My husband and I both have mail-in ballots sent to us for every election. We are both disabled, and that makes it nearly impossible for us to vote in person. I think it is wonderful that California makes it so easy for people like us to cast their vote.


My husband is legally blind, which means he would not be able to see the tiny little screen on electronic, in-person, voting machines. The mail-in ballot has larger font, and he can take as long as he likes to fill it out at home.

I have fibromyalgia, which is a neurological pain disorder that can cause exhaustion and muscle cramps that lead to incredibly painful spasms. There’s no possible way I could stand in line, for hours, waiting to cast my vote. Fibromyalgia also causes “brain fog” which can lead to confusion and cloudy thoughts. I prefer to fill out my ballot while clearheaded – which I am right now.

In addition, I have allergies, which is an auto-immune disorder. The 2020 Presidential General Election is taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic. I only leave the house when I absolutely have to (for doctor/dentist appointments). My chances of catching COVID-19, from some selfish super-spreader who refuses to wear a mask or social distance, is greater than that of most people.

Opening the Envelope

The envelope contained my ballot, a small voter information guide, and an envelope to put the completed ballot into. There was also a yellow piece of paper with instructions about how to fill out the ballot.

The yellow paper has an “I Voted”. sticker attached to it. The voter information guide has a page on the back that explains why my ballot may not be counted. In short, it gives voters clear information about important parts of filling out the ballot and a reminder to turn in the completed ballot before the deadline.

Those who forget to sign their envelope will get a letter telling them about it. So will those whose signatures did not match their signatures on file. The point is to get these voters to come to the County Clerk’s Office to fix those errors.

The 2020 Presidential General Election officially happens for in-person voting in November 3, 2020. Filling out my ballot today means I have plenty of time to go to the County Clerk’s Office – masked up and without touching anything with my hands – to turn in my ballot.

How I Voted

I cast my vote for Joe Biden (President) and Kamala Harris (Vice President). People like me, and my husband, who have pre-existing conditions, need to vote for the candidates that are NOT trying to destroy the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).

I hope the people reading this blog are healthy. I hope their families are healthy. Keep in mind that if you, or any of your loved ones, tested positive for COVID-19, you have a pre-existing condition. You could lose your health care coverage if the Trump administration gets a second term, especially if the Supreme Court decides to abolish the Affordable Care Act.

To be honest, Joe Biden wasn’t my first choice for president. I found myself leaning towards both Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang because they both want single-payer insurance. We aren’t going to get that (at least, not immediately) with Joe Biden.

That said, I honestly believe Joe Biden will be motivated not only to protect
“Obamacare”, but also will work with congress to improve it. Of course, that would mean the Democrats kept majority in the House and flipped the Senate. I believe this is possible.

To my surprise, there were a total of six options to vote for in the “President and Vice President” part of the ballot. The Republicans have Trump and Pence. There were also candidates from: the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, the Peace and Freedom Party, and the American Independent Party.

In the “United States Representative” category, I voted for Salud Carbajal. He is a Democratic member of Congress, and the Representative for my district. His values match mine. He believes everyone has a right to accessible and affordable health care.

In the “State Senator” category, I voted for John Laird, a Democrat who served as Secretary for Natural Resources, wants to tackle climate change, and is interested in establishing universal healthcare coverage.

The Republican who is running against him started her statement with: “I’m running for State Senate because our state control is out of control”. She then went on to pick on our Governor Gavin Newsom. I’m not a fan of bullies, so I won’t vote for her.

The next part is “Member of the State Assembly”. Here’s where things get volatile. My husband and I received 11 pieces of propaganda mail that either uplifts one of these candidates or attacks them. Here are my choices:

Dawn Addis is a Democrat. She is interested in protecting our climate, combating and preventing wildfires, supporting students and teachers, helping businesses recover, and supports a medical science-based approach to public health and responding to COVID-19. She also will protect women’s rights and ensure access to reproductive healthcare freedom.

She is also a teacher. She has taught special education and bilingual education in local public schools since 2001, and has a bachelors degrees in art education and Spanish and a masters degree in special education from San Francisco State University. She holds four different teaching credentials.

She and I have some things in common. I’m a former teacher who has a bachelors degree in education (focusing on art) and have spent a lot of time teaching in special education and bilingual education classrooms. Few people are cut out to meet the challenges of those groups of students, and I believe this means she will do well as a state senator. I voted for Dawn Addis.

What did the propaganda from Republican Jordan Cunningham say? He really wants to stop teenagers from vaping, and he likes to spread lies about Dawn Addis.

The next category is for the local school board. One person in the list does not appear in the little informational thing that came with the ballot, and I couldn’t find anything about him online.

The other two are teachers (or former teachers). One worked as a certified bilingual education teacher for twenty-five years. Again, she and I have something in common – I also worked in bilingual classrooms when I was teaching. I voted for Eve Dobler-Drew.

For Mayor, I voted for the woman who is the incumbent. I’ve always been very impressed by Heidi Harmon, and I like the decisions she has made as Mayor. She can often be seen riding a bicycle around town, which to me shows some commitment to considering the effects of climate change.

The first time I met Heidi Harmon was before she became Mayor. She helped organize a Bernie Sanders march at the Farmers’ Market. I remember how well she explained what we were about to do, while answering questions and remaining calm. These are good qualities for a Mayor to have.

The next section is for “Councilmember”. I can vote for “no more than two” of these people. My choices are: an event coordinator, a business consultant/coach, a retired educator/administrator, a historian/business owner, an incumbent, an entrepreneur, a dean/professor/lawyer, and a restaurant/hospitality manager.

Fortunately, all of them had a little “blurb” about themselves in the Voter Information Guide. Some of them mentioned their websites, which I looked up online and read.

One of the people I voted for was James Papp (Historian/Business Owner). From what I read, he appears to be the guy that wants to cut through the crap and actually get stuff done that matters to the people the city counsel represents.

He has stopped a developer’s plan to destroy the Chumach aqueduct. He is also big on affordable housing, which we desperately need. He also advocated for mask mandates (while the city council refused to do that). I think he is going to do great things on the city council.

The other person I voted for was Andrea “Andy” Pease (Incumbent). Her website has brief descriptions of the issues she has, and will continue to, focus on. Topics include climate action, equality and inclusion, housing affordability and more. These are all very important.

What made me decide to vote for her, however, was the people who have endorsed her. They include: my U.S. Representative Salud Carbajal (who I voted for on this ballot), Mayor Heidi Harmon (who I voted for on this ballot), and Planned Parenthood (who helped me get affordable birth control – Implanon/Nexplanon- when I needed it).

The next section is for “Commissioner of the Port San Luis Harbor”. My choices are between: a biologist, a retired chief business officer (CEO), a retired project manager/professional, a business owner/contractor/realtor/local school district employee, and an incumbent civil engineer.

I am allowed to vote for three of them. I chose to vote for two people.

I voted for Robert Vessley (incumbent/civil engineer) who has been working as commissioner for the past 3 1/2 years and appears to know what he’s doing. “Engineers are problem solvers”, he states. He also gave his business tenants a rent reduction during the COVID-19 shutdown.

I also voted for Scott R. Lathrop (retired – chief business officer). He is native to here with a ytt Northern Chumach ancestral connection to the Port. Personally, I think we need more indigenous people in charge of waterways and ports, because I believe they care more about it than old, rich, white men do.

You may want to read How I Voted on the Propositions in the 2020 California General Election.

How I Voted in the Presidential General Election 2020 is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.

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