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Your Vote is Your Voice

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The United States of America is founded upon the principles of democracy. It is founded upon the idea that people should and do have a say in what their government does and how the government acts. We are supposed to vote and elect representatives who act for us as they make their political career in Washington D.C. amidst those who represented us years before. It’s an important process, no doubt, but my question is why then is it so hard to vote?

On paper, the democratic idea of voting sounds poetic and moving. Every American has a voice and uses it by voting for other Americans who can sing for them. In a sense, we are electing candidates to do things for us (isn’t that America is all about?). This idea fits in well with the American lifestyle that seems centered on making tasks and jobs as quick and easy as possible. But here’s the problem: voting isn’t easy.

Voter turnout has been steadily declining since the 1960s. But wait, isn’t voting the direct way to demonstrate America’s democratic foundation? It’s supposed to be, but the irony of it all is that Americans aren’t voting. This isn’t to say that all of a sudden we don’t want our voices to be heard and represented. What is obvious to me is that we’re used to having things quick and easy and voting has become a bothersome task.

Consider this: presidential election campaigns have started years before the voting date, making them seem never-ending, and giving people the impression that they must follow from start to finish. Elections are on a Tuesday, when people are working and going to school; many people, especially the college-age generation, have to vote via absentee. For a country that likes the easy life, we sure make voting hard.

Presidential candidates start their campaigns up to two years in advance. It seems that as soon as a president is elected, he starts campaigning for the next election. I say give it a rest. The non-stop campaigning and the non-stop coverage of the campaigns sends the message that we need to be tuned into our TVs and radios to make sure we know who’s running, what they stand for, and that gosh darn it we better vote. It’s as if the American people are supposed to be in a non-stop state of voting. It’s exhausting and it’s pushing voters away.

Let’s say you live through the endless campaigning and still have the desire to vote… I hope you’ve cleared your schedule for the Tuesday on which elections are held. Tuesday. Why are elections held on a weekday? Doesn’t the government know that the majority of Americans are working all day trying to contribute to society and the economy? Yet, the cornerstone of democracy (voting) takes place, regardless. This means an American voter has to find a way to work around his/her schedule to make sure he/she  can vote, or vote after work, when it’s late and they are tired and just want to go home, or not vote at all. Would it be too much of a problem to move election days to the weekend? Or give voters two days to vote? If the government wants us to vote, they need to set election day at a time when it’s manageable and non-interfering to vote.

Along these same lines is the fact that many young Americans of voting age are in school, either high school or college. This means that even the young generation has to work around their classes, which can also be difficult, as it’s very likely that a student is also involved with extracurricular activities and may even have a job. College kids have plenty of time on the weekends to go out and vote, but during the week… not so much.

Furthermore, there is the whole problem of the absentee ballot. Most students go to college outside of their hometown town and county. Enter the absentee ballot, the most difficult way to vote. Every state has different deadlines to register for an absentee ballot, the process is complicated, and no one seems to know any information that can help a troubled voter out. My roommate is from out of state and was trying to figure out her absentee ballot. She went to three different locations to see about voting and at each location she was told something different, including someone telling her she couldn’t vote because she had missed the deadline. No wonder the voter turnout rate is low among young Americans, it’s so damn hard to vote. We cannot be expected to vote if we can’t even figure out how, especially if the people who are supposed to have the answers have none or the wrong information.

It amazes me that I live in a country which prides itself on having a government that is governed by the people, but the people aren’t getting out to decide how to be governed. Technology has made Americans' lives simpler in many aspects, so Americans are used to quick and easy. Why hasn’t the government taken this easy approach to life and transferred it to the voting process?

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About sarahgray

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Disenfranchisement is a bad thing.

    Thirteen campaign workers for Barack Obama yesterday yanked their voter registrations and ballots in Ohio after being warned by a prosecutor that temporary residents can’t vote in the battleground state.

    A dozen staffers – including Obama Ohio spokeswoman Olivia Alair and James Cadogan, who recently joined Team Obama – signed a form letter asking the Franklin County elections board to pull their names from the rolls.

    The letter – a copy of which was obtained by palestra.net, a Fox News affiliate – came a day after prosecutor Ron O’Brien publicly urged out-of-state campaign workers for both Obama and John McCain to “examine your conscience” before the elections board beings begins opening absentee ballots today.

    Earlier in the week, O’Brien spoke with lawyers for both camps and urged them to make sure their staffs met permanent-residency rules, or face possible felony charges.

