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Monday, April 08, 2013

On Election Day Americans Are All Equal - (Or, at Least....we should be)

No One in America Should Have to Wait 7 Hours to Vote!

In "Atlantic" magazine, author Andrew Cohen wrote last November that what happened in Florida's 2012 voting was "simply unacceptable". According to a local election official interviewed by CBS News' Phil Hirschkorn, the last "early voter" in line for Saturday's truncated early voting in Palm Beach County finally got to cast a ballot at 2:30 a.m Sunday morning, which means that voter waited in line for more than seven hours. In Miami, another traditional Democratic stronghold, the wait was nearly as long. On Sunday, voters all over the state were begging judges and county officials for more time to vote.

This happened, not because of a natural disaster or breakdown in machinery. It happened by partisan design - Republicans don't want heavily Democratic minority voters to vote. 

Alarmed by the strong Democratic turnout in early voting in 2008, Republican lawmakers, including Florida's Governor Rick Scott, reduced the number of early voting days from 14 to eight.  Governor Scott probably believed the long voting lines would deter minority voters from exercising their rights as Americans.  

Thankfully, it didn't work.

Of course, if Florida's election officials, and its Republican lawmakers, and its state and federal judges, all were required to stand in line for seven hours to vote, those long lines would go away, forever. You know it, I know it, and so do the elected officials, writes Cohen.

Unfortunately, rather than fix the long lines and daunting voting regulations that make no sense, Republicans in "red states" want to protect their status quo by supporting obstacles targeted to deter minority voters.  Republicans use the ruse of "voter fraud" to demand proof of citizenship documentation prior to voting. Yet, these deterrence tactics are absent any documentation whereby fraud has ever occurred. 

Americans are proud to say how we live in a Democracy.  Surely, that privilege means we are all equal on election day. Every person's vote counts, one vote for every citizen who takes this responsibility seriously.

It should be illegal for elected officials to gerrymander our elections with ruse tactics and other tricks so they can use our Democracy to create their own partisan government.  

Americans should vote, just like all the other countries in the world.  We should be able to show up to a voting station, have our name checked off from a roster and be allowed to vote without standing in line for seven hours.  Otherwise, if these embarrassing voting glitches deliberately continue to sway election outcomes, then, we're just pretending to be a Democracy.  

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