A message to all the old fogeys in FL

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Merlin1047, Oct 21, 2004.

  1. Merlin1047
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    Merlin1047 Senior Member

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    Perhaps all those Florida voters who screwed up their ballots last election will stay home. If not, perhaps they'll take a break from shuffleboard, bingo or soaking their dentures in gin and try to figure out how to decipher ballots that fourth grade children managed to use without problems. Or will they prove once again that absolutely nothing can be made idiot proof.

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    http://www.suntimes.com/output/will/cst-edt-geo21.html

    Voters have a responsibility to follow instructions

    October 21, 2004

    BY GEORGE WILL


    The campaign is culminating with reckless charges about the possibility -- actually, the certainty; such is life -- that there will be imperfections in recording perhaps 110 million votes. The charges are couched in the language of liberalism: much talk about voters' rights, no talk about voters' responsibilities, and dark warnings of victimization -- ''disenfranchisement'' and ''intimidation.''

    Consider punch-card voting systems, and ''overvotes'' and ''undervotes.'' Overvoting occurs when voters mark their ballots for two candidates for a single office. Undervoting occurs when voters do not mark a choice among the candidates for an office.

    Only 12.4 percent of America's registered voters live in jurisdictions that use punch-card systems of the sort that Florida made infamous in 2000. But 72 percent of Ohioans do. Last Sunday the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reported, beneath the headline ''Punch Cards May Hurt Blacks,'' that such ballots cast with no vote recorded for president were in 2000 a higher percentage in black communities (5 percent) than in other communities (under 2 percent).

    The state is being sued about ''racial disparities'' resulting from punch-card voting in three counties. However, the Dispatch reports several scholars' assertions that race is not the salient variable. Higher levels of unrecorded presidential preferences supposedly correlate with low levels of income and education, appearing also in the predominantly white Appalachian counties of southeastern Ohio.

    Punch cards, the Dispatch says, are ''prone'' to overvotes and undervotes ''because so many things can go wrong.'' For example, if ''voters do not correctly insert the card into the voting device, the wrong holes can be punched.'' But is it unreasonable to expect voters to perform those simple manipulations? Are they victims -- disenfranchised -- if they do not? Surely not in Ohio, where printed guides to punch-card voting are supplemented by instructional videos on the Internet, and where instructions and instructors will be available at polling places.

    Granted, punch-card systems, like everything else in life, are not infallible. They can -- remember Florida's hanging and dimpled (a k a pregnant) chads? -- inadequately record the intent of a voter, particularly one who is careless about the task of handling the simple punch-card mechanism. But how can punch cards be blamed for overvotes?

    And how does invalidating such a vote constitute ''disenfranchisement''? When poll taxes, meretricious literacy tests, hostile sheriffs and mobs stood between blacks and ballots, blacks were disenfranchised. To be disenfranchised is to have something done to you, not to do something to yourself.

    Regarding undervotes, voters can always check to make sure they have clearly punched holes. Furthermore, they have a right -- and are often right to exercise the right -- to undervote by skipping certain choices on the ballot.

    In some Florida jurisdictions this year, electronic touch-screen voting machines will react irritably to undervotes. If a voter skips a choice on the ballot, a message -- e.g., ''You have not made a choice on this race'' -- appears on the screen three times. What more must be done to deal with the undervote problem -- which often is not a problem but a sensible preference?

    Should there be more severe prompts? The first might be: ''I'm just a machine, but shouldn't you be marking more boxes?'' The second might be: ''Hey, dolt -- yes, you: The right to vote is precious, so even though you neither know nor care about a particular contest on the ballot, vote for someone -- anyone -- even if your vote is random.'' Finally, the machine could threaten: ''Cast more votes or you will wake up with a horse's head in your bed.''

    Would such growls from voting machines satisfy liberals that an undervote need not represent either a remediable flaw in the voter or in the technology? Can liberals accept that an undervote usually reflects either voter carelessness, for which the voter suffers the condign punishment of an unrecorded preference, or it reflects the voter's choice not to express a preference? No, otherwise they would not be liberals, obsessive about rights, blind to responsibilities.

    On Monday a Colorado judge upheld a new requirement that voters are responsible for producing identification before being allowed to vote. And Florida's Supreme Court rejected the argument that voters are disenfranchised by not counting provisional ballots they cast in the wrong precincts.

    Imagine that: Voters are responsible for proving who they are and knowing where they are supposed to vote. There will be charges that both rulings permit ''intimidation,'' which in today's liberal lexicon is a synonym for linking rights to responsibilities.
     
  2. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    Merlin............ Dentures soaking??..........Spoken like a true Floridian......... :happy2:

    What a sorry mess this may become?
     
  3. Merlin1047
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    Merlin1047 Senior Member

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    Sorry - still have my own teeth and I don't live in FL.

    Besides, if I did have dentures, I'd soak them in bourbon. Can't stand gin. Tastes like you're chewing on a pine tree.
     
  4. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    I was just kidding Merlin, I wasn't referring to you not having teeth, more to the colorful descriptive you used. :)
     
  5. Working Man
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    Why allow Floridians to vote early??? Why are they so special??

    Stupid people are allowed to vote in the US.. It stinks. but I don't think it is limited to Florida. All states, cities, and towns have a segment of their population that is allowed to participate in the voting process that shouldn't. For the rest of us, these people would be better encouraged to stay home and watch Dopra Winbag.

    I feel that a major difference exists when a person votes for something, or someone, because they believe in their hearts and minds that it is the right thing to do. Even if I don't agree with those voters, they did it their way and that is their right. However,,, it is quite another scenario when ignorant people vote for someone/something because they are too stupid to know the issues for themselves, or are not willing to learn about the issues. These people vote as they are instructed to by others. So, it is no wonder that their chads were not punched through, or were dangling. They simply didn't take the process seriously, or are incapable of doing so.

    Dumbing down the process so that the system is idiot proof will not solve the problem of the idots showing up to vote. It simply might make more idiots feel entitled to vote, which under the constitution, they are.

    The dumbing down of the US society is occuring right under the citizen's noses. I doubt that the average person in the US cares. That is the sad part.

    Who are these voters? I would suspect that they are the ones who feel Howard Stern is their "final answer" when asked "Where do you learn about important social and econonmic issues?" I would guess that anyone who thinks that "reality TV" is real, and tht exposed belly buttons on jail bait is just a phase kids go through, or anyone who thinks Madonna is an entertainment icon. These people go through life like a lemming that follows the leader, right off a cliff.
     
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