United States Congressional & Gubernatorial 2022 elections

I think you are remembering correctly. The US and many countries have national stockpiles of numerous vaccines including pandemic flu (not seasonal) partially for this reason. I think the US stockpile has or does variously include H1N1, H5N1, H7N9, anthrax, and smallpox. For years while CoV research was being performed, there were no CoV vaccines available.

I don’t know anything about all that you have said, but given how quickly we produced vaccines I think the skill of manufacturing a virus is out there in the wild as well. I’m not so interested in investigating this one as I am in quickly vaccinating against the next one.

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Another Covid topic I am very interested in (especially given this origin conversation) is China’s continued zero Covid restrictions. They are now having riots in many places over this policy but it continues.

China’s zero covid policy is crazy. I know they have lower vaccination rates among the elderly, but are their vaccines just that much less effective than advertised that they feel forced to double down on the policy?

It feels like there is a real potential for a revolution to come out of this. The people aren’t living in isolation like they may have been a few decades ago. Many work for western companies and will be on video conferences with those outside of China and see how life is for everyone else. Having been on calls like those over the past 3 years and hearing what life is like in China and around the world has really been fascinating. But now nearly everyone else on the phone has been vaccinated, has had covid, and had moved on, while those in China are being locked in their cramped apartments for weeks at a time.

It looks like they might finally lose the strategy on the current outbreak, i can’t see how they can maintain the strategy. What happens when they finally see the wave of death that the rest of the world has been through, especially if they keep trying to lock people at home?

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I’m thinking that less than 1% of all Chinese people have regular, non-censored contacts with the “outside world”. They could tell their immediate families about what they are learning, but getting further means risking the government’s sanctions on people who spread “dangerous” information.

All I know is what I read in the US press. My impression is that it is extremely difficult and dangerous to spread information that the gov’t doesn’t like.

not sure about this. VPN is rampant

Sure, but what % can be completely unaware that they are the only country pursuing this policy?

Travel is coming back for them which further exposes them to the outside world as well as creates huge leaks in their strategy.

Interesting. Care to make a guess on “rampant” ?
My first guess is a slice of tech-savvy young urbanites. But, I read that China is more digital than the US for payments. So maybe that gives a big base for other tech stuff.

Thinking a little more, virtually 100% must be aware that lots of others countries aren’t pursuing zero-covid. The gov’t wants them to know this, and also that the US has a million deaths so far and is still running close to 400 per day. They are promoting their exceptionalism.

Regularly interacting with Westerners probably lets people know that 400 deaths in a country of 330 million feels like “vanishing” to lots of us.

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola Win Re-Election in Alaska

The candidates prevail over Trump-backed rivals in the state’s ranked-choice voting system.

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Centrist Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska won another term in the Senate, defeating rival GOP candidate Kelly Tshibaka, who was backed by former President Donald Trump.

Also Wednesday, incumbent Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola won a full two-year term as Alaska’s lone representative in the U.S. House, once again thwarting former Republican Gov. Sarah Palin’s effort to mount a political comeback.

Ms. Murkowski and Ms. Peltola, who had endorsed each other, were announced as winners late Wednesday following a live vote tabulation by the Alaska Division of Elections, which administers the state’s new ranked-choice voting process.

Following the tabulation, Ms. Murkowski had 53.7% to 46.3% for Ms. Tshibaka. In the House race, Ms. Peltola had 54.9% to 45.1% for Ms. Palin.

Ms. Peltola’s win will narrow the Republican majority in the House, while Ms. Murkowski’s victory won’t affect the margin of Democrats’ control of the Senate, as the seat had already been counted in the Republicans’ column.

Ms. Peltola, a former state legislator, became the first woman to represent Alaska in the House and the first Alaska Native in Congress when she defeated Ms. Palin and another Republican, Nick Begich III, in a special election in August. Both Republicans returned for the fall election. Ms. Peltola will serve out the final weeks of late Republican Rep. Don Young’s term before being sworn in with the new Congress in January.

In another race called Wednesday, Republican Mike Dunleavy easily won reelection for governor.

