Thursday, September 25, 2008

Running into Trees While Ignoring the Forest

So, while the banks of Wall Street gradually become the banks of, well, Wall Street (but paid for by you and me - where's my shares?), we in America are almost, but not quite watching the other subversion of our democracy - voter suppression by various Republican Party operatives around the country. Colorado Republican folk are telling out-of-state students that if their parents can claim them on their IRS taxes as dependents, they can't vote in Colorado. This of course, is what's known in the trade papers as a lie.

Meanwhile, Repugnicans in Michigan got their asses handed to them by the local courts when the Democrats pointed out that it wasn't right to use foreclosure notices as a basis for challenging the votes of Michigan voters. Just because someone has received a foreclosure notice does not mean that they no longer live at the address they're registered under. The Secretary of State of Ohio has already commanded her vote-counting folks to resist any temptation to do this sort of thing. Yay.

Diebold voting machines aren't letting people finish their voting unless they go really really fast, apparently. Voters receive a two-minute warning on the terminals, and are subsequently kicked off, requiring that they fill out a provisional ballot (which is less likely to be counted, because it's easier to challenge someone's vote if they don't know you're doing it).

Florida in 2000, Ohio and Florida in 2004 - where next? While the Repugs continue to scream vote fraud at the top of their lungs, actual stories about voter suppression tend to get dropped by the mainstream press; the papers that will publish these stories are either considered partisan hackery, or just too small to be noticed by anyone. 

Or (even worse) foreign.

You have to get mad, you have to get loud, you have to look, and you have to care. If you want your vote to count, demand that there be a paper trail that can be counted by a person. When Diebold (or other companies) talk about how expensive it is to add a printer that can print the equivalent of a receipt after you vote, ask them why it isn't so prohibitively expensive for pharmacies and grocery stores to attach them to their registers (a much more complicated procedure - take it from me). 

When your Republican friends talk about voter fraud, ask them to name a particular case. The ones I read about are excessive registration (ACORN got nailed for this sort of thing, but everyone seems to forget that ghost registrants don't vote - when was the last time Mickey Mouse voted for anyone?); or my other favorite, people who get deported for registering to vote who aren't citizens. Usman Ali is trying to rebuild his life in Pakistan after mistakenly filling out a voter registration card while in line at the local DMV, after living here legally for ten years, with his American wife and child. Mr. Ali was certainly a threat to democracy...

So look. Get pissed off. If they can do it to the Democrats, the Democrats can do it right back to the Repugs. You McCain voters out there - how would you like it if we targeted all the rich white folks and said they could vote on Wednesday, while us Dems would be voting on Tuesday?

1 comment:

Erik Hermansen said...

God, I hate Diebold. It's probably worth repeating repeatedly that they now peddle their voting machines under a new name, "Premier Election Solutions", because the old one got way too dirty.