An Open Letter to Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred

Commissioner Manfred,

I love baseball.  Between playing, coaching, and watching baseball I have probably spent more time at a ballfield than anywhere else in the world.  Unfortunately, today I am distraught.  I love my country, too, but it is in danger. 

Our founding fathers understood that people are better off when they are free to decide how to live their lives without government interference.  Therefore, they had the brilliant idea of setting up a system where the power comes from the people up to the government, not the other way around.  We do that by voting for people to represent us.  As you know, we just had a contentious, disputed election where many states accepted ballots without knowing who or where they came from.  This is not a baseless claim.  Most states did not verify who cast the ballots that were counted.  This is a fact.  Whether you agree or disagree with the results, there is now a large portion of Americans who distrust our election results, and for good reason.  Check out this funny video I made that shows why we need safeguards to secure our voting.

The state of Georgia is trying to restore faith in our elections by simply asking that we verify who is casting the ballots.  Your decision to take away the All-Star Game that was supposed to be held this summer in Atlanta is punishing the state of Georgia for trying to protect our ability to choose our government officials at the ballot box and trust the results.  Not only is it unfair, but you justified your decision by falsely claiming that the new law was meant to suppress voting.  The people who make this claim say that requiring voters to show identification somehow prevents black people from voting.  I don’t lightly throw around the term “racist” like many now do, but to say that black people are too dumb to show ID is definitely racist.  If you truly want to honor the memory of “Home Run King” Hank Aaron, you need to turn away from the idea that blacks are inferior to whites, not embrace it like you are by furthering this lie about ID. 

To be perfectly honest, when I hear that somebody is against voters showing ID to cast their ballot, I assume that the person just wants their side to be able to cheat and assure a political victory.  It really makes me question your judgment when the best excuse you can come up with is in essence that no, you don’t want to cheat.  You just think that only white people are smart enough to get an ID.

The part that really has me upset is that I don’t know what to do.  Baseball is the greatest game ever invented.  Many of the landmark moments in my life can be connected to what was going on in baseball at the time.  Since you, the Commissioner of Baseball, have decided that cheating in elections is not something to prevent, many people are boycotting the game.  Either you are for cheating, which is certainly possible considering the slap on the wrist that the Astros got, or you are a racist who thinks blacks are inferior. 

Whichever it is, I have to decide what to do, and here is how I am going to rationalize watching baseball this season.  The game on the field is still great.  The people around it may not be, but it has been that way before.  You may think that black people are not intelligent enough to show identification to vote, but until Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, blacks were not even allowed to play in the majors, so you are not the first racist to be involved with baseball.  If the game survived them, it can survive you.

Now, I want to give you the opportunity to defend yourself against charges of racism, but the only other possibility is just as bad.  If you do think blacks are fully capable of getting an ID and are still against requiring ID to vote, then you just don’t want us to know where ballots are coming from in our elections so that cheating is easier.  There is, fortunately, an easy way to tell which you actually believe.  If you really think asking for ID discriminates against blacks, you will tell all of the ballparks in Major League Baseball that they are no longer allowed to ask for ID at beer stands.  After all, if it’s racist to require ID to vote, it is racist to require ID to buy beer. 

This tells me that you likely are just using race as an excuse for looking the other way when cheating happens.  The Democrats and the Astros thank you.

Sincerely,

Steven Connally

Voting and Online Dating Similarities

“I think I’m going to be sick,” I said to my friend as we sat down to eat.  It was the early 2000’s and I was part of the first generation of online daters.  Back then there was no Tinder or Bumble.  We used AOL and talked to girls through instant messages.  I looked over at the girl behind the counter.  Her name tag matched the girl to whom I had been talking.  Her voice matched what I had heard on the phone, but it wasn’t the same girl.  I had seen a picture of her.  She was a thin brunette with large breasts and a seductive look on her face.  The girl who had given us our food was about 5 feet tall and had to be over 200 pounds.  I didn’t want to accept it, but I knew the truth.  The girl had pretended to be somebody she was not.  This phenomenon has become so common that there is even a word for it now – catfishing.  I learned an important lesson that day.  You have no idea that a person is who they claim to be until you verify it. 