Ms. Murkowski was one of seven Senate Republicans who joined all Democrats in a 57-43 vote to convict Mr. Trump for inciting his supporters to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. That vote fell short of the two-thirds needed to convict, so Mr. Trump was acquitted.

Ms. Murkowski was the only one of the seven who faced re-election this year.

Her break with Mr. Trump came months before the Capitol riot, when she told reporters in June 2020 that she was struggling with whether she could support him. He swore in a tweet that he would campaign for anyone with “a pulse” who could defeat her.

Adopting a motto of “seniority matters,” Ms. Murkowski made the case to Alaska voters that her bipartisan friendships, experience and clout on Capitol Hill empowered her to help bring federal funds and infrastructure projects to her state.

“Thank you, Alaska,” said Ms. Murkowski in a statement. “I am honored that Alaskans—of all regions, backgrounds and party affiliations—have once again granted me their confidence to continue working with them and on their behalf in the U.S. Senate.”

Her re-election effort got a boost from the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC run by allies of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), which spent more than $6 million to oppose Ms. Tshibaka.

Ms. Tshibaka, endorsed by Mr. Trump and the Alaska Republican Party, complained that Ms. Murkowski had become a Washington insider and that her centrist policy positions were out of step with a state that Mr. Trump won by 10 percentage points in 2020.

Ms. Tshibaka congratulated Ms. Murkowski on her victory, but she said the new election system has been frustrating to many Alaskans, calling it “indisputably designed as an incumbent-protection program, and it clearly worked as intended.”

She also blamed allies of Mr. McConnell for spending millions of dollars in the race against her.

In Alaska, the majority of voters in the state aren’t affiliated with any major party. Registered Republicans make up about 24% of the electorate, and about 13% are Democrats.

The state’s new election rules enabled Ms. Murkowski to advance to the general election as one of four finalists in a nonpartisan primary.

Those rules also allow voters to rank the four finalists in order of preference on their general election ballots. If no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, there is an instant runoff: The weakest candidate is eliminated and the second-choice votes on those ballots are distributed to the remaining candidates. The process is repeated as necessary until one candidate gets a majority.

Ms. Murkowski won during the Senate race’s second round of elimination, when 29,078 votes for the Democratic nominee, Pat Chesbro, were transferred to the remaining two candidates, Ms. Murkowski and Ms. Tshibaka. Of those, 20,543 went to Ms. Murkowski and just 2,209 to Ms. Tshibaka. More than 6,200 were exhausted, meaning the voter had not ranked any candidate after Ms. Chesbro.

Like Ms. Murkowski, Ms. Peltola stressed her bipartisan bona fides—including what she described as a warm friendship with Ms. Palin, dating back to her time in the state legislature.

Ms. Palin made a surprise return to the campaign trail earlier this year, encouraged to run by Mr. Trump. She hadn’t run for office since 2008, when the late Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) chose her as the first Republican woman to be nominated as vice president.

After that White House bid failed, Ms. Palin resigned as governor in 2009. She had a year and a half left in her term, but she said she felt she could make greater change outside of government.

During the campaign, Mr. Begich criticized Ms. Palin’s absence from Alaska’s political process and accused her of chasing celebrity out of state.

Mr. Begich comes from a prominent family of Democratic politicians in Alaska, but he ran as a pro-business conservative, and was endorsed by the Alaska GOP.

Ms. Palin, in turn, attacked Mr. Begich as “Negative Nick” and called for him to drop out of the race.

Ms. Peltola focused her campaign on fish conservation and abortion rights. Polls show a majority of Alaskans believe that abortion should be legal most or all of the time.

“We built a coalition in Alaska that transcended party, urban and rural divides, age, job, and more,” Ms. Peltola tweeted on Tuesday. “That coming together is going to be how we make Alaska better for all of us.”

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https://twitter.com/ronfilipkowski/status/1596594986711416832?s=46&t=8hz0bCdL_atQhGETec0MVw

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That is amazing

Something just hit him while watching commercials during football today.

A few weeka ago, someone, i think in this thread, on her constant quest to create non-existing risks from vote-by-mail states, made a claim similar to the following:

“People can vote after the ‘postmark by date’ deadline by using a postage machine at home on the ballot prior to the deadline.”

