Date registered: Sep 2004
Vehicle: 2014 E250 Bluetec 4-Matic, 1983 240D 4-Speed
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Quoted: 255 Post(s)
RE: What is more important?
I have voted in 4 States now, and in each one the registration and voting experience was without any threatening or other ominous overtones. But I am white and Alaska was the furthest from the Northeast/New England (NJ, NY and CT) States I spent most of my time in.
But, having volunteered to be an activist in the Democratic Party during the McGovern election, I saw some of the tactics used by the Republican Party to make things difficult for the poor and mostly black neighborhoods in Troy, NY to vote. I don't think it was illegal, but given a choice of making the process the same as it was for me, or to make it less pleasant and uplifting, I saw a concerted effort to make things unnecessarily difficult or even embarrasing for these other Americans.
I think the "shock and awe" reflected by others over the suggestion that these tactics are purposeful and "engineered" to affect the outcome of the vote has to be false. Both parties have histories of manipulating the boundaries between voting districts and nearly every other aspect of the process to gain an advantage. Where they hold majorities they typically abuse the power that gives them. It is unfortunate when this happens on the local political scene, and it is at least equally unfortunate when it happens to an extent to affect the national political scene.
In the case of Florida's role in the last presidential election it is clear many more legitimately registered voters were prevented from voting by the tactics employed than the sum total of voters who might have attempted to vote illegally who were "prevented" from doing so. In that case the larger "wrong" fell on the side of the people who invented and employed the tactics. It was wrong whether they did it to further GWB's case or not. It was shabby and poor work by someone that made a situation worse instead of better in its very best light, and Mafia-like in its worst light.
The same is true of the tactics cited by Kirk. Those were more likely designed and employed to make the voting experience a distasteful experience for select Americans, as well as affect the outcome of the election in an unethical manner. I feel good when I vote, I feel part of something greater than a mere election, I feel part of being America, something bigger and more important than me. Denying someone that feeling to thwart the process is really revolting. It is very petty and essentially the antithesis of America to perpetuate the abuse of select citizens that is in direct conflict with the Constitution.
So, I think the number of bad guys trying to sneak in to vote illegally is minor compared to the number of Americans being denied the experience of voting in America, in the name of keeping the bad guys out. It is particularly alarming that the tactics that have been engineered and employed target populations of minorities most vigorously. These same tactics are rarely used in well to do communities of mostly white families, which we all know have their share of felons and other criminals.
I think the registration process is the place to make this distinction, not the polling place. If you are registered you should be allowed to vote. If you are registered in two places you vote in only one. If you are not notified of some reason why you are no longer considered registered in time to correct the situation without having to address it in a panic, you should be allowed to vote. The system should err on the side of accepting a bogus vote instead of erring on the side of eliminating a few million votes to "catch" the few trying to abuse the system. If the system has holes and people are voting twice, the holes should be filled and those voting twice or otherwise illegally should be prosecuted after the fact. There just are not enough of them to be affecting the outcome of elections, while barring everyone named Smith (or Brown) in an area will affect the experiences of many, properly registered citizens (especially those Smiths).