I once again have that sick feeling and this time it is far more important.  President Trump finished election night with massive leads in almost all of the swing states.  Unfortunately, many states allow votes to be counted that we have less verification of who they are coming from than I had with that girl.  These mail-in ballots could have been sent in by anybody.  In fact, I pick up the mail from the mailbox at my apartment, so I easily could have taken my roommate’s ballot, filled it out, and sent it in to be counted.  I looked at the ballot.  There is no verification process that would have prevented me from doing that.  Most states have made catfishing the ballot box easier than catfishing a naïve, girl-crazed boy. 

We have to fix our voting system so that we know who we are dealing with.  I got better at it when it came to online dating, so we can use some of the same concepts.  Generally, some sort of visual proof is necessary to figure out if a person is who they say they are.  They didn’t have reverse web searches back then, and even now those do not always find the picture you’re looking for.  Some guys would just assume that if a girl sent pictures that were too attractive she was fake, but that is not always the case, and you don’t want to miss out on a girl who really is the hot girl in the pictures.  I’m looking at you, Minnesota Megan. 

The first verification method I experimented with was to get multiple pictures instead of trusting just one.  It has the benefit of preventing a girl (or maybe even a guy) from grabbing any old photo off the internet and saying it is them. It is an improvement, but you can find multiple pictures of the same girl all over the web, so it is also an easily beatable system.  What you have to do is ask the person to send you real-time, spontaneously posed pictures.  For example, you would tell the girl to send you a picture of her posing with her pinky to her mouth like Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movies.  Then tell her to send a picture of her balancing a book on her head.  Generally, if she can send you those pictures immediately, she is really the girl photographed. 

We can use that method to verify voters, but it poses many logistical problems.  We need to trust the people doing the verification, so each voting precinct would have to have people supporting both candidates there for the verification process.  It would be a tedious and lengthy undertaking, as every single mail-in voter would need to be contacted, one at a time, to confirm their identity matches the name on the ballot, pose for the random pictures and text or email them in, and confirm that the vote on the ballot is the correct vote that they sent in.  As you can see, the randomly posed picture solution would be very difficult to pull off without it taking years.

Fortunately, I eventually figured out the one foolproof way to know that you are speaking to the person in the pictures.  The only way to be sure is to physically meet the girl in person and match the picture to the actual human being.  I know it’s a crazy concept, but I haven’t looked directly at a girl and been fooled into thinking she was someone else since Hayley Mills.  How can we put this approach into practice in our elections?  Easy.  All we have to do is require people to vote in person on Election Day so that we can match them to the photo identification that they provide. 

A very smart lawyer that I know basically told me that because Democrats made fraudulent votes nearly impossible to prove, those votes are legal and we shouldn’t say that they are fraudulent.  Fine.  Let’s just say that the Democrats are catfishing us.  He also implied that the only thing we can do is try to get the Democrats who are in power to change the fraudulent system that got them into power in the first place.  Good luck with that.  I say we need to fight and fight now.  If we don’t we may end up in a four-year relationship with Joe Biden, which would certainly be the end of our love affair with liberty.

Can We Trust Our Elections? Grading Each State

There should be an area of agreement between all reasonable people in the United States.  For our country to survive we must be able to trust the integrity of our elections.  If elected officials are abusing their power like they are in places like California right now, we need to have the ability to vote those people out of office or else there is no check against tyranny.  When dishonest politicians are able to steal elections, they will. 

Both Democrats and Republicans say that they want honest and fair elections.  Both parties have complained about the integrity of our recent and upcoming elections.  Unfortunately, they have different ideas about what is taking away the trust in our elections.  We heard a lot from Democrats about Russian interference in the 2016 election.  In fact, they have spent much of the last 4 years investigating it over and over again.  Many of you may wonder how they allege that the Russians changed the outcome in 2016.  Did they somehow hack our voting systems and change the vote counts?  Did they fly in Russians to swing states where they cast illegal votes?  No.  The alleged Russian interference is that they said mean things about Hillary Clinton on Facebook.  While that may be frustrating to Hillary fans, it does not actually make it easier for anybody to cast fraudulent votes.  Plus, how many of you would change your vote because some stranger said something mean on Facebook?

