Young: Choosing who gets to choose, 2014
It’s been 14 years since the victors in a dramatic election proved that the people’s will could be wholly secondary to lawyers’ arguments.
It wasn’t until 2001 that Bush v. Gore officially was settled by a single vote in the Supreme Court. But the precedent of setting aside a whole bunch of democracy for expediency’s sake was well established by then.
We could belabor the inequities in the Electoral College, which awarded the presidency to the man in second place. We could belabor all things Florida, its votes ultimately awarded like the services of a slave on a crate.
All of those things are 14 years of torrent under the bridge. We are left with today.
Give immense credit to the party that won that 2000 race. Today’s GOP is 14 years smarter at ways to make sure expediency always beats out democracy.
Comedian Lewis Black emotes: “Elected officials shouldn’t get to choose who gets to choose elected officials.” Ah, but of course they do, and will.
Consider North Carolina, which cut back on early voting, affecting the potential participation of 2 million voters.
And Florida. In the Sunshine State, scientists have determined that merciless voting lines are a good source of sun-imbued vitamin D. Long voting lines are actually good for you.
Then there’s Texas and a restrictive voter ID law a federal judge said clearly was designed to undermine the turnout of blacks and Latinos. That was before a divided U.S. Supreme Court let Texas’ abominable law stand for this election. Dissenting, Justice Ruth Ginsburg likened the law to a poll tax.
True, there were victories in democracy vs. expediency. The Supreme Court threw out a voter ID measure in Wisconsin that was like a frozen maze from the mind of Stephen King.
All of these measures are framed as confronting voter fraud. Based on exhaustive Republican investigations, voter fraud has been shown to be nearly as much a threat to the commonwealth as a Ricky Martin comeback tour.
We are advised that without these measures, illegal aliens will swing elections. No they won’t. Illegal aliens don’t come to this country to swing elections. They come to swing hammers on our storm-torn roofs, to change our bedsheets, to wash our dishes, to mow our lawns, to harvest our veggies. Shame on the fear-mongers who use this weak pretext to turn voting into an obstacle course.
The architects of vote suppression aren’t afraid of illegal aliens’ voting so much as having an accurate assessing of what all Americans think. They know what the thinking is at the country club, and that suits them just fine. They seek to leave it at that on Election Day.
Then we have states like Oregon and Colorado, which have gone all-in on the notion of having all in — as many voters as possible, that is.
Oregon and Colorado have mail-in ballots. They have same-day voter registration. Yes, one can register on Election Day. This is something the power structure in North Carolina could not countenance. It revoked the practice this year. Expediency first, understand.
Not surprisingly, we have heard attempts to portray these liberalized voting laws as recipes for disaster. Fox News siren Megyn Kelly told viewers that Colorado law allows just anyone to print a ballot on a computer. No, it doesn’t. The print-out ballots in question are for overseas and military voters alone. And what is wrong with that anyway, if secure means are devised to make that possible? Nothing, that’s what.
Colorado and Oregon are showing that more is better when it comes to democracy. But “more” is not what today’s vote suppressors want, if it means more voters. They want to choose those who choose them.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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