- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 10, 2020

Give Mayor Muriel Bowser big credit: She’s underscoring the crucial importance of voting in the republic.

Other city and state leaders should take a page from her Election 2020 handbook.

Miss Bowser wants voters where they should be on Nov. 3. At the polls.

Political snipers first, of course.

So instead of calling the global menace COVID-19, why not call it the Trump-Pelosi pandemic? According to revelations from hard-charging author Bob Woodward, they both fed the beasties already at the troth: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Feb. 24 urged everyone to visit San Francisco’s Chinatown and party like it’s 1999 — uh, 2020 — to celebrate the Year of the Rat. Oh, and to allay fears over the coronavirus.

While we’re at it, let’s be open for a day of reckoning on voter fraud and/or suppression. Future facts, as things stand now, that we should resign ourselves to: Either President Trump and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy are sabotaging mail-in voting opportunities, or conspiracy theorists have finally smothered democracy.

Miss Bowser is seemingly bucking political trends to stick with voting tradition.

At a presser on Wednesday, the mayor said she still encourages absentee and mail-in balloting. Then she went home to the tried-and-true, saying the city has to be prepared for voters who want to cast ballots in person. At the polls.

“We have to be prepared if they say, ‘No, thank you. I don’t want option A or B. I want to vote in person.’ Waiting for three hours is no way to conduct an election in the nation’s capital,” the mayor said.

Miss Bowser wants all 144 polling places open on Election Day for traditional in-person voting, and she’s broadened the city’s get-out-the-vote efforts by partnering with Capital One Arena and Nationals Park for additional on-site voting. Both facilities are considered “supercenters.”

Such “supercenters” are needed after residents complained in June about the mismanagement and long lines at polls in June, as the mayor pointed in her press conference.

As the titular head of the D.C. Democratic Party, Miss Bowser and her brothers and sisters in blue want to be recognized for running Donald Trump out of town. The mayor knows that to accomplish that task voters’ ballots must be tallied before the clock strikes midnight: Doing that will likely get the District on the nightly news scrolls and the mayor of the nation’s capital on live TV.

Miss Bowser has long understood that the District is a constituent-centric city, and in-person voting is a tradition that must be sustained if that’s what voters want.

There’s no denying Republicans vs. Democrats is the title game on Election Day. According to the D.C. Board of Elections, there 500,312 registered voters at the end of August. Of them, 384,254 are Democrats, 28,593 are Republicans and 80,568 are independents.

Yet if Miss Bowser pulls off her plan for in-person voting, she’ll be paying homage to her parents — and to Dorothy Height, John Lewis, C.T. Vivian and so many others who literally marched on Washington and demanded the right to vote.

March on tradition, Miss Bowser, March on.

Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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