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BlueWolf's Howl

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November 03, 2004

Not Again

Okay...I don't normally get political or personal on this blog, but this time I have to say something. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS!!!!!!! I'm talking about the American voting process. Anybody notice there's a problem yet?

We are a rich country. We have the technology. Yet, we still can't get complete and accurate results of a national election within a reasonable time frame. And anyone who casts an absentee ballot is basically sitting the bench in this game. At least they're sitting -- unlike the people who were standing in line for 10+ hours just to cast a vote. [Ever wonder how many of them left the line and just gave up? Ever wonder who they would have voted for if it would have taken less than a full day to vote?]

I guess it was a benefit to the current administration to have such 'wiggle room' with the process (which is why a lot of it didn't get fixed). Or perhaps the country still believes that "IT doesn't matter"... Voters should be able to be verified as eligible voters much more quickly. Absentee ballots should count instead of being held in reserve in case it's close. And it should be much easier to validate that each one person has one vote. It's not that hard to keep track of 100,000,000+ people. Ask VISA. Hire a top notch DBA - perhaps even a few so you get a balanced perspective. It's not rocket science.

At every voting place, you see a long list of names on a printout. That printout came from *somewhere*... It wasn't typed on a Remmington. It's an obvious computer printout. Take all those little local databases... standardize them. Now you can pool them and work with them. If I'm not mistaken, you must be a US citizen to vote. US citizens have social security numbers. There's your cross-check. You can cross-check to make sure that Mary Smith of New Bedford, MA is/is not the same Mary Smith of Fall River, MA that just recently moved. And if you do this in every state, you can insure that Mary Smith of Coventry, RI is not the same Mary Smith of Manassas, VA. You can also insure that Mary Smith of Wareham, MA is not also voting by absentee ballot in Boca Raton, FL just because she happens to own a winter home there. And it would eliminate the claim that 'felons' are voting. I'm sure the FBI has the SSN of every felon within easy reach... just as the SSA has the SSN of every US citizen within easy reach. It's not a privacy issue -- this is information that the government already has at its disposal! You're taxed through this number.

Once you get this database in place, you can verify 'provisional' voters on the spot in a way where both parties could agree and the voter could cast a real vote - not a debated 'provisional' vote. [I must admit there's been at least *some* progress -- in the last election those voters were simply turned away.] You could also use this database to verify where you're registered and it would be the voter's responsibility to insure that the information is current by a certain date. The database would be (read) accessible to both parties, (write) accessible through the registrar, and everyone would know and agree on who exactly is registered in that locale. If they can agree on nothing else, they could stand there and pat each other on the back about the accuracy of the database.

Absentee ballots burn me up more than anything else. It takes a lot of time and effort to vote by absentee ballot. Many of the absentee ballots are cast by our military. Who better deserves a voice in this country than those that are putting their lives on the line to defend it? Most of those ballots arrive early. They have to be postmarked by election day. Why do they sit for weeks (collecting dust)? Why are they not counted UNLESS it's close? If the margin is not close enough to matter, NOT ONE absentee ballot is opened. Sure, it's a lot of effort to open and verify a paper absentee ballot. It's also a lot of effort to vote by one -- those voters deserve the return in effort. With a good database of verified voters, the validation process would be easy. With a cutoff date for registration and verification of the database... what do the election people DO until election day? You could have a 30 Sep cutoff for registration and database verification. Then you could spend the entire month of October processing absentee ballots. Those votes could (and should) be counted first instead of being held 'in reserve'...

And how the heck do you end up with a long line and only two voting machines on election day? Why are there lines that last for hours? Didn't you KNOW that a lot of people would turn out on that day? Perhaps we should turn to the folks who run the state lotteries for assistance? In the 2000 election in St Lucie County (FL) [where I voted], the votes were accurate - even on the recount - AND there was a verifiable paper trail. The ballot looked just like a Lotto ticket. Even if you only had two reader machines, it still wouldn't take all that long to process. Ask any convenience store clerk how quickly the lotto cards get processed. AND you would have a verifiable paper trail. AND you would have a quick and convenient process to conduct a quick recount if necessary (just to see how many dopes CIRCLED their choice instead of filling in the line).

