Thursday, November 08, 2012

Voting obstacles got to go

As I sat yesterday with my Prop. 34 comrades kicking around the defeat (there'll be more here about that campaign eventually, but not yet), I found myself blurting something I didn't expect: "I could imagine throwing myself into the struggle for voting rights in the next few years ..."

Uh-oh. I've said things like that before and, at least I as remember it, sometimes that has led to long term, arduous commitments. It is not clear to me what that means, except that I know that this struggle needs a lot more than just lawyers. Like everything meaningful in a democracy, it needs broad citizen engagement. So expect further exploration of voting practices, processes and possibilities here for awhile.

Here's a data set from Tuesday:
Four years ago patterns were similar.

More than eight in 10 voters said their polling places were very well run; seven in 10 said poll workers performed excellently; and less than 1% rated their service as "poor."

Black voters, however, reported waiting in lines for an average of 29 minutes to vote on Election Day and 43 minutes to cast ballots before Election Day, as 34 states allow. That was more than twice the average wait for others: 13 minutes on Election Day and 20 minutes when voting early.

Something happening here ...

When I had the privilege of providing technical assistance to left poltiical parties learning how to contest elections in El Salvador, these very sharp folks had a concise description for the procedural hurdles their constituents encountered in trying to vote. They called registration snafus and apparent infrastructural failures "strategic incompetence" by the right-wing rulers.

I suspect this country needs national standards to root out local electoral strategic incompetence by whoever the powers-may-be at any given moment.

1 comment:

rgilboa said...

The continuing attempts to keep people from voting needs to be stopped. From the creation of specific voter id requirements,the redrawing of legislative districts, the non-functioning or reprogrammed voting machines, the long lines of voting locationsand then short closures, all are just a current version of the voting taxes of the 50's. All of this crap can be stopped by a systemtic review of such behavior and then fderal laws and enforcement to stop it. Something for the National Guard and UN to supervise and observe.Sounds a a good avocation for you Jan!

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