Rock the boat

I’m growing a mustache.  Got a wig.  Flip flops.  A NRA t-shirt and shorts.  My costume is complete.

No, this isn’t what I’m wearing for Halloween.  I’m not a fan.  I’m wearing it on “Political Geek Christmas.”  November 4th.  Election Day.

You see, I plan on voting twice.  First, I’m going to vote under my real name.  Then, I’m going to dress up like my neighbor Alejandro.  I look like an Alejandro, right?  He’s a little shorter than me, sports a Colombian accent, and from the bumper stickers on his car, likes guns and the Tea Party.  But I think I can pull this off.

Who wouldn’t want to vote twice?  I’d risk years of jail time for the pure joy of getting two votes for the price of one, especially since Florida doesn’t require a photo ID.

And I’m not alone.  Just look at all the fraud.  In the past few weeks, the New York Post wrote about 850 people listed on the voter rolls as being 164 years old, a boon for the Republicans.  I would bet at 164 years old, not one of those people will vote Democrat.  Then there’s the “vote flipping” machines in Illinois and Maryland.  That’s when you vote for one candidate but the computer “flips” it to the other person.  And the journal Electoral Studies found a large number of non-citizens vote and could change the outcome of close races.

And since the media established that three Ebola victims equals an “outbreak,” this is a downright epidemic.  But, have no fear, our state leaders are here.  The Supreme Court recently upheld Texas’ new law requiring a state-issued photo ID to vote.  Own a driver’s license or concealed handgun license and you’re golden.  Student ID or voter registration card, not so much.  Virginia’s new law allows for a college ID, but only if you go to an in-state institution.  So getting into Harvard shows you’re smart, but it doesn’t show you are who you say you are.  In total, seven states now require photo IDs.  That should put an end to any of those “vote flipping” computer problems, right?

And, of course, there’s the other side.  Those of you who believe it’s “voter suppression,” claiming ID laws “disenfranchise” hundreds of thousands of poor and minority voters.  That’s true.  Those people don’t drive, don’t need a passport to travel, and have lived all their lives not knowing where their birth certificate is.  It’s like someone buying a gun and saying, “You don’t need to run a background check.  I’m sane.”  No, real voter suppression happens every Election Day.  It started long before states even considered these laws.  And we just let it happen.

As this Washington Post article shows, you and I don’t perpetrate fraud.  A professor who studied “voter impersonation” found 31 incidents in one billion.  That’s billion with a “b.”  There are more UFO sightings in this country.  Seriously.   The fraud doesn’t happen in the voting booth.  It happens at the ballot box.  Look at the beginning of this Wall Street Journal commentary.  Notice something?  They’re all elected officials or local party leaders.  Look back at history.  The Mafia helped get John F. Kennedy elected in 1960 by buying votes, paying off officials, and raising the dead.  Forty years later, many believe Florida’s “butterfly” ballots, “hanging chads,” and family ties handed George W. Bush the election.  Hopefully, they had to show a photo ID before doing it.

As for those laws, that same Electoral Journal study above found 75% of the illegal immigrants said they still voted AFTER being asked for a photo ID.  So that works well.  Want another astonishing fact?  Some of the people studied BELIEVED they had the right to vote.  Yep, they didn’t commit fraud on purpose.  They just thought, “Well, everyone else can do it.  I guess I can too.”

So, to recap, voter ID laws don’t really suppress voters because if illegals and 164 year olds can still vote, the poor and minorities can too.  They don’t prevent fraud since it’s perpetrated by our political leaders, not us.  Those laws simply add another layer to the real problem.  The system.  It suppresses real voters.  It commits the fraud.  The Constitution gives us the right to vote.  And the system then tries to take it away.

The real political conversation needs to revolve around the suppression of participation.  The United States ranks 120 out of 169 countries in that category.  In 2012, 59.3% of the voting age population actually voted.   We deal with long lines at the polls, untrained volunteer poll workers, and malfunctioning machinery.  In 2007, Estonia held the world’s first general Internet election.  Estonia?!  Its citizens can vote from home if they wish.  And they not only like it, they trust it.  On Tuesday, if you want to vote, you need to find time to leave work, or make time outside of work hours.  Over 50 countries hold elections on weekends, or make Election Day a national holiday.  Many of those countries provide automatic voter enrollment and a constantly updated national database.  Our government leaves it up to us to obtain our constitutional right.  Fill out forms and mail them in.  Or register at the DMV.  And now, in some instances, show a state-issued photo ID at the polls.  And if you don’t follow the steps or make a mistake, guess what?  You lose your right.

You see, those countries want and expect their citizens to vote.  Our system not only makes it harder to vote, but our political pundits actually talk openly about hoping we stay home.  Conservative Ann Coulter’s said if women didn’t have the right to vote, we’d never have a Democratic president.  And last week, on Fox News, two hosts said young women don’t have the “life experiences” to be on juries or vote.  They should just stay home and look for men on or  Yes, we should leave the decision on the future of our country to elderly people who still pay with checks, think Ronald Reagan is on the ballot, and will probably die before seeing the results.

I think it’s time we rocked the boat, not “Rock the Vote.” “Turn out for what?!”


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