    Also pulling his ballot yesterday was Hofstra University grad Jake Smith, an Obama volunteer who had voted in Knox County, Ohio.

    On Thursday, O’Brien cut a deal with 13 out-of-staters, including four from New York, who tossed out their already-cast ballots and admitted they didn’t meet residency requirements.

    I guess they didn’t know about residency requirements.

    Dan(Miller)

  • moon

    I do not agree with the basic premise of this article.

    The US of A was founded on the twin pillars of genocide against Native Americans and the enslavement of African-origin people.

    The Double Fs (Founding Fathers, in popular parlance) set up a system where only white, financially well-off MALES could vote.

    Women–God forbid.
    People of Other Colors–ditto.

    Folks without property–low roller whites (later referred to as White Trash) and other whites in indentured servitude could not vote.

    That is NOT a democracy, Sarah.

    Not even here on Blogcritics.

  • Sarah Gray

    yeah, I actually completely agree with you moon. the whole genocide against the native americans…ugh, don’t even get me started. same with slavery.

    I just LOVE how our country is founded upon the principles of contradiction and hypocrisy. Huffah.

  • Sarah Gray

    and the premise of this article isn’t necessarily talking about how democractic America is… it’s more about the fact that our main way to be a “democracy” is voting, yet it’s so hard to vote.

  • moon

    Well, then, Sarah, I suggest that your writing dynamited your point.

    I didn’t read past the first sentence–which I saw as both incorrect and jingoistic.

    Maybe you should have started your piece along the lines, of:

    Since voting is the key act in any democracy–even a simulated democracy–why is it so hard to vote in the US of A–a country said to have been founded on democratic principles?

    I might have actually read your piece.

    Now, I do admit, that I am not exactly a typical reader–I read so many thousands of words every day that I am very choosy about which ones they are.

  • Sarah Gray

    fair enough, fair enough.

    your suggestion of what my first sentence should be is what I was getting at, so perhaps I could have worded it better. regardless, I wasn’t trying to say America is a true democracy.

    and since you aren’t a typical reader, thanks for stopping by… even if you weren’t satisfied with this article.

  • Arch Conservative

    yeah, I actually completely agree with you moon. the whole genocide against the native americans…ugh, don’t even get me started. same with slavery.

    SO what?

    That was 200 years or so ago.

    Is every American citizen supposed to walk around feeling guilty about the natives?

    Do I as a white person owe something to black people because my ancestors MAY have kept their’s as slaves 150-200 years ago?

    There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging our nation’s black marks and injustices so that we may learn from them but we shouldn’t be bringing them up every five seconds and suggesting that they are somehow the most pressing influence on what’s going on in our nation today. They’re not!

    You guys must belong to the Michelle Obama School of History.

  • moon

    Arch,

    You effing betcha.

    Not only do I expect you to walk around feeling guilty–I expect that you (plural) set up a truth commission like is done in other countries where genocide occurred and:

    1. Assign the responsibility
    2. Accept it and
    3. Redress the damages.

    And I expect you to do the same in regard to slavery.

    Until then, Gringolandia is just a pile of steaming hypocrisy.

    I am done for today. I have salsas to make.

  • moon

    Actually, I am NOT quite done.

    Sarah,

    The first rule of journalism is the LEAD GOES FIRST. That’s why it’s called a lead.

    Then folks can make an informed decision about reading your piece.

    Cleverness and cuteness and trying to mix things up do not make the cut.

  • Arch Conservative

    1. Assign the responsibility (the responsibility lies with a bunch of people that have been dead for over 150 years not any American citizens living today)

    2. Accept it and ( I accept that it happened, it was a horrible thing, and now it’s time to live in the present and deal with what’s going on now.”

    3. Redress the damages. (The damages? The damges were done to another group of people that have been dead for over 150 years so it’s impossible to “redress the damages”

    Ditto for slavery

    If you insist on living in the past I guess each an ever citizen in every European nation owes some big bucks to the nations of Russia, England and the USA for saving them from Hitler huh?

    If I have to give some money to some black guy in America as slave reparations then some guy named Lars in Norway owes me because my grandafther served in WW2 and saved his grandfather from a horrible fate 60 years ago.

    PAY UP LARS!

    See how incredibly f-ing stupid that sounds? [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • Clavos

    And do not abuse my posting name, either–that is also verboten here.

    Which one, li’l gal?

    Marthe Raymond?

    Moonraven?

    Cuervodeluna?

    moon?

