In Brief—In a recent blog, “Vote, for Crying Out Loud, Vote!,” you were urged to vote and told how to go about it. Now the election is just days away and the vote you cast—if you are allowed to vote—will determine whether you get more or less repression, more or fewer restrictions on voting, more or less of somebody else’s religion shoved down your throat, more or less democracy. The vote that’s cast will determine where America goes. Please Read the Important Addendum at the end!
More or Less Democracy—
On November 4, 2014, you will vote for the government you will get for the next two years. In 2016, you have the chance to select the president who will lead America into an uncertain future. Until then, this is the most important election in which you will have a chance to vote…if you’re lucky.
Before you vote on Tuesday, November 4, here are some very important facts for you to digest and remember.
As Howard Beale in the movie Network shouted, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
Among the advanced nations of the world, America ranks near the bottom in eligible voters actually voting. In the 2000 election between Bush and Gore, only 50% of the eligible voters bothered to vote. Further, even if you voted (particularly if you voted for Gore), your vote didn’t count because the Supreme Court conservatives elected George W. Bush. We know where that went. So you have a picture just how lousy America’s voting record is, in the recent election in Scotland, 85% of eligible voters voted.
In light of that fact, Republicans are working hard to restrict voting even more. In a number of states controlled by Republicans, among other restrictions, they have legislated 1) the elimination of early voting; 2) enacted the elimination of same-day registration; 3) enacted today’s equivalent of a poll tax (illegal) by requiring a photo identification (ID) that costs money the poor can’t afford. Sounds reasonable, you say, because it prevents fraudulent voting? The fact is that Republican supporters have failed to show that actual fraud exists. It’s a phony excuse.
As if that isn’t enough, knowledgeable judges have said that the photo ID requirement is merely a way to eliminate poor voters who tend to vote Democratic. Likewise, it tends to eliminate the infirm elderly, college students away from their parents’ homes, and those for whom travel is burdensome. As chance would have it, these voters also tend to vote Democratic. It’s called “Loading the dice.”
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS—
The right to vote is guaranteed by the Constitution.
The poll tax or its equivalent (e.g., paying for an approved photo ID) has been outlawed by the Supreme Court.
People of Color may vote as long as they have Registered, and former felons can vote as long as they have paid their “debt to society.” Check your status where you live because states differ—often unjustly—in registration requirements and what voting rights a former felon has.
If you have been given false information such as the day of the election or place you should vote, immediately contact the ACLU with the facts. Several Republican-aligned groups have deliberately distributed false information in an effort to prevent voting.
Intimidation in or outside a voting place is illegal. Still, some Republican states allow their supporters to unjustly challenge voters. They even permit supporters to stand close to a voter to physically intimidate him/her. If this should happen to you, politely but firmly insist on your constitutional right to vote. Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated! Promptly report any instances of intimidation to the ACLU.
Even if you don’t have an approved photo ID, take along your driver’s license or several recent water or electricity bills to show the precinct worker that you are a local resident. If you are a college student away from home, be sure to take along your student ID containing your photo.
Politely ask the precinct worker to write down the information about your substitute ID documents. Be sure to write down the name of the precinct worker(s) with whom you spoke. The name thing often works wonders.
Carry the phone number of the ACLU closest to you!
Many politicians think voters are stupid. No kidding, they openly (not so you can hear it, though) think voters are stupid. Most of the time, some voters are just ignorant of the facts…that is, unless the voter votes the straight Republican ticket without thought, watches and believes Fox News or has no idea what her/his legislator says, supports or votes for. Then that voter may indeed be as dumb as a sack full of doorknobs.
Please take the time necessary to objectively inform yourself about the facts. It’s a wonderful idea to check out the party platforms, particularly the Republican platform. Believe me, the Republican position on a wide variety of issues affecting you personally are at the very least anti-democratic: Voting, women’s reproductive health, Social Security (they want to turn it over to Wall Street!), economic matters contributing to social and financial inequality, immigration and much more.
The Least Worse—
Though modern Republicanism is horribly harmful to everybody but the rich, many readers have views about the Democratic Party that are—justifiably— less than complimentary. That said, when it gets right down to the preservation of democracy and the welfare of the majority, the Democratic Party stands head and shoulders above the Republicans. Given a choice between which is the least worse, the Democrats are much better than the Republicans no matter how you slice it.
As for me, being neither a Democrat nor a Republican, I would swallow hard and cast my vote for the Democrats any day rather than see America destroyed by the Republicans who are uniformly bent on kissing the hem of the rich.
Regardless, come November 4th, VOTE, for crying out loud, VOTE! It matters greatly!
Remind me to tell you why Tuesday is a lousy day for an election…but Vote on Tuesday, November 4th.
On October 24, 2014, the Times had a column that explains clearly why this vote is so important. Even though you may be busy, by all means take a little time to read why the ultra-wealthy plutocrats don’t want you to vote. Screw ’em, VOTE!