- Important: All passwords were reset on 06/15/11. Old passwords will no longer work. Click here to retrieve your password.
- Subscribe to Our Free Dewsletter
We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
Your Vote Might Count
Being Cavalier About Counting the Votes
There has been lots of talk during the 2012 election season about efforts to suppress the vote or, as I like to refer to it, “thinning the electorate.” The legislative requirement that voters validate their existence with documentary evidence was part of that effort, made supposedly less onerous by letting forgetful people fill out provisional ballots and then come back with the paper-work a few days later. Suspicious people assumed that the provisional ballots would, like the ballots of absentee voters never be counted, regardless of whether they’d be validated, because that’s what had always been done. Nobody bothered to count the ballots of absent voters, unless their number was large enough to make a difference in a tight race, because, speaking frankly, it would require a lot of work that people who couldn’t be bothered to show up in person weren’t worth.
Besides, rubber stamp voters who just followed the party line were largely considered a nuisance by the political operatives, who had to go through a lot of effort for what they considered to be entirely predictable results. Which they were in large part because a significant percentage of the vote, enough votes to make a difference, had always been thrown out, as a matter of course, because voters had made mistakes. See, it’s always the voters fault when votes don’t get counted.
When the State of Georgia was persuaded to go all electronic with voting machines, the Secretary of State was most conscientious and made lots of speeches to interested citizen groups, explaining that one of the main reasons for going electronic was because when paper ballots were used, they routinely threw out ten percent because of one mistake or another — like voting for three people instead of the two needed to fill available positions. Who knew that one mistake would cancel the whole ballot?
Some people might say that the documentary hoop is just another effort to introduce an “opportunity” for people to make mistakes and get their votes canceled. Others don’t get the problem because they can’t imagine why anyone would want to suppress the vote. It doesn’t occur to them that decades of hand-wringing over low voter participation were actually expressions of glee that only the habit-prone base had turned out and independent thinkers had been persuaded not to waste their time and stayed home. Who knew that the old guard had been working year in and year out, round the clock, to make voting a special event for some people (their base) and unattractive for most?
Who knew that the press and other purveyors of propaganda had a common interest in controlling the outcome of races, not just because they are into control, but because their business model is geared to the horse race and candidates contesting each other, rather than having to pay attention to what the voters actually do? Who knew that part of that business model demands a sudden end, a clear decision on election day, so they can go on to the next event, even though all the votes, absentee and provisional, haven’t been counted yet? Apparently not Dr. Carmona, who was persuaded to concede the election for the U.S. Senate from Arizona to Mr. Flake, even though over six hundred thousand ballots have yet to be counted; more than half of which are the result of early voting.
Presumably, the concession won’t count, if the results of counting the early voting ballots show that Carmona was actually selected by the majority. But, there’s still the problem that, if the people who filled out provisional ballots are led to think their vote is not going to count anyway, they likely won’t bother to come back with the validating papers, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy and validating the preconceived notion that some voters just aren’t serious and don’t deserve to be considered. And for some people, validating preconceived notions is sweeter than any success. Not to mention that counting is such a drag.
See, it’s not even necessary to posit any kind of antagonism to account for suppressing the vote. Laziness and a cavalier attitude will take care of it.
- Real Dems Count Votes Image: by Talk Radio News Service via their flickr photostream and used Creative Commons license.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
Readers of my articles on LikeTheDew will know that I’m not an advocate of defying the law, but I’m about to encourage this where necessary. Often focused on the joys of my grandchildren, this time I’m focused on yours too. I’m talking about Climate Change and our need to DO something about it. I was heartened to read about two activists who set an example in May 2013, protesting about the burning of coal in an attention-seeking move, by taking a small lobster boat named “The Henry David T,” (a reference to Thoreau) to picket the Brayton Point Power Station off the Massach Read on →
It’s fair to say that the South and Scotland go back a ways. For example, the cult of the “Lost Cause” that sprang up in the aftermath of the South’s failed fight for independence had something of an antecedent in the fabled “lost cause” of the Scottish Jacobites whose four-decade struggle to restore to the Stuart monarchy of Scotland to its rightful seat on the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland was heartily romanticized in the novels of Sir Walter Scott. Scott’s glorification of the swashbuckling supporters of the Stuart restoration was so popular with the southern upper classes in the antebellu Read on →
Author's Note: Fall is here as are a slew of remastered and reissued CDs, some in expanded editions. On September 23, "The Apple Years" by George Harrison, a box set containing 6 CDs and 1 DVD hit the stores. Harrison's old buddy, Bob Dylan, will have Volume 11 of his "Bootleg Series," "The Basement Tapes Complete," released on November 4, the same day remastered and expanded editions of Paul McCartney's "Venus and Mars" and "Wings at the Speed of Sound" are made available. We expect great revelations on the Dylan package, but from McCartney, probably not. Still, reassessing even the Read on →
Summary: President Obama should have made it a top priority to help the American people see what the Republican Party has become. That would lead the people to take away that Party's power. Unfortunately, Barack Obama seems ill-equipped by temperament and character to fight that battle. With your help, I can deliver a message that can focus our national conversation on the destructive force that has taken over the Republican Party. *** If Barack Obama had become president at a time of normal politics, with a normal opposition party, there's no telling how much he could have accomplished. On many issues, President Read on →