Oct 26

You Vote for the Government You Want

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!

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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!”

VOTE!

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.

DOCUMENTATION

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!

INFORM YOURSELF

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.

Important Addendum—

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!

 

4 comments

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  1. Here in El Paso County Colorado where the city of Colorado Springs and my home are located, we now do mail-in ballots ONLY.
    The ballot comes in the mail preceded by some voting information and you simply fill
    it out and, either mail it back or drop it off at one of several locations around the city…..DMV’s, fire stations, etc.
    The county claims that they save $200,000+ by doing it this way and that even though some ballots are undeliverable and those sent back by the post office do incur a returned postage fee, it’s far more efficient and enjoys a larger voter ‘turn out’.
    Part of their theory is that more people will participate if they don’t need to travel after a hard days work or if traveling is difficult for them.
    Registration is easy as well, and as far as I can tell no one encounters a problem as long as they can show that they reside in the county.
    This system seems to work fairly well, but I’ll keep my ears open to hear what the local media has to say about it come election day.
    Marilyn and I have been attending candidate debates and of course listening to political advertisements. I would suggest that this is the worst election cycle that I have ever watched. More vitriol and out-right lies and smears than any other election in the past. TONS of Right-wing money coming in from outside the state to bolster Republicans running for state offices . Our attorney general race for instance is a FIVE to One spending ration in favor of the Republican candidate. And, according to the Democrat’s campaign, coming in all most totally from OUTSIDE the state…..Democrats need to step up their game.

      • Don Bay on October 27, 2014 at 10:03
        Author

      That outside money that’s flooding the state of Colorado (among several states, by the way) has the added advantage of allowing the donor fat cats to remain anonymous…at least until AFTER the election. The outside money you write about comes from ultra-conservative donors who are noted for lying like the well-known rug. All they want is to turn Colorado and those other states into Republican bastions in order to turn over the national parks to the big energy corporations, keep marijuana as a Schedule I drug alongside of heroin and turn students into robots who will turn the USA into a Christian paradise. Oy veh!

      Thanks for raising our consciousness. Vote Democrat on November 4 and send those lying ultra-conservatives and their outside money back to the Hell they came from. Who said I was neutral in this dog fight? When democracy is threatened, everybody should fight to retain it.

    • Donna on October 26, 2014 at 22:55

    good points you make, Don. I am fortunate that I live in Idaho where, even though we are a super majority Republican state, we have not experienced the barriers to voting that some other states have. We do have to show a voter ID, but if we don’t have it, we can ask to sign an affidavit instead. Early voting goes on for weeks prior to an election, and we can both register and vote at the same time, on Election Day or during early voting.
    We have been blessed with Sec.s of State (both Republican and both Basque)that overseen elections with honesty and integrity

      • Don Bay on October 27, 2014 at 09:42
        Author

      Unlike Georgia, North Carolina and other Republican-dominated states that are attempting to restrict voting, particularly for Democrats, Idaho has an intelligent voting and registration system that encourages voting. You are indeed lucky that your secretaries-of-state, Republicans by the way, are more interested in voting integrity than in restricting voting.

      My gut tells me that the reason Idaho is so good on the voting front is that it’s a consistently Republican state that is not in danger (!!!) of going Democratic in the near future. Moreover, it’s not part of the southern bloc of states that want to turn back the clock to the Jim Crow era. Would that the Supreme Court conservatives take note of that and restore the Voting Rights Act. However, as I’ve said before, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

      Thanks for this breath of fresh air.

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