In my old age I suffer from a disruption of sleep. I wake up in predawn hours and cannot get a full night’s rest. Such interruptions to my sleep play havoc with my energy and cause considerable discomfort in the ensuing day. 

On Oct. 30, I had one of my frequent early wake-ups at about 5 a.m. and could not resume my night’s slumber. I went to my computer and checked my e-mails. There was a message from the Cook County Clerk’s Office which read as follows:

Fred, your ballot has been received. We have received your voted ballot. However, no ballots are counted until Election Day when all ballot types are tallied. Thank you for participating in our democracy. If you wish to vote by mail in a future election, please apply at cookcountyclerk.com/vote by mail.

Sincerely,

Cook County Clerk’s Office

Mail Ballot Team

Reading the e-mail, I felt warmth spreading within me in spite of a chill in my room. The e-mail had a comforting, sweet reassurance in its message.

The persistent controversy in the news regarding early voting and voting by mail has me unnerved. There has been no evidence revealed of any vote fraud in voting by mail, after countless investigations. But President Trump continues to proclaim that voting by mail perpetuates vote fraud. The fact that he himself had voted by mail added confusion and cast additional doubt of the President’s veracity and his sincerity. In reality, the President and his appointed administration operatives seem to present a greater threat to our electoral process than the external meddling by Russia, Iran, and China.  

In August 2020, the Postmaster General of the United States, a Trump appointee, began to remove the blue U.S. Mail drop boxes from our streets. It raised suspicion that it was a plot to sabotage the operation of the U.S. Postal Service. It was an attempt to disrupt and possibly overload the processing and delivery of mail during the impending election. The resulting logjam of mail could delay mail deliveries to the County Clerk’s Offices, and late votes would become unacceptable. Impaired mail services also would slow the counting of votes and a timely determination of the election outcome thus would be postponed. Fortunately, that reform to U.S. Post Office operations was halted.

As a slight drowsiness began to envelop me, my insomnia subsided. I muttered, “Only in America,” and returned to bed. The reassurance that my vote would be counted was more soothing and hypnotic than the music of Brahm’s “Lullaby.”

Fred Natkevi

Oak Park

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