It just really burns me up that the process could ever be that slow. It burns me up that only so many votes are counted and well...why bother counting the rest? It's no wonder there's a history of voter apathy in this country. Despite the fact that there was a record turnout this year (just under 60%), we're still not at the point of 80% voter turnout. How could anyone have a 'Mandate' when the turnout is not that high? How could anyone claim the 'M' word when it came down to a matter of winning Ohio? Two close races in a row. You can't blame Gore for that. There was only ONE candidate that ran in both. [Take a guess who's *really* dividing the country...] The pressure to concede must have been overwhelming. Gore held out for a while...then folded. And when all the votes were counted, Gore won. But, it was too late. And now Kerry gets a fix on the numbers and basically weighs the risk of holding on versus a 'gracious concession' to maintain his political hide as a current Senator. Not much of a choice, is it? Even IF the number of provisional ballots were TRIPLE the difference between the regular vote...still, it would take 8-10 DAYS to process those votes. Is the wait worth it? As a current Senator, that would be political suicide. He would be betting all he had on it. No matter if he won or lost, he would be crucified for the wait. Not much of a choice, is it?

And it's all not necessary. We have the technology. It could be faster. It could be efficient. It could be accurate. It could encompass more of the people - before their bedtime.

Now...let's consider that the 'voice of the people' has spoken and that voice is mostly (51-49%) Republican. Perhaps they 'do' have a mandate from the people. Well, now they have no one to blame. It's all Republican. Everything that happens from here on out rests on their shoulders. You can't blame the Democratic House or Senate for preventing the Republican President from progress. You can't blame the Democratic President for preventing the Republican House or Senate from progress. They're in total control and believe they have a MANDATE from the people.

Let's see what happens now. I'm pretty scared. I'm old enough to remember what happened when Reagan had his 'mandate'... Every white male thought they owned the world. Gay bashing was fashionable and increased greatly. Everyone who identified with the winning party felt they personally won and that all their thoughts and opinions were validated. And I remember seeing the exact opposite when Clinton won. I noticed that people were more inclined to make at least a half-hearted attempt to be 'politically correct'... Even if they didn't mean it, they knew that prejudice would not be tolerated. Now I fear it's been institutionalized (with their 'mandate').

The other thing that scares me is that most of the Republican turnout centered around 'moral values.' Even the way it's phrased insinuates that those they oppose have a lack of moral values. 11 states had a ban of gay marriage on the ballot. OHIO HAD A GAY MARRIAGE BAN ON THE BALLOT. Gee...I wonder why there was record voter turnout? What were they really turning out for? Hmmm? Those that voted Republican (regardless of party affiliation or lack thereof) mostly voted based on 'moral values'....whereas those that voted Democrat (again, regardless of party affiliation) mostly voted based on the economy. What does this say about us as Americans? Especially with a Republican win? We ALL know the economy sucks. We all know that Bush entered with a SURPLUS and has already run up a DEFICIT. But yet, people are more afraid of gays getting married than being broke or jobless. Sad, isn't it?

Listen up, people. Gay marriage is not required. Allowing gays to get married does NOT affect your hetero marriage. Divorce affects your hetero marriage. [And I don't see any of those holy rollers trying to ban that...] Gay marriage does not mean that you have to marry someone of the same sex...only that you're not preventing other people from living THEIR lives. Why do hetero people feel so strongly about something that really doesn't affect them? Are they afraid that if the ban wasn't in place that they would be tempted to swing the other way? Are they afraid that if gays could marry, then their husband/wife would run off with someone of the same sex? And do they really think that banning gay marriage is going to prevent gay sex? It's not. A marriage ban is not going to stop one lick. (Take that any way you want to and clutch your damn pearls in horror.)

So what is the Gay Marriage Ban really about? It's about prejudice - plain and simple. It's not about moral values. The ban doesn't change anyone's sexuality -- only their equal rights and protection under the law. I guess perhaps the 'moral values' that they are trying to uphold are prejudice and intolerance.

I saw the acceptance speech on tv today. The media claimed that they were chanting 'Four More Years'... That's not what I heard. I clearly heard them chanting 'All Our Fears'... because that's what 51% of the people voted about. But, like they said in the movie Sarafina... "How powerful you must be for them to fear you so much."

Posted by BlueWolf on November 3, 2004 05:37 PM