Wednesday, June 21, 2006

More on the election commission..

Everyone knows by now that several election workers were indicted today on charges of voter fraud. It's a horrible situation; hell, the election commission even CLOSED the precinct and disbanded it into other precincts earlier this year!

Remember that this occurred in a low-turnout special election in an area that only really turns out to vote in the quadrennial Presidential elections. Remember also that it's damned hard to find people to work a 14 to 15 hour day for what winds up being minimum wage, if that much.

I remember my days on the ExecCom when we had a board that spent the majority of their time looking for people to run the machines and work the registration check at each poll, and they could NEVER find enough people to do it.

I understand it's a civic duty and all that; my grandfather was an election judge at my elementary school in Dixon, Illinois when I was very young. Let's face it, though: especially in poorer neighborhoods where people simply CANNOT afford to take the day off to work for less-than-minimum wage, it's damn near impossible to find people to work on Election Day. What results is that in wealthier neighborhoods, you find retired people who have nothing else to do, and in poorer neighborhoods, you have to rely on people like Verline Mayo. Which, of course, leads to problems.

I agree to a certain extent with John Harvey that there is a LOT of work to do to get the numbers correct and get the deceased and the ex-Shelby Countians off the rolls. A bill has even been passed in the General Assembly this year to assist in that effort.

However, let's also remember something here, even with all that is right with the efforts for change. Frankly, the problems are occurring in poorer neighborhoods, where people are more likely to move more often than in more affluent sections. Often, these people are more likely to forget to change their registration and thus have troubles trying to vote. Of course, these are also people who are FAR more likely to vote Democratic.

Most Republicans, unfortunately, are not as conscientious as John Harvey, who has worked tirelessly to provide examples of problems that need to be addressed by the election commission. Most of them could give a rat's ass how they get poor voters off the ballot as long as they keep them from voting, as every poor and/or minority voter that the GOP can remove from the ballot helps them retain power here. This, of course, is easily seen by the House Goopers holding up the re-enactment of the Voting Rights Act.

To be fair, John also has research indicating that there are people who have moved to Tipton, Fayette and DeSoto Counties but their registrations were never canceled here, thus allowing them to come back and vote. You can bet THEY'RE not voting for Democrats!

I have to believe that budget cuts at the EC have hurt their ability to respond. However, that does not mean that actions cannot be taken to solve the problem and give a true read on how many actual registered voters are in Shelby County. Our electoral integrity depends upon it.


soandsodem said...

I can't quite get this. Are you really suggesting that some people should be held accountable for voter fraud and others shouldn't.

Sorry, but I don't buy that.

Wrong is wrong (assuming the charges are true) regardless of who commits the wrong.

LeftWingCracker said...

No, not at all, I was merely trying to provide context for the difficulties democrats face in finding ANY people to work elections, much less qualified people...

If found guilty, smack them down, by all means..

Brassmask said...

I don't think that LWC was trying to say that some should get a pass.

Poll workers should either be selected by lottery and not paid at all OR they should get higher pay and a plaque ceremony every election celebrating them for helping democracy work. (my wife is a pollworker now so...)

But seriously, people view civic responsibilities as something that gets in the way of them living their lives or whatever (but given the option of going to work or taking a day off to sit home and watch daytime television, they're going to stay home.) And like one or two days a damned year is going to sooo throw your whole life out of order.

I am outraged at people who get all bent out of shape about jury duty and poll working and the like because, I mean, DAMN! You're actively participating in democracy and justice and all the ideals that Americans are supposed to be dying to defend abroad.

TN420 said...

Well said, Brassmask.

I too wish that more people would recognize the fact that the voting system is the backbone of our democracy.

But clearly, since no one seems to be concerned with the fact that Diebold tampered with election results in 2000 and '04, we may be asking too much.

There's just not enough people that care anymore. I'm gald you do.

Jeff said...

Well, I know for a fact that my parents, who moved to Desoto County many years ago, are still registered to vote in Shelby County, because we live in the same precinct where they used to live, and every time I go to vote, I see their names right above mine.

I pointed it out to poll workers in 2000 and 2002. In 2004, I wrote to the election commission and was told that they CAN'T remove someone from the roll. The voter has to write to the EC and tell them that they are no longer eligible to vote in Shelby County. As if!

How many middle class Shelby County Republicans have moved to Desoto and Fayette counties in the last ten years, and how many of them are still regisitered to vote here? Enough to swing elections, I'm sure.