Monday, October 27, 2008

Vote- or at least try

One thing that continues to astonish me is our inability to figure out how to make elections consistent and fair.

For starters, the variances between the states are ridiculous for a national election. In Ohio you can do same day voting and registration during September, in Oregon you have a 100% mail in election, in many states you have a three week period where you can vote early in person, in Massachusetts you can request an absentee ballet only if you are going to be out of state for the day. And that's just early voting.

The registration process and keeping the voting rolls updated is another story. This year several million voting registration records were slated to be purged because the registration doesn't match driver's license registration. Bill Murray vs William Murray would kick out, as would having a street address of 1205 First Ave vs 1205 1st Ave. In Georgia today a voter received notification that her record was being purged if she could not prove she was a citizen by 10/23 (too late). Thankfully the courts intervened and will allow her to do it in person on 11/4.

Then there is the voting itself. In North Carolina it is estimated that 100000 early ballots do not have votes for President checked off because the box you check to vote a straight party ticket doesn't include voting for President. So let's get this straight, 100,000 people stood in line to vote early and then didn't choose to vote for President. I don't care if they were all going to vote McCain-Palin, this is a disgrace.

There are far more issues than those above. Voter registration fraud, voter suppression, actual voting machines themselves could be their own complete topics. While the country has some serious issues to battle over the next few years, getting elections done right has to be near the top of the list. No less than our entire Democracy depends on getting this right.

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