the “R.F.D” part refers to Rural Free Delivery, presumably suggesting the remoteness of the town of Mayberry.] Needless to say, the letter going from me to my neighbor costs far less to carry than the fee I pay, while the letter from remote HI to remote AK could cost vastly more to deliver than the price of the stamp that gets it there.

In fact, because the USPS goes anywhere and everywhere, FedEx and UPS often use the post office for the “final mile” on their package delivery. This service is of immense value to our citizens.

What services should government agencies provide?

Here’s another thing. The basis for Postmaster General DeJoy’s claim about decommissioning mail sorting machines is to increase capacity for packages. But there are private companies that carry packages quite well. UPS and FedEx deliver innumerable packages across the country and around the world, Amazon has created a wing of its business to handle dispatching their vast number of shipments, and there are common carriers for large heavy shipments as well as other kinds of specialty couriers.

Other than filling the gaps of shipping where these companies refuse to go (or charge onerous fees to do so), why should the USPS deliver packages at all? DeJoy says that the changes being made to USPS are needed to stay competitive. What? Why should it be competitive? The government is not supposed to compete with private enterprise! The government supplies services that private enterprise is unable to provide, or in what economists call “natural monopolies” - where it makes sense for the operation to be centrally managed.

The United States government could compete in manufacturing computers, providing haircuts, building cars, or creating new snack foods. But it doesn’t and it shouldn’t. The Government should provide the unprofitable but vital service of carrying mail, but the marketplace has shown that privately run companies can handle mainstream package delivery just fine, thank you very much.

Yes, there are areas where government and private enterprise supply the same product or service. Though most roads are built by the public sector, some are private. Government provides schools, from kindergarten through graduate school, and so do private for-profit and non-profit corporations. Governments provide tap water, but people can buy bottled water if they wish. No doubt there are many other such examples. But in none of these cases is the government providing a service in order to compete with private enterprise. Why should we even talk about the USPS being competitive in shipping packages. Maybe we want to assure that package delivery services are available at a reasonable cost to all citizens. To do so, being cost efficient makes sense. But, we can also provide this service to the populace by subsidizing it with tax revenue, or USPS can get out of the package business, and the government can regulate package delivery companies to assure fair pricing.

Final thoughts: 

We should all recognize that the United States Postal Service is a service. The government of the USA provides other services such as consulates in foreign countries, the Coast Guard, investigating and incarcerating federal criminals, and assuring the safety and quality of our food and drugs. Carrying mail is no less important. The USPS provides a valuable service to our people that need not be profitable. Imagining that the USPS should be competitive with private enterprise is ridiculous. The suggestion that the post office's vital task of carrying letters should be torn apart to allow it to compete in delivery of packages is even more so.

Why would Louis DeJoy choose to be Postmaster General? If offered, why would he accept the position?

Prior to becoming Postmaster General, he was president of one company, and before that CEO of another. Along the way he made a boatload of money (not a billionaire, but plenty of money for this lifetime and next.) So, why Postmaster General? Apparently he is the first in the history of the USPS to have had no prior experience at the post office, so it wasn’t like he was working his way up through the ranks and finally made it to the top job.

The Postmaster General earns just under $300K. That's a healthy salary for most people, but, if you are already a multi-millionaire, is that really an enticement? And we don’t know how much he was pulling down from his previous position - $300K could be a salary cut.

Now I don’t want to disparage the post office, nor the office of Postmaster General, but really, I don’t think it is a glamour position. I can’t name a single Postmaster General since Ben Franklin. Can you? Prior to this scandal, DeJoy could have walked up to my door to sell me a magazine subscription, and I wouldn’t have had the faintest idea who he was.

While I don’t have personal knowledge on this, I've gotta believe that being P.G. does not let you jump the line at a swanky new restaurant, nor get you invited to exclusive D.C. parties (though being a major RNC donor might.) Nor is Postmaster General known as a stepping stone towards a seat in Congress. Perhaps it is a route to Ambassadorship, but tRump has shown no reluctance to sell those outright to the least qualified donors.

