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As Long as We Remember...

February 23, 2006

Casting Doubt …and Votes

Chris Cavey

A democracy is a government structure where the power lies within a numerical majority to make binding decisions on behalf of the entire group. This is the reason we citizens trudge to the local poll to cast our vote.

It’s unbelievable what is happening in Annapolis with this core participation in voicing your opinion on Election Day. A short review of how perverted the politicos have become and how little they respect our opinions, which we citizens voice as votes at the polling place, will open a lot of eyes.

The Wall Street Journal stated on February 9: “It should normally be difficult to pick the worst state legislature in America, but Maryland's is way out in front.” Don’t look for this quote to appear on campaign literature for legislators seeking re-election this fall!

Absentee voting on Election Day with any excuse, provisional voting at any precinct on demand, voting by convicted felons, and an all time favorite, early voting, are the main reasons for our lead in the “worst state legislature” category. These concepts, many believe, could lead to massive corruption and fraud in the election process.

Convicted two-time-looser felons voting? Do you really want this? Perhaps the effect on a statewide race might be minimal; but what about the local jurisdictions? Can the vote of a prison population change the outcome of a county or municipal election? Certainly!

What about a prison funding initiative or change in a local law concerning criminal justice? How about the election of a district or circuit court judge? I don’t think the Founding Fathers had this in mind.

Absentee voting without limitation of reasons: there’s a good way to churn-up a little fraud. In the Interim Report of The Governor’s Commission on Administration of Elections, State Board of Elections, Chairman Gilles Burger stated that the board wasn’t pushing this idea. The previous two election cycles showed voter turnout was up statewide. Civic minded citizens of Baltimore County voted at 83%. This absentee initiative only benefits the folks who are too lazy to drive to the polls – and those who want to cheat.

Provisional voting – on demand. This is the vote often cited as part of “vote early, vote often.” Maryland will now out do even Chicago at the height of their prior corruption. It will lead to mass confusion and a count-a-thon that will make Florida’s punch card ballot fiasco in 2000 look like a unanimous decision.

Here’s the plan on Election Day. If you enjoy voting, get your employee identification card has your picture and your name and get in your car for a fun day. You need not have an address just your I.D. card with your picture and the name of your employer. Get a map of all the precincts in your county or region and spend the day driving to each location voting for all your favorites. At each you demand a provisional ballot, after all your face matches your picture I.D., so you have met the requirement in all jurisdictions!

Bet James Madison is whirling in his grave…glad he’s not from Maryland.

Last is early voting. In their testimony before the “Governor’s Commission,” experts stated that other states with early voting had no increase in voter turn-out, that only the political parties and candidates favored early voting because it freed up their volunteers all day.

The commission report said State Election Supervisor Linda Lamone “emphasized both her staff and the local election boards and officials from across the state had concerns about the administrative feasibility of implementing early voting for 2006…” According to the report she later noted that “state and local officials will do all they can to implement early voting successfully.” All they can? Doesn’t that make you feel comfortable? Hearing a state bureaucrat tell you a state agency will do all they can? I know I feel better already. Thanks, Ms. Lamone.

How impractical is the idea of early voting in a state that is in the midst of questioning the reliability and security of their current electronic voting system? Who is watching the machines?

In the large counties where by law they must place at least three locations, who decides? How much additional tax money does this cost? Are we going to pay more for a few party hacks to vote early so they can cram campaign materials in voters’ faces all day on Election Day? Spending extra dollars and manpower so the people who want to cheat have the ability to vote five days in advance is going just a little overboard.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson thought it was beneath them to even “campaign.” The idea that someone would cheat in an election would be reason for a duel. Yes sir, it would be pistols at sunrise on the White House lawn. God – or whoever was the quickest and most accurate – would determine the outcome.

Some of the Founding Fathers were rascals and faltered in certain areas of their personal lives, just like we do; but they knew the importance of a vote in a self-governing society. They held this freedom in the highest esteem.

Marylanders have fought in wars to save our freedoms. We are George Washington’s “Old Line State,” a distinction of honor for braving the cause as the last defense of the freedom-fighting revolutionaries.

Maryland has had many citizens who have stood up for the rights of citizens of all faiths, ethnicities, and racial backgrounds. Agree philosophically or not, at least all voices were heard on an equal basis at the polling place on Election Day. Sometimes we citizens made big changes by gathering our votes together and making a statement to those who would govern us.

Think about how these new laws lack thought and promote only more doubt in the system. We should have had legislation that would promote voter turn-out, create greater access for those who are in need while securing the integrity of our voice in government – the vote we will cast on Election Day.

The Wall Street Journal is pretty close to accurate. Perhaps each elected official should be reminded that many Founding Fathers had a salutary ending on their letters of…”Your Most Humble and Obedient Servant,” not “Vote early, Vote often.”

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