Republicans ask a different question about voting that we should all agree is important.  Do we know who is casting the votes in our elections and that no shenanigans are happening with those votes?  If we don’t it opens the door to voter fraud, stolen elections, and the end of our government of the people, by the people, and for the people.  Do not fall for the media line that very few people get convicted of voter fraud so nobody does it.  That’s like saying a Las Vegas club that doesn’t check ID’s has no underage people inside because no underage people got caught. 

How can we be more confident about who is voting and that they are correctly counted?  The only way to be sure is to require in person voting, on Election Day, with matching photo ID to verify that the person is who they say they are.  It’s easy and it’s common sense.  Unfortunately, not everybody wants to have honest elections. 

Each state sets up their own election laws, so some are far more reliable than others.  Some are unwisely pushing for mail-in voting, with nobody there to verify that the person who filled out the ballot is the actual person that the ballot belongs to, and with no guarantee that the ballot will be delivered or counted.  In fact, there is already an investigation into military mail-in ballots that were apparently opened and thrown into the garbage in Pennsylvania.  The only time a mail-in ballot should be accepted is for overseas military personnel.  All 50 states now allow some form of mail-in voting, so nobody gets a perfect score on preventing voter fraud, but some states at least have a few precautions set up. 

Unfortunately, other states not only lack rules to prevent election shenanigans, but they come up with ideas to make cheating so easy that the Houston Astros wish they had thought of it.  “Ballot harvesting” is the shady practice of allowing a third party to collect ballots and deliver them to be counted.  This has all of the negatives of mail-in voting with the added problem of having partisan people targeting which ballots to bring in.  In California this practice caused congressional districts that had always voted one way to flip.  In many of the cases the returns had one candidate ahead at the end of election night only to swing wildly to the other side the next day.  Whenever the results from election night change like that it raises major red flags as to the integrity of those votes.

It’s pretty unbelievable, but some states do not even require you to show identification when you go to vote.  That means we have no idea who is casting votes in those states.  Here in California, if I walked into a polling place and said my name is Fred Johnson, then I’m Fred Johnson.  Apparently in Pennsylvania their Secretary of State said that they would not even throw out a ballot if the signature doesn’t match.

What we need is a report card to know which states have safe enough elections to trust the outcome.  Below you will find it, with a grade based on how many precautions are set up to make sure that each vote has been properly cast by the correct, legal voter. 

