Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Like Clockwork

Haven't we seen this before? It's now like clockwork. Every so often, a certain local media pundit declares his disdain for early voting. And whenever that happens, G-O-TEA politicians & media personalities respond with glee... And with legislation to restrict and/or abolish early voting.

Like clockwork, the above mentioned local media pundit went on another tirade against early voting. But this time, national G-O-TEA media personalities became involved. And this time, the local media pundit contracted a case of the sads when he was caught in the middle of Dave Weigel's rebuttal of the G-O-TEA case against early voting.

Whenever the above mentioned local media pundit rails against early voting, he cries, "SLOTH!" And whenever G-O-TEA politicians rail against early voting, they cry, "INTEGRITY!". But in reality, early voting neither encourages "sloth" nor threatens "integrity". Rather, it's simply a way to allow more voters to participate in our ("small d") democratic process.

And that brings us back to Weigel's Slate column... And to Wisconsin State Senator Dale Schultz (R). He voted against his own Republican Party's plan to severely restrict early voting. And he didn't hold back when he explained to a Madison, Wisconsin, radio station why he did so.

It’s just, I think, sad when a political party — my political party — has so lost faith in its ideas that it’s pouring all of its energy into election mechanics. And again, I’m a guy who understands and appreciates what we should be doing in order to make sure every vote counts, every vote is legitimate. But that fact is, it ought to be abundantly clear to everybody in this state that there is no massive voter fraud. 

The only thing that we do have in this state is we have long lines of people who want to vote. And it seems to me that we should be doing everything we can to make it easier, to help these people get their votes counted. And that we should be pitching as political parties our ideas for improving things in the future, rather than mucking around in the mechanics and making it more confrontational at the voting sites and trying to suppress the vote.

And Dale Schultz is not alone in saying this. In fact, the bipartisan presidential commission that was appointed after the 2012 Election recommended expansion of early voting in order to avert the kinds of long lines and voter dropout that occurred in states like Florida & Ohio, where Republicans had severely cut back early voting opportunities.

And that was no accident. A Republican Florida State Senator had actually declared, "This should not be easy", when he voted to cut early voting. That State Senator, Mike Bennett, is now the Election Supervisor for Manatee County. And ironically enough, he just convinced county supervisors there to slash Election Day voting sites in order to "save money and allow the county to offer more early voting sites in the future".

This is why we have such a hard time accepting G-O-TEA excuses for attacking early voting, even when a certain local media pundit attempts to validate their excuses. There's no "integrity" in eliminating citizens' ability to participate in our democratic system. There's no "virtue" in forcing hardworking Americans to choose between voting and keeping a job &/or taking care of their families. And there's certainly no "value" in deliberately creating long lines on Election Day that discourage people from voting.

At least Assembly Member Pat Hickey (R-Reno) had a moment of honesty last September when he admitted 2014 will be a "great year for Republicans" so long as we don't vote. That's what they're counting on. They're hoping we don't vote. And they're hoping by eliminating our opportunities to vote, we'll give up and simply don't vote.

Like clockwork, G-O-TEA politicians attack our voting rights. And like clockwork, they come up with elaborate excuses as they attempt to cover up their dirty misdeeds. It's just irritating that like clockwork, a certain local media pundit fails to recognize what's really behind their campaign against early voting.

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