    You’ve used ALL of them as your “porting name.” Any of them is valid on this site.

  • Lisa Solod Warren
  • Arch Conservative

    I didn’t know using your real name constituted a violation of BC policies Moonraven.

    I am in no way responsible for the acts that are being discussed.

    I doubt it.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    The US is a republic, not a democracy. In fact, the citizens are not supposed to be able to vote for president at all. The state legislatures are supposed to pick the electors who then pick the president with ZERO direct involvement of the public.

    Citizens are allowed to vote because of a wave of populism which began in the 1820s and resulted in state laws which linked the constitutional authority of the legislatures to the popular vote. Those laws could easily be rescinded and we could return to a more equitable and less easily manipulated system where all of this partisan bullshit was eliminated.

    Dave

  • Jordan Richardson

    A few thoughts:

    Arch:

    That was 200 years or so ago.

    Give or take…

    Moon-whatever:

    Cleverness and cuteness and trying to mix things up do not make the cut.

    Cleverness and cuteness >>>>>> bitterness and bitchiness.

    Dave:

    The US is a republic, not a democracy.

    Yep.

    That is all.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Moon,

    I believe PERSONAL ATACKS are not allowed here.

    …moments later…

    If you were here I would do to you what I am going to do in five minutes to the tomates.

    Any reason why someone should take your admonition seriously? Especially given your history around here?

    Also,

    Your unwillingness (singularly or collectively) to accept what you did and redress it and your gleeful gloating over not effing having to do so is why I hold all Gringos in contempt and do not live in Gringolandia.

    I’m wondering, do you consider children guilty of the sins of their parents? I have trouble accepting the whole collective responsibility argument, mainly because it assigns guilt to those who are not guilty under any standards. People can’t admit to what they haven’t done, they can’t apologize for wrongs they didn’t commit, and they can’t offer amends for something someone else did generations ago.

    There IS a sense of responsibility here, but ascribing it to every “gringo” is simply wrong and exposes the bitterness that you’ve obviously decided to make a big part of your life. It’s a shame really, as you’re probably better at making salsa and hammering tomatoes. Or so you say.

  • bliffle

    Nobody else reads Archie: don’t encourage him M.

  • Cindy D

    ES&S Touch-Screen Votes Now Flipping in TX Too!

    The latest reports today of ES&S vote-flipping come from Palo Pinto County, TX, where two voters — one of them an alternate election judge and office manager of the Palo Pinto County Democratic Headquarters — saw straight-ticket Democratic votes flipped to straight-ticket Republican votes. Two times for the first person, and three times for the alternate election judge!

    Great video footage at VideoTheVote.org

    Stealing America Documentary

  • moon

    Bliffle,

    He has never needed any encouragement.

    To the other Enfants du Paradis (look it up, anti-intellectuals): So long as I am not posting under more than one moniker–which I am not, not being Dave Nalle (The Voice of the People)–I expect that no matter how cosy you are with the Powers that Be that you respect my posting name, which is moon.

    Anything else is a violation of Blogcritics rules.

    Also, referring to me by the name Marthe Raymond is taking liberties which are only permitted to the poster Ruvy. The rest of you were either party to the personal attacks which I received under gthat name in 2006 OR to the subsequent invasion of my privacy by Franco and Clavos (both Nalle dopplegangers)–or else you are folks with whom I have no history of interaction and therefore have no need or justification whatsoever to violate my privacy.

    Jordan: I do velieve in collective guilt, and I see no reason why you should add to that collective guilt by making abusive comments against my person, either as a Native American or as a person who exercises her life choices based on HER beliefs, interests, needs, wants, whims and ideals–not on what fascist Gringos tell her to do.

    You have some friggin’ nerve.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Hey! Both Cindy and I posted incredible links to voting problems to which no one responded. At least read them. Voting may be a real issue here. Can we be sure every vote will be counted? I worry………. a lot.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Moon, please point me to the abusive comments I made regarding your person. Also, I’m not an American. I don’t live in “Gringolandia” or whatever the hell you call it.

    You have some friggin’ nerve.

    And?

  • Cindy D

    Why did/do vote switching anomalies result in Democrat votes switching to Repubican candidates

    That Stealing America documetary link details the vote switching that was reported in 2004.

  • moon

    This is abusive, misogynist and it remains so independently of whether you are a Gringo or not.

    “Moon-whatever:

    Cleverness and cuteness and trying to mix things up do not make the cut.

    Cleverness and cuteness >>>>>> bitterness and bitchiness.”