  StateVoting Only on Election DayVoting In Person OnlyID Required to Verify Who Is VotingBallot Harvesting and Other Notable Rules  Grade
    Alabama    YesNo, but an excuse is required    YesAbsentee ballots require witnesses and must be received before the close of polling    A
  Alaska  No  No  Yes, but non-photo ID acceptedA special needs voter can have a representative return a ballot  C  
    Arizona    No    No  Yes, but non-photo ID acceptedFamily member, household member, or caregiver can return ballots    C
  Arkansas  NoNo, but an excuse is required  YesBallot harvesting allowed, but limit two ballots per authorized agent  B
California  NoNo, and everyone receives a mailed ballot  NoBallot harvesting allowed  F
Colorado NoNo, all mail-in election NoBallot harvesting allowed F
  Connecticut  YesNo, but an excuse is required  Yes, but non-photo ID acceptedOthers can return votes for disabled voters, with restrictions   B
  DelawareYes, but early voting passed for 2022  NoID is requested, but voters can sign an affidavit to avoid showing IDUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed   D
  Florida  No  No  YesOthers can return votes for disabled voters, with restrictions  C
  Georgia   No  No  YesOthers can return votes for disabled voters, with restrictions  C
    Hawaii    NoNo, all mail-in electionID is requested, but voters can recite their date of birth and address insteadUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed    F
  Idaho  No  NoID is requested, but voters can sign an affidavit to avoid showing IDUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed  F
Illinois No No NoBallot harvesting allowed F
    Indiana    NoNo, but an excuse is required, and coronavirus is not a valid excuse    YesMail ballots must be received before the close of polling    B
  Iowa  No  NoYes, or another voter can vouch for their identityBallot harvesting allowed  D
Kansas No No YesBallot harvesting allowed D
  Kentucky  YesNo, but an excuse is required  YesOthers can return votes for disabled voter, with restrictions   A
    Louisiana    NoNo, but an excuse is required, and coronavirus is not a valid excuse ID is requested, but voters can sign an affidavit to avoid showing IDMail ballots require a witness signature and must be received before the close of polling    B
  Maine  No  No  NoBallot harvesting allowed, but limited to five at a time  F
Maryland No No NoBallot harvesting allowed F
    Massachusetts    No    No    NoBallots may be delivered by a family member or from a healthcare facility    F
      Michigan      No      NoID is requested, but voters can sign an affidavit to avoid showing IDFamily member or certified election assistant can deliver ballots.  Ballots must be received by 6 pm on Election Day    D
  Minnesota  No  No   NoDesignated agent can return up to three ballots  F
   Mississippi    YesNo, but an excuse is required      YesUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed.  Mail ballots require witnesses and must be received before the close of polling    B
    Missouri     Yes      No    Yes, but non-photo is acceptedBallots can be returned by a family member or a team of election authorities and require witness signatures    B
    Montana    No    No    Yes, but non-photo is acceptedLaw limited who could return ballots and only six per person, but a judge has held up the law    D
    Nebraska  No  No  NoOthers can return up to two ballots except for campaign workers   D
  Nevada  NoNo, and everyone receives a mailed ballot  NoBallots may be returned by a family member  F
New Hampshire    YesNo, but an excuse is requiredIf ID is not presented, the voter signs a challenged voter affidavit and votes a regular ballot. After the election a mailing is sent and the voter must sign and return it; if it is not returned, the voter will be investigated for voter fraud.Family members, nursing home staff, and residential care staff can return up to four ballots which must be received before the close of polling    B   
  New Jersey  NoNo, and everyone receives a mailed ballot  NoAn authorized messenger can return up to three ballots  F
  New Mexico  No  No  NoA caregiver or immediate family member can return ballots F
  New York  NoNo, but an excuse is required  NoUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed   F
North Carolina    No    NoNo, although a voter ID law was passed by voters, it was blocked by an Obama appointed judge. Ballots require witness signature and may be returned by a near relative or legal guardian    F
 North Dakota    No    No    YesOthers can deliver up to four ballots, cannot be a candidate or be compensated    C
  Ohio  No  NoYes, but non-photo is acceptedBallots can be returned by a family member   D
 Oklahoma    No    No  Yes, but non-photo is acceptedCopy of ID, notarized ballot, or two witness signatures required    C
Oregon NoNo, all mail-in election NoBallot harvesting allowed F
      Pennsylvania      No      No      NoIf voter becomes too sick to vote a representative, deputy sheriff or constable can deliver an emergency absentee ballot    F
  Rhode Island  No  No  YesUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed  D
South Carolina    YesNo, but an excuse is required, and coronavirus is not a valid excuse      YesBallots may be returned by others except candidates or paid campaign workers and require witness signatures    A
 South Dakota     No       NoID is requested, but voters can sign an affidavit to avoid showing IDPhoto ID required for a mail ballot.  An authorized messenger may deliver ballots, but if more than one they must notify the person in charge of the election   D      
  Tennessee      NoNo, and a judge ordered them to allow no-excuse absentee voting      YesUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed    D
    Texas     NoNo, but an excuse is requiredPhoto ID requested. Voters who do not possess an acceptable form of photo ID and cannot obtain one, may present a supporting form of ID and execute a Reasonable Impediment DeclarationPhoto ID required for a mail ballot.  A household member, relative or person lawfully assisting a voter who is disabled or cannot read the ballot may return the mail ballot    C
  Utah  NoNo, all mail-in election  NoUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed  F
  Vermont  NoNo, and everyone receives a mailed ballot  NoUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed  F
    Virginia    No        No    Yes, but non-photo acceptedWitness signature required for mail ballots.  A designated representative can return ballot for a voter who is incapacitated or hospitalized    C
  Washington  NoNo, all mail-in election  NoUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed   F
 West Virginia  NoNo, but an excuse is requiredYes, or be identified by a poll workerAnyone can return up to two ballots  B
  Wisconsin      No      No      YesUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed. Photo ID required for a mail ballot and witness signature required    C
  Wyoming  No  No  NoUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed  F