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West Doesn’t Like Early Voting

Rep. Allen West continues to make bizarre statements with no grounding in reality. He told a reporter for ThinkProgress that early voting, which has been reduced significantly in Florida, might be unconstitutional. He also makes a completely irrelevant comment about people thinking it’s an “entitlement.”

WEST: No, I think that when you look at our voting process here in the United States of America, it really comes down to you should be able to go out and vote on Election Day. If you cannot get out to vote on Election Day, you get an absentee ballot. I think that this early voting thing was something we provided and now some people see it as an entitlement, which is really not consistent with constitutional voting practices and procedures.

Uh, what? The Constitution says nothing at all about early voting, or about voting procedures at all. It’s up to each state to decide how it allows people to vote, as long as their actions don’t violate the Voting Rights Act or the 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection.

Comments

  1. slc1 says

    The competition for the prize for being the dumbest member of Congress is certainly heated. How does one choose between such worthies as Allen West, Steve King, Joe Barton, Michele Bachmann, and James Inhofe?

  2. Trebuchet says

    I wonder what West thinks about voting entirely by mail, as we do in my county. Tough to check ID!

  3. eric says

    Treb, he seems to be okay with absentee ballots, so presumably he’s okay with some voting by mail.

    Which is a real head-scratcher, since “voting on election day” as a concept loses a lot of meaning when voting is done by mail. What does he want to do, check the postmark?

  4. Skip White says

    Interesting. I would assume early and/or absentee voting would appeal to the elderly, especially those who have a high degree of difficulty getting out to the polling places. Florida has a large elderly population. Therefore, Rep. West seems to be saying, “up yours, large voting contingent upon whom I depend.”

  5. Didaktylos says

    slc1 – lawyers for Clemens’s literary executors will shortly be contacting you re a plagiarism suit …

  6. redgreeninblue says

    Uh, what? The Constitution says nothing at all about early voting, or about voting procedures at all.

    And even if it did, its prescriptions would not therefore be correct simply by virtue of being stated in the Constitution.

    The Constitution is a famous and venerable document, but some in the USA obsess over it as if it were some sort of immutable, eternal truth. Do they tend to be more religious than the average US citizen? Because this sort of attitude seems strangely akin to the attitude of fundamentalist Christians to the KJV Bible… including the apparent ability to ignore, or rationalise away, the fact that both have been amended many times, not to mention the ability to completely misunderstand what both documents really say :D

  7. baal says

    Oddly enough, plagiarism is not illegal. It’s also hard to see how one sentence could violate copyright even if it’s verbatim.

    I’ve said it before and I’m sure to say it again later, the right to vote should be (and I’m faux-shocked it isn’t) a fundamental right in a (little d) democracy. Otherwise, voting becomes a game of keeping the ‘wrong folks’ out of the voting booth. It is not hard to have facially fair or even handed applies-to-everyone rules that have different impacts on different communities.

    Voting should be an ‘entitlement.’

  8. says

    Uh, what? The Constitution says nothing at all about early voting, or about voting procedures at all.

    Therefore, unconstitutional. If the Constitution doesn’t specifically enumerate it, it’s illegal. Unless it’s something Republicans like, in which case it’s legal if the Constitution doesn’t expressly forbid it, and even then sometimes legal anyway.

  9. says

    slc1:

    “How does one choose between such worthies as Allen West, Steve King, Joe Barton, Michele Bachmann, and James Inhofe?”

    The SKKKrotalMurKKKinPatriotiKKK Front’s trying to do a little subtraction by addition in trying to get NotJoe the NotPlumber elected in Ohio.

  10. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Umm, it’s not so much that I disagree with your implication that voting procedures can’t violate the 14th or VRA.

    However, saying that those are the only hurdles ignores the 15th. Incorporation doctrine dealt very imperfectly with the voting because it didn’t have to: we have the 15th. Thus the 14th, while not irrelevant, is certainly not the most relevant constitutional provision.

  11. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Oh, and btw: the VRA is authorized by the 15th.

  12. kermit. says

    Wait. [scratches head]

    West seems to be making an off-the-cuff complaint that some folks think voting is an “entitlement”, which is normally used by right wingnuts in contrast to “privilege” – as in “health care is a privilege, not an entitlement”.

    Is he saying that we have to earn the right to vote, or some such? Would he say that “I think that this gun possession thing was something we provided and now some people see it as an entitlement”?

  13. D. C. Sessions says

    I would assume early and/or absentee voting would appeal to the elderly, especially those who have a high degree of difficulty getting out to the polling places.

    Don’t forget those people who are paid by the hour for work on weekdays, especially if they have a long commute (by, for instance, bus.)

  14. dmcclean says

    I’d suggest that voting regulations made by the states are also restricted in principle if not in effect by the republican form of government clause in article 4 section 4.

    Simultaneously, I also agree with the supreme court’s Luther v. Borden decision that the clause is non-justiciable.

  15. sosw says

    Does the US have elections on working days during business hours? I seem to remember this being the case, which in and of itself seems like it would at least discourage people from voting.

    We hold major elections on sundays, from 8am to 8pm, at locations that are usually close and easily accessible (typically schools).

    Anyone can vote early during a period of a couple of weeks at most post offices. During that period you can decide to do it any time (I”ve often done it at the spur of the moment while out to lunch at a restaurant near a post office), but it does require id.

    I’m not sure how voting works for people living abroad or in prison, but I believe it’s embassies and the prisons themselves that organize it.

    Of course we’re a younger democracy, and the right to vote has applied to everyone since the beginning, which may have influenced attitudes about the accessibility of voting.

  16. Nemo says

    See Ed, he’s just reading a different Constitution than you or I. His is the same one that says the U.S.A. is a Christian nation.

    sosw:

    Does the US have elections on working days during business hours?

    Yes, on Tuesdays. (Hence the “Why Tuesday?” campaign.)

    I seem to remember this being the case, which in and of itself seems like it would at least discourage people from voting.

    Yes, it does.

    For today’s Republicans, this is a feature, not a bug.

  17. Nemo says

    P.S. Polling hours vary, but they aren’t limited to “business hours” — your 8-to-8 would be similar to a typical voting day here. But election days are held on what are, for most people, working days. So you get a lot of voters cramming it in before or after work, and a lot of potential voters just skipping it.

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