    If I had meant to write bitterness and bitchiness to the OP, I would have done so. I am extremely precise when selecting my words.

    Condescension from folks of your ilk also doesn’t cut it in journalism–or anyplace else.

    Condescend to somebody who gives a flying fart about what YOU think.

  • moon

    A pointed question well worth expanding, Cindy, as it has NOT happened the other way–where votes for Republicans were transformed into votes for Democrats.

    The same thing was an issue in the 2006 presidential election here in Mexico–except it was the case that paper ballots for Lopez Obrador were counted as votes for Calderon. And in a highly significant number of cases, too.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Moon, this is the comments section. It’s about as far from journalism as you get. Indeed, it’s a fucking nuthouse. Just look around.

    I absolutely was not condescending. I was truthful. I would much rather read the rantings of someone who wanted to be cute and clever than someone who allowed bitterness and bitchiness to guide his or her daily existence. But that’s just me. What YOU would have written to the “OP” wasn’t my concern.

    Now you said my comments were abusive, but you do little to elaborate on that. I’m sure people that actually ARE abused are thrilled at your cavalier attitude towards abuse, as somebody making a comment about your general attitude (which is not something you deny, by the way) is considered abusive. Moreover, you claim it was misogynist?

    What. The. Fuck?

    What I said has nothing, NOTHING, to do with women or hatred of women. Indeed, I would argue that my wife would be very insulted by your inference at this point and time, but I fear you’d suggest she fall into a coma or “fake paralysis.” Indeed, your words are often so filled to the brim with hatred and misguided self-pity that you become impossible to bear. You are a big part of why my posts in politics have become more sparing. You, and that I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about…

    But every so often, whether you’re a man, a woman, a Gringo, or just a flat-out douchebag, it pays to fucking calm down.

    Seriously.

  • pablo

    Lisa comment 20

    “Hey! Both Cindy and I posted incredible links to voting problems to which no one responded. At least read them. Voting may be a real issue here. Can we be sure every vote will be counted? I worry………. a lot.”

    I will respond Lisa. Unfortunately I do not bring good news. Every vote will be counted, just exactly the way that those that made the voting machines decide. If you have not seen Stephen Spoonamore video on Diebold electronic voting machines, I highly suggest you video.google it. He is an expert in the field of cyber security, as well as a republican. Should you decide to watch his video, you will be shocked. He asserts that in point of fact these machines were created to steal elections, and he goes on to say how in very lucid detail.

    Sorry I could not bring more optimistic news Lisa.

  • Cannonshop

    If you can’t be bothered to set aside time to vote, if you’re too ‘busy’, or too burned out, or too apathetic to do your civic duty, maybe…

    You shouldn’t be voting.

    Voting should be hard-you’re making a decision with your vote that affects Other People. If it’s too much of a pain in the ass to go vote on your lunch break, or skip that extra set of pilates, or turn of the goddamn tee-vee and go to a polling place, sign your name, and spend five minutes marking a card, then maybe, you shouldn’t be marking the card, because you obviously don’t give a rip about the outcome.

    I’m sorry, but government is the power to coerce, to force, to compel OTHER PEOPLE to do what you want. If you’re too gods-damned lazy/timid/limp to go excercise your franchise, then you probably shouldn’t be-because if it’s such a pain in the ass to pay attention to where your polling place is, if it’s such a ‘burden’ to find fifteen, twenty minutes to go and decide who’s going to be meddling in your life for the next two to six years (or longer), if making your voice heard on citizen initiatives you may (or may not) agree with is just such a drag, and you can’t with all the great shows on teevee and the boss gets cranky and your kids have to get to the soccer game…

    Maybe, if it’s too much trouble, you should let people who can MAKE THE TIME do the deciding. Because if VOTING on TUESDAY is too big a burden, it’s going to be too big a job on Sunday, too. Or Saturday, or Friday, or Monday.

    If you’re not committed to participating in your government, then it’s your own damn fault, and you have NO ROOM TO COMPLAIN.

  • pablo

    Cannon,

    I could not disagree more with your above comment about voting, or not voting as it were.

    The late George Carling said it so much better than me however.

    George Carlin on Voting

    Oh and Im not being facetious, I quite literally agree with Carlin.

  • Cannonshop

    Do you promise, Pablo??

  • Cannonshop

    Let me be clearer, Pablo (I hit the “Publish” button too quickly)…

    Voting is Optional. You have the right to vote, you have the right NOT to vote. If you don’t WANT