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Sep 26 2012

Make Sure You Can Vote

Yesterday was National Voter Registration Day, which I missed because I was taking a five-mile walk, punctuated by stopping into bookstores and sitting in cafes. But I saw this graphic on Facebook late in the day, and it inspired me to comment.

keep calm and register to vote national voter registration day

The Republican Party is basically trying to steal this election by making it harder for likely Democratic voters to vote. Voter fraud is a virtually non-existent problem in the United States — in the entire decade between 2000 and 2010, only 13 people were convicted of impersonating someone else in order to vote in their name — but with voter ID laws, millions of legal, eligible voters will not be able to vote. This is not an accidental side effect of voter ID laws — it’s the whole freaking point. They’ve said as much, in actual words.

And this issue isn’t just about voter ID: in many states, early voting is being reduced or limited. And in the crucial swing state of Ohio, the voting hours have been made different from district to district, with heavily Democratic districts being limited to voting during working hours on weekdays, and heavily Republican districts being given expanded voting hours on nights and weekends.

The Republican Party is trying to prevent African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, students, poor people, and other citizens who are legally allowed to vote and are likely to vote Democratic from voting.

Don’t let them.

Make sure you’re registered to vote. Make sure you have whatever fucking stupid ID they require of you to vote. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time on Election Day to vote. Better yet — vote early or absentee if you can. And then — or hell, now — pressure your elected officials to stop disenfranchising voters already.

However you’re inclined to vote — Democratic, Republican, independent, Libertarian, Green, Socialist, Silly Party — make sure you can vote. And make sure you do vote.

Oh, and memo to the Republican Party: If your campaign strategy is “citizens who are likely to vote hate us, so we’re going to try to keep millions of them from voting”? Maybe you need to change that. Maybe you should look at adopting a “having policies that don’t make people hate us” strategy instead. Just a thought.

7 comments

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  1. 1
    Gregory in Seattle

    Maybe you should look at adopting a “having policies that don’t make people hate us” strategy instead.

    They already have policies that don’t make people (who count) hate them: the 200 or so multi-billionaires who fund the Republican party absolutely adore them.

  2. 2
    gregorymarshall

    Of course I can vote. I am a white male. That is why I have to work hard so others that are being disenfranchised can too!!!!!

  3. 3
    AsqJames

    Oh, and memo to the Republican Party: If your campaign strategy is “citizens who are likely to vote hate us, so we’re going to try to keep millions of them from voting”?

    A not insignificant number of conservatives have bought into the idea that “Democracy dies as soon as people realize they can vote themselves money,” and believe the US is at, near, or maybe even past this point. Some people really do believe that 47% of the US population pay nothing towards the costs of government, consume government services and partly or wholly base their voting behaviour on who they think will keep giving them free stuff.

    These people (the 47%) are clearly voting in the wrong people for the wrong reasons and should not be allowed to vote. In fact if you love your country and don’t want to see it destroyed, you’ll do everything you can to prevent these people from voting. You can encourage them to get all bootstrappy (after which they will change from takers to makers), but until they change their mindset you should under no circumstances actively court their vote.

    And besides, the US is a “Republic” not a “Democracy”…which is a vitally important distinction for some reason which escapes me at the moment.

  4. 4
    Deen

    <rant>I still don’t understand why the people in the US put up with this voter registration crap every couple of years anyway. It just seems so unnecessary. To compare: A couple of weeks ago I voted in the Dutch elections. I simply got my voter card in the mail. Didn’t have to do anything for it. Well, I had to tell the government that I moved, of course, but I had to do that anyway, and I only needed to do that once. And sure, I had to bring my ID when I voted, but then again, you’re required by law to have one here anyway, and I didn’t have to jump through half a dozen hoops to get it either.

    So why do people in the US put up with it? Do they want voting to be as painful and difficult as possible? Because it sure looks like it.</rant>

    But seriously, get registered. And then petition your government to do something about the voter registration mess.

  5. 5
    TGAP Dad

    I’d add one more thing: know your ballot. I my state – Michigan – you can download a copy of your ballot, complete with the ballot language you’ll face on Election Day.

    The wording of the ballot proposals is often misleading and/or confusing, perhaps deliberately. Three of the statewide proposals on Michigan’s ballot deal with significant issues with far-reaching impact:
    - The tyrannical Emergency Financial Manager law (for a good take on just how bad that is, click here)
    - The rights of state workers to unionize, collectively negotiate contracts and to strike
    - Setting standards for home health workers, and enshrining their rights to unionize

    As if that wasn’t bad enough, Michigan’s ballot also includes a “non-partisan” section, which includes judgeships up to the state Supreme Court. Although the parties put forward their candidates for these seats, they are not allowed to identify themselves with a political party. You have to work a little to get a feel for their ideological leanings.

  6. 6
    John Horstman

    Also! Many states have laws that require employers to allow people time off to vote. If you are in a district where your only voting hours are during working hours, take note; you can find a quick run-down of the state statutes here: http://www.findlaw.com/voting-rights-law.html (Greta, you may even want to link this in the OP, since restricted voting hours are a tactic that’s being deployed.)

  7. 7
    Jascollins

    Deen 4/5: the “Registering to vote” thing doesn’t come up very election unless you have moved; the noise about registering to vote problem comes up every election mainly because of disenfranchisement attempts like the Florida felon purge, and the fact that Americans move on averave every 5 years, requiring re-registration for almost 20% of the population.

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