So, why would DeJoy want to be P.G., or accept the job when offered? Was he an avid stamp collector as a child, always dreaming of someday running the post office? Or was it, as Occam's razor would suggest, some kind of arrangement with tRump to crush the postal service in exchange for huge gains in his FedEx and UPS stock holdings?

I have to believe that if we truly knew DeJoy’s motivation for leading the USPS, we would know more about why he is tearing it apart.


[Update: USPS backs off plans]
[Just one day after posting how states can work around the disruption of the USPS in terms of mail-in voting, the powers that be have backed off from their plans. I didn't realize I had that much influence. I guess the pen is mightier than the sword after all. Still, let's keep this simmering on the back burner - we may yet need it.]

dOnald tRump intends to interfere with mail-in voting:
With just months to go before the election, dOnald tRump has installed one of his lackeys to cripple or destroy the USPS, disrupting the use of mail-in ballots. This is a dickish move for a variety of reasons. Not only is it a cowardly, cheater’s way to interfere with the election and attempt to throw it his way, but also the USPS serves vital functions for real people. Vast numbers receive critical medications through the mail. While the wealthiest among us can afford to simply move to private carriers for all their mail, many Americans, especially some of our least affluent, need the USPS for all sorts of communications and deliveries, generally provided at costs well below what outside companies currently offer. I could go on and on about the value of the post office, but I won’t here. 

I will grant that the Internet has significantly reduced the use of first-class mail. Many people communicate by email, bills are presented and paid via websites, and magazines are read online. All this is certainly true. And it is true that while first-class mail is becoming a smaller and smaller part of what the post office does, package delivery is growing. So it makes sense to reduce (though certainly not slash and burn) the post office’s focus on first-class mail, retooling for package delivery. I further acknowledge that, given enough advanced warning, preparation, and time, public sector companies, such as UPS and FedEx, could probably find ways to restructure their businesses so that they could provide basic envelope delivery for reasonable rates. But, doing this right now, before the election, in a pandemic, when people will need mail-in voting if they want to vote safely, is unconscionable. Meanwhile, our President has all but admitted that crippling of the USPS is being done at this time in order to disrupt the election, not to truly address system inefficiencies.

Is there something we can do about it?
I would like to suggest a way that states could, if they chose, enable the functionality of mail-in balloting without the USPS. I would be remiss if I didn’t reiterate that there is no reason why states should have to take on this effort, cost, and complexity, but there it is. Here we are. We have descended so far as a nation that the states need to actively work to circumvent the misdeeds of the President. Sigh.

The Elections Clause of the Constitution grants states the right to set the time, place, and manner of elections. Given that, here are my suggestions for how states could implement safe voting for the 2020 election, and possibly future elections as well. There are two main areas to be examined: getting ballots to voters, and receiving those completed ballots back. For each of these, there is the case of states that currently provide primarily in-person voting on the day of an election, and those that use “automatic mail-in ballot systems”. [Note that the states with automatic mail-in voting still provide some polling places for in-person election-day voting for those who cannot vote by mail for some reason. Note too that all states with in-person voting also offer the absentee/mail-in option, though it may require an application to do so.] 

Though it is chronologically out of order, I would like to start with the question of how ballots can be returned.

Getting completed ballots sent in to the state:
In states that currently rely on in-person voting (i.e. not providing automatic mail-in balloting), getting completed “mail-in” ballots submitted without using the USPS could easily be done by having voters drop off their ballots at their local polling place on election day. The polling places are already set to be open and staffed, so this would require virtually no additional infrastructure. Also, doing so is currently provided as an option for the return of absentee ballots in all states (as I understand it). So, this suggestion really consists of having states expand an option that they already provide!

People who have filled out and are dropping off their completed ballot can be provided with their own line or lines, which should move quite quickly - since all the voter needs to do is drop their ballot into a slot. Furthermore, this should significantly reduce the number of people coming to election places to actually cast their votes in person, reducing the size of those lines, and reducing the health hazard that such congregations of people present.

