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Voting
'Wait, our state has mail voting. The forms are literally on the kitchen table.' 'Not now, I'm busy researching which channels have sharks in them.'
Title text: 'Wait, our state has mail voting. The forms are literally on the kitchen table.' 'Not now, I'm busy researching which channels have sharks in them.'

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by SHARK-FILLED BROKEN GLASS. Please mention here why this explanation isn't complete. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.

Cueball makes a series of hyperbolic statements to Megan about the trials he would be willing to endure in order to vote in the upcoming elections. Crawling across broken glass actually might have been necessary at some polling sites in the 2001 New York City mayoral election primary, which had been scheduled for September 11, 2001, had it not been postponed two weeks due to the terrorist attacks. Waiting until the sun burns out would result in his vote not being counted at all, both because it would be after the official deadline for ballots to be cast, and because there would no longer be anyone alive on earth. Although some states have been accused of trying to make voting inconvenient or unsafe, and XKCD has frequently inspired vandalism of Wikipedia, this comic has not yet led any states to prohibit wearing shoes at polling places. Megan tries in vain to convince him that his proposed actions are unnecessary or even impossible in their area. Unable to bring him back to reality, she closes the final panel by asking if he'd be willing to put off all this dangerous stuff until after voting, perhaps so that he will be alive long enough to vote.

The run-up to the 2020 United States elections, occurring on November 3, 2020 (less than 2 months from the time of the comic's publication), has been fraught with various overlapping worries about the legitimacy of the forthcoming result. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a new interest in voting by mail, at a historically large scale. See Postal voting in the United States for more detail.

Cueball seems to plan on voting in person (and, in the title text, he ignores Megan when she says mail-in voting is available). Broken glass, hot coals and sharks aside, Cueball faces the risk of contracting COVID-19 from being in close proximity to so many other voters.

The sun, currently a yellow dwarf star on the main sequence, will eventually expand into a red giant, then collapse down to a white dwarf when its fuel is exhausted. This will not happen for billions of years, as Megan points out.

In the title text, Megan tells Cueball that he does not need to go to such lengths to vote, as their state has mail-in voting (and sent forms, either to cast a ballot, or to apply for mail-in ballots). Cueball ignores her, and continues looking for shark-filled channels to swim through.

Transcript

Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[Cueball staring at his phone and talking to Megan.]
Cueball: I will crawl across broken glass to vote this year if I have to.
Megan: ...Why would there be broken glass?
Megan: There aren't even any big windows at our polling place.
[Cueball raising a finger triumphantly.]
Cueball: I will wait in line till the sun burns out.
Megan: Ok, some places have lines, which is awful, but it's usually pretty quick here?
Megan: Definitely not 5 billion years.
[Cueball raising a fist.]
Cueball: I will walk barefoot across hot coals to cast my ballot!
Megan: Where would you even find coals?
Megan: You can wear shoes to vote. This scenario makes no sense.
[Cueball raising a finger, and walking off-panel to the left]
Cueball: I will swim across a shark-filled channel!
Megan: That'll take you way outside our precinct.
Cueball: Then I'll swim back!
Megan: Can you do all this stuff after voting?


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