Bastion of Democracy

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Finally, this past Saturday, four whole days after the election, Florida was called for Obama.

This is, of course, after waiting nine hours to vote, some voters finally leaving the polls at 1:00 in the morning.

Say nothing of over 340,000 ballots yet to be counted in Arizona, of course (unsurprisingly, many of those votes were cast in infamous Maricopa County).

This is in addition to instances of voter suppression and intimidation, from voter i.d. laws that had to be struck down to SCOTUS poised to possibly strike-down the heart of the Voting Rights Act.

An Oregon poll worker was fired for allegedly changing ballots, filling-in blanks with Republican candidates.

In some areas, Dems were told to vote in the wrong place.

Voting machines switched votes, as voters watched, from Obama votes to Romney.

Flyers were mailed to Ohio voters, giving not only the wrong precinct information (do people not proofread???), but the wrong election date.

I could go on, but the point is made.  For all of our bluster about freedom and democracy, we're not that good at running elections.  Waiting in line until 1:00 in the morning is not something a Secretary of State should be proud of.  The fact that votes were being counted almost a week or more than a week after the election is something to be ashamed of.  I hate to quote Aaron Sorkin, but he's right in this fictitious TV speech:

And with a straight face, you're going to tell students that America's so starspangled awesome that we're the only ones in the world who have freedom? Canada has freedom, Japan has freedom, the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Australia, Belgium has freedom. Two hundred seven sovereign states in the world, like 180 of them have freedom.

Until we get our shit together as "the world's foremost democracy" maybe we should STFU about it.  I understand a little mayhem; it's one day where all of a sudden a bazillon people all show up to do the same thing.  But my heavens, some of this shit is orchestrated.

I submit to you, in case you forgot, PA House Majority Leader Michael Turzai:

Let's get our shit together and have serious conversations about how we get people to vote, about how we encourage people to vote, about non-partisan redistricting, about voter registration.


Bob 4:24 PM  

In Michigan the law requires your driver's license to be the same as your voter registration. (This law was passed to disenfranchise students at MSU in 2000)

We also have an voter-ID requirement. (albeit one that is actually constitutional)

We have the federal motor-voter act, which requires DMV’s to register people to vote.

Knowing the above, we should get rid of voter registration with the exception of those who don’t already have ID. You should just be automatically registered to vote. There is no reason for registration any longer.

Smitty 10:06 AM  

I agree with that. The assumption ought to be that as soon as you turn're a voter. Just show up.

steves 8:08 PM  

There were problems in other places, too. How about the GOP election observers that were illegally removed in Philadelphia and Obama received 99% of the vote? There also seem to be instances where more than a 100% of the registered voters voted and reports of overseas military ballots being systematically denied.

This problem does not appear to be just the mean old Republicans disenfranchising voters. Time will tell how much validity these claims have and I am certainly not saying this election was wrong.

Bob 8:16 AM  

"How about the GOP election observers that were illegally removed in Philadelphia and Obama received 99% of the vote?"


"This problem does not appear to be just the mean old Republicans disenfranchising voters. Time will tell..."

Time will tell if this lame "both sides do it" meme continues to allow Republicans to get away with murder.

We haven't seen an effort by Democrats in statewide office to systematically disenfranchise people (especially minorities) since the Democrats were the southern racists.

steves 11:40 AM  


Problems at Philadelphia polling locations.


Astronomical vote for Obama.

Wow, that seems like the kind of voting that happens in 3rd world countries.

Yes, time will tell if anything comes from this, but I doubt the media is all that interested, nor do I think a protracted fight over this issue will do the country any good.

That being said, sticking your head in the sand and pretending this is a problem for only the GOP isn't all that helpful to any kind of meaningful election reform.

As for voter ID, which I don't really support, it is unclear whether it really has any kind of meaningful effect.

Bob 12:16 PM  

Because the New Black Panther Party's actions is somehow equal to what multiple state-wide authorities have done to disenfranchise voters? Your false equivalence is troubling and I must question your character by mentioning it.

And yes, it is VERY possible that Romney received zero votes in all black precincts. That is what happens when a party runs racist campaigns for 40 years.

steves 1:22 PM  

Are you fucking serious? Please say you are kidding.

Please show me where I said, "everyone was doing this." I just pointed out other problems. No where did I even suggest the Democratic Party was behind the problems I mentioned. My only point for bringing them up was that the original post was somewhat partisan.

Smitty 2:01 PM  

I'll happily grant that the examples I linked are skewed to one side, and am happy to acknowledge that maybe in some cases, "the other side does it" (though in agreement with Bob that it's a false equivalence, though I know you well enough to not want to question your character!); in fact, that "both sides do it" serves to support my point: that as the Giant Bastion of Freedom and Democracy, we do a whole lot to be really bad at it.

Smitty 2:09 PM  

One party in particular passes laws specifically for the purpose of limiting opportunities for people to vote. We can flame-war all day about whether or not those laws purposefully target voters for the other party. I think they do, but that's actually not my point.

We should be passing laws that support voting. The push of late seems to be all about who can't vote and why and how. Why is that good for voter turnout and democracy? The more hoops one has to jump through, including needlessly long lines and identification hoops (even as simple as Michigan's restrictive law that is targeted at college kids and seasonal workers), the more people don't vote.

The answer isn't "they're lazy," as some would suggest (nobody on this blog, I hope!). It should be "why are we working to making voting a pain in the ass?

Let's do another post on another day about race, voting, and the effect of laws recently proposed and passed by certain state legislatures. I feel like that's a whole other discussion about how an entire race of people who just got to vote a handful of years ago perceive laws like voter i.d. laws. But again, I want to focus here on ideas about opening voting up, not restricting it. I linked the examples I linked because they illustrate that we suck, largely, at voter turnout and access to voting, which flies in the face of who we think we are.

Bob 3:12 PM  

Smitty's post listed a whole bunch of attempts to limit voting or not count votes. These acts were all done by elected officals of the same party. Yes they cheat and yes they did so along racial lines.

So when someone links to a story about the Black Panthers and says it happened other places too, what is someone supposed to think you mean by it?

steves 3:18 PM  

I agree, Smitty. The GOP does a ton of bad shit and supports plenty of asinine policies. I am not suggesting that both parties are equally as guilty. I honestly don't know enough about this topic to speak intelligently on what really happened.

I agree that we should be making it easier to vote. We suck. There is no reason why we shouldn't have higher voter turnout.

steves 3:27 PM  

Bob, I don't know what was behind the stories I linked. I can't speak to any motivations.

steves 3:28 PM  

It means that Romney wasn't the only beneficiary of voting irregularities.

steves 7:10 PM  

I should add the word allegedly, since some of those sources were not verified.

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