Moreover, using such a system, states could provide for dropping off ballots days or even weeks prior to the election, without involving the post office. Ballots could be left at the selfsame polling stations, with the usual guards and election observers, or this could be done at locations that are not traditionally used for polls. Maybe ballot lock-boxes could be installed in spots where mail drop boxes have recently been removed! Again, there should be few or no lines, since all a person need do is walk (or drive) up, drop an envelope into a slot, and leave. The election monitors could easily be protected from COVID exposure by literally providing a mail slot in a window, door, or Plexiglas panel, with no contact between the voter and the monitor. As for security of the election, this is safer than sending ballots through the mail.

In the four states that currently utilize automatic mail-in ballots, exactly the same sort of drop off locations would be created so that voters can avoid the anticipated postal logjam. To serve constituents that live in sparsely populated areas, the state could acquire the services of an organization like Brinks. They could arrange for Brinks trucks, driven by guards and carrying election monitors, to drive around the state, collecting ballots at various pre-announced locations. Again, people would simply be depositing their envelope through a slot. There would be no exposure for the election monitors or guards, other than to each other. (Obviously, rapid turnaround testing and/or isolation would be required for these election officials to mitigate the potential of them infecting each other if any of them have the virus.)

Furthermore, this mobile drop-off approach could be added to states that have traditionally used in-person voting. One hears of places where it is difficult for people to get to some far-off polling place, or to make such a trek on election day. The approach of using armored vehicles as rolling ballot depositories could actually expand voter access in states that are willing to adopt it. Though voter fraud doesn’t really exist, dropping a ballot into a slot in a Brinks armored truck should provide voters with confidence that their ballot will be handled securely.

Getting ballots into the hands of voters:
OK. Now we just have to get the ballot to the voter in the first place. If states mail out ballots early enough, the problem could be obviated. But deadlines for submitting initiatives and the like have already been set. Forcing the mailing of ballots to occur earlier than anticipated could bring its own problems. 

Note that the ballots themselves contain no personally identifiable information. In fact, in California, where I live, there is a law requiring that a ballot be invalidated if there are any identifying marks on it. Thus, other than the candidates that are running for office and any initiatives that are unique to your district, every ballot is interchangeable. 

Currently, (in every state I have lived in) ballots are sent out with a return envelope provided. The front of that envelope simply has the address of the district office where the ballot should be delivered, plus some information used by the post office. There is absolutely nothing on the front that is unique to any individual voter. The back of the envelope is imprinted with the voter’s name and address, a place for the voter’s signature, a section to indicate if another individual is voting for you, and various information and reminders to assist voters. The name and address are used along with the signature to verify that the voter is registered to vote, at that address, and with that signature (see the Center for Civic Design for details.)

The voters' name and address is printed on the return envelope for identification purposes (it also serves in sending the packet to the voter by exposing that address through a window in the outer envelope.) But, there is no real reason why the voter cant write their name and address on the envelope along with their signature. If the envelope were not imprinted with the name and address, then there is actually nothing unique about any given return envelope. With this change, you and I could swap envelopes and ballots, and still be able vote successfully (assuming we are in the same voting district.)

So why are we sending mail-in ballots to voters at all? Why have we ever sent ballots to mail-in voters (who are not actually "absentee")? [The case with absentee is slightly different in that it is assumed that the voter is not able to get to their voting district.] We could simply provide piles of ballots with blank envelopes at public places such as grocery stores, banks, libraries and government buildings (with giant signs warning people that they must take a ballot that is appropriate for their district.) Anyone can take a ballot whenever they want. Or, blank ballots could be mailed out to registered voters, with general distribution provided as a service to anyone whose mail was delayed. In fact, the ballot and an envelope template could be downloadable for printing at home! 

