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What About This?

By Wayne William Cipriano

There seems to be an amazing amount of voter suppression going on in several states, and I do not like it! Very interesting that all the fraud that legitimate voters are being protected against adds up to a miniscule total – I’ve heard the fraud in voting is .0003% (three out of ten thousand). As with all numbers (and anything else I write) you want to check my accuracy – please us a reputable source. Any fraud is bad, of course, but, come on…

Also very interesting is that previous elections must not have had much fraud because only now are we hearing these calls for “much needed, long overdue reform”, and in those previous elections, when they came out the way the powers-that-be wanted them to, a little (or a lot) of fraud was acceptable.

Having ridiculed these “patriots” for their zeal in “tightening up” voter qualifications, election hours, locations and so on, I wish to speak to the one “reform” that is getting the most press: providing voters in line with water and food. I’m not sure how long I would have to stand in line to need a snack to go on waiting, but we have all heard of two or three or more hours waiting, sometimes in the sun (even in November) where a need for water might become important. And to older folks like me, bathroom availability might also become an important concern.

Can you ask those around you to hold your place in line for a while? Sure, but can’t we imagine problems arising from that practice as well?

I was surprised to hear that these rules set to drag off a Good Samaritan, kicking and screaming, who merely tried to give drink to an overheated thirsty voter, were based on existing similar rules, some even in our President’s home state. I’m going to go out on a limb here, trusting as I always am in the good intentions and intelligence of our elected lawmakers, and suggest how that can be.

Most election venues prohibit “electioneering”, the practice of supporting issues and candidates at or very near the polls on election day. I’m guessing that such prohibitions encompass not only speeches and discussions but include something like “gifts of any value”. That makes sense since, based on their behavior, most elected officials regard voters as ninnies with no memories, no abiding values, little intelligence, and so easily swayed that any gift might easily change or assure their vote.

Should these malleable voters be swayed in the direction of the present officeholder by a gift, that would be acceptable. But should the other guy or gal running for that office come up with a better gift….well, you see the problem.

Thus, if a regulation exists that prohibits “gifts of any value”, should it not be enforced at all times? Sure, it should. And food has a value, right? And what did you pay for a bottle of water from a convenience store last time? And so, we find the logical, if slightly whacked, reasoning behind criminalizing giving water (or food) to a waiting voter. And what of the (intrinsic) value of a Johnny-On-The-Spot to guys like me when provided by a candidate? And our gratitude for same.

There we have the ridiculous bounds to which slimeball politicians will go to rationalize voter suppression if it will enhance their election chances. And that to which others will go to decry such suppression should it benefit them.

Do we believe that all elections should be free and fair? Without any doubt!

Do we believe that only legitimate voters should cast a ballot? Absolutely!

Do we believe that voter suppression is a bad thing? Depends on who those depressed voters would have selected, doesn’t it.

Rather than argue how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, let’s do something worthy of our time: Once a voter becomes legitimate by age, location, service, etc. that person is provided with documentation that lasts until citizenship ceases (death, for example). And any person who interferes with the issuance of that documentation, or refuses to recognize it, goes to the slammer. Enough voting venues are provided so each serves no more than 10 voters or a reasonable amount of square miles, and no voter must wait more than one hour in line to vote. Anyone responsible for overcrowded venues, non-existent venues, or waiting times to vote longer than one hour goes to the slammer. Yes, all that is pie in the sky. Who would ever take voting to be so important that we would actually spend time and resources to assure it?

We can continue to prevent these voters or those voters from voting if it helps our side. We can continue to prevent this location or that location from being fairly represented if it helps us get what we want and stops them from getting what they want. We can erect more and more barriers to be sure we continue to win elections and they continue to lose them. We can do all that and pretend we do not hear the world laughing at our hypocrisy. 

Or we can adhere to the simplest democratic mandate: 

One Citizen, One Vote, Now.