Did anyone pointbout that is not how postmarks work?
That the postmark is a ‘mark’ added by the postiffice and not something that you do at home with those postage machines.

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I don’t really understand how postmarks work with metered mail, and maybe not even what metered mail is. Just looking at some recent envelopes I’ve received here. The four I found:

  1. Looks metered (from Pacific Life, BTW). Includes $0.49 postage, with a date, clearly part of the metering 11/17/2022. No cancellation, like a traditional stamp would have had (some stamped mail I get no longer has cancellations, but none of the current batch were like that). There is a computer printed “XX18-18-22 LA CA 900” about 1/2 inch below the metering. Maybe that would count as a postmark.

  2. Metered. I’m not sure from whom. Include $0.49 postage with a date of Sep 06 2022. Presumably the metering date. That one has a computer printed “09-07-22” partly over the metering. Probably a postmark. (Yes, I called these “recent”, but that really means "not yet recycled, maybe being saved to jot notes on.)

  3. Not metered (with a postage amount or date). From State Street Bank. “US POSTAGE PAID Broadside Mail” I also see nothing resembling a date added by the Postal Service

  4. Much like 3, and I don’t even know who it was from. “Presorted First-Class MAIL US POSTAGE PAID MDG”. No date from either the mailer or the postal service.

What does any of that mean? Not much as far as I can tell. Presumably that some envelopes have no postmark. Perhaps any envelopes that could be use for returning ballots would have postmarks.

I can hope that any places that have “postmarked by election day” rules would have the full that anything received by election day must have been postmarked by election day, even if no postmark can be found.

I don’t think you can run mail in ballot (which doesn’t require postage) through “metered mail” and expect to be handled properly.

For ordinary mail, the post office typically does not cancel metered mail, since (for ordinary mail) the cancel mark’s primary function is to mark a stamp as “used”.

However, for certain types of mail, like ballots and tax returns, the USPS recognizes the cancel mark also serves as a timestamp for receipt of mail by the postal service. Their policies call for canceling every such piece of mail, even if it otherwise wouldn’t be canceled. Admittedly, they probably aren’t perfect in that regard.

I also suspect, but don’t actually know, that election officials have some rule in place about how to adjudicate mailed ballots that lack a cancellation.

Referencing a meter as a mode for mail-in voter fraud is a red herring.

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It’s kind of weird that you’re bringing this up out of nowhere, but this is just simply not true.

I’ve used the one at work and it absolutely has the dated postmark on it. I believe all of the meters do, although conceivably I’m wrong about that.

Note that I’m not talking about the print-at-home postage stamps that you print on any old printer. Those are not postmarked. But if you rent an actual postage meter it does. You can clearly see the dates postmark on this sample from USPS. Here’s a marketing brochure for a particular company that rents postage meters and if you scroll through you can again see that clearly the dated postmark prints out.

Possibly not, although it’s certainly not something I’ve remotely tried.

If it was “no postage required” and you metered it, as long as the metered part was legible I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. USPS will deliver stuff with excess postage on it, no problem. It’s pretty common for folks to send postcards with postage for letters, as an example. And I believe they even advise you that if it’s close you should pay the higher rate. Like wedding invitations are often pushing up against the 1 oz limit and any bridal magazine will tell you to just pay the 2 oz rate to be on the safe side.

I think the issue would be if they couldn’t read it.

I assume you could just stick the ballot in a different envelope and mail it in as normal. A girlfriend who is still a US citizen but living in Europe has to mail hers back in a different envelope than the one that is provided, but according to county records they have always received it and recorded her as voting.

Yeah, I mentioned in my original post on the topic that I doubt it’s a big problem currently. It was an offhand comment that the postmarks don’t say as much about when something was mailed as the general public tends to believe.

That’s very similar to what I see on the two envelopes I have at home that have metered postage with a date printed by the meter. Neither of my envelopes has the city and state, as shown in the marketing brochure, but each has the 5-digit zip code which is equivalent or nearly equivalent. But while the marketing brochure shows that, it doesn’t describe it as the “postmark” and AFAIK it might or might not be considered an official postmark.