I'll go one step farther. The same ballot and envelope used for mail-in voting could be provided to voters at polling stations on election day. Why should voters have wait in line, go up to a desk, get verified, then go into a booth and push buttons, punch holes, touch screens, pull levers, or what have you. Rather, voters would get a ballot and envelope, fill it in wherever they like (sitting in their car, on a park bench, in the loo, wherever), put it in the envelope (with name, address, and signature), and drop it into a secured voting box. If we have put in place such systems for "mail-in" ballots, why not use the exact same mechanism for same-day, "in-person" voting. Poll workers would still need to be present to assist voters that are confused, or disabled in ways that render using the mail-in style ballot impossible. Poll workers and security would still be required to maintain order and the enforce the laws surrounding polling places. But, the vast majority of potentially hazardous human contact would be eliminated, without using a single stamp.

Yes, counting "mail-in" type ballots is slower than using voting machines, but four of our great states have been doing it successfully for years.

Final thoughts:
I’m not saying that DJT shouldn’t be drawn and quartered for his iniquity, but, it appears that Postmaster General deJoyless will have the USPS shredded before anything can be done about it. The tRump administration has a head start, and doesn’t seem to mind doing things that are illegal or unconstitutional. Maybe I am woefully mistaken on some aspect of the mechanics of submitting ballots, but the evisceration of the USPS seems like something states can work around if they want to. Wouldn’t that be a kick! tRump builds a 10’ wall, and we buy a 10’ ladder. Game, set, match.

It has been suggested that dOnald tRump might be considering dropping out of the 2020 Presidental race. His prospects for winning re-election are looking poor, and his chances for delaying the election are even worse. So, strangely, dropping out of the race is probably the best thing DJT could do for himself.

There are a variety of reasons that this twisted narcissist wants to remain in office. But, from a purely practical standpoint, the only genuine purpose to remain President is to continue to live outside (above?) the law, and to protect himself, his children, and his "associates" (aka co-conspirators) from facing the music for their wrongdoings. If he loses the election, he and his cohorts will be in trouble. If he loses the election and faces a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress, he and his are screwed.

What is a possible solution? Find another Republican to take his place. Make a Nixon/Ford-esque deal with someone more likely to win, and then help them do so. tRump should attempt to find Upstanding Republican, Zachary P. Unobjectionable, drop out of the race, and tell his supporters to vote for the new guy. Needless to say, the tRump faithful will, giving this new candidate 40+% out of the gate. All of the Republicans that hate tRump sufficiently to vote for Biden, or stay at home, can feel comfortable voting for Zach. This will also help down-ballot Republicans, thereby decreasing the probability of a Democrat controlled Senate. Further, all of the people that don't like Biden, but hate tRump, can vote for Zach (or not bother to go to the polls during a pandemic.)

Then, if Zachary P. becomes President Unobjectionable, tRump (a) doesn't experience an ego crushing loss, (b) is seen as a king-maker, (c) get's to present it as his personal victory, and most importantly, (d) can rely on P.U. to pardon him and his kids, quash civil suits against him, etc., as well as name at least one more Supreme Court justice.

Should candidate Unobjectionable lose, tRump's claims of voter fraud will seem more plausible since he wont just be a "sore loser." tRump would certainly throw poor Zachary under the bus, claiming that "Zany Zach" or "Useless Unobjectionable" lost because he is "a loser", didn't run his campaign correctly, and failed to take tRump's advice. No fault of tRump's that this guy couldn't cut it. He's fired!

Further, even if the Honorable Mr. Unobjectionable loses, there will be a better chance of Republicans holding the Senate, thereby blocking Federal actions against the tRumps, blocking the Democratic house from undoing tRump's prior evil, and generally gumming up the works for at least 2 more years... providing the fearless leader plenty of time to relocate to Morocco, Moldova, Serbia or some other nation with pretty girls and no extradition treaty.

Just to be clear, I don't actually believe The Narcissist In Chief will take this route. He believes he will win, and will no doubt go to his grave claiming that he did win. But, if he were the least bit wise, this would be his plan-B.