Sunday, October 10, 2004


Well folks, it's election season again, and just like last time, there's going to be voting shenanigans on both sides. Republican and Democratic Secretaries of State in various states are jockeying for partisan advantage. For instance:
In the battlegrounds of Ohio and Missouri, Republican secretaries of state have crafted election rules that Democrats say could disenfranchise legitimate voters likely to cast ballots for Kerry. Republicans say Democratic election officials in New Mexico and Iowa are making it easier for potential Kerry supporters to vote.
Republicans, trying to disenfranchise legitimate voters; Democrats, trying to make it easier for "potential Kerry supporters" to vote. Well, he said, she said. Whether you're trying to prevent people from voting or trying to enable people to vote, it's all just jockeying for partisan advantage.

Says J. Kenneth Blackwell of Ohio (he of the mandatory 80-lb. card stock):
"What you have here is a clash of ideals," he said. "There are those that believe a person should be able to register any time, on any form, and vote in any place. Then you have another point of view -- my point of view -- that says ours is a society of rule and law and rules have to be complied with to turn a ballot into a vote."
A "clash of ideals" indeed. Between those who think everyone should be able to vote, and easily; and those who think it should be made difficult for people to vote. Just a friendly "difference of opinion." It's clear that both sides respect democracy--they just have different opinions about how it should be done!
In Missouri, Blunt went to court this summer and quashed an effort by Francis G. Slay (D), the mayor of St. Louis, to open polls early in that heavily minority, Democratic stronghold.

Slay, a co-chair of Kerry's national finance campaign, argued that early voting was needed to prevent widespread disenfranchisement of city voters caused by long poll lines and other problems that occurred in 2000; Blunt argued that the mayor was trying to bend state law for partisan gain.
How could the election possibly be fair with polls opened early in a "Democratic stronghold"? See, one side thinks the polls should be opened so people can go to the polls and vote there; and one side thinks the polls shouldn't be opened so people can go and vote there. A simple difference of opinion!
In Iowa, Secretary of State Chet Culver (D) is under attack for sending out a voter guide that included an absentee-ballot request. Although the mailing went to every Iowa household, absentee voting in that state has traditionally favored Democrats, and Republican officials cried foul.
Geez--sending out a voter guide that goes to "every Iowa household"? How dare this partisan attempt to help everyone in the entire state obtain an absentee ballot, which it is their right to do!
In the swing state of Minnesota, Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer (R) is fed up with the partisan sparring. Liberal groups have charged her with attempting to stifle voter turnout by failing to keep up with the demand for new voter registration forms, rushing into service a flawed statewide registration system and issuing warnings about terrorism at the polls.
Well, clearly what you have in Minnesota is voters trying to game the system by unfairly burdening poor Kiffmeyer with obnoxious requests for voter registration forms. Meanwhile, Kiffmeyer is simply trying to facilitate democracy by upholding every Minnesotan's right to be scared away from the polls by bogus terrorism warnings!

Friends, it's time we ended all this partisan bickering and simply made a compromise--some people should be allowed easy, uncomplicated access to the mechanisms of voting, while for others, voting should be made more difficult. Now that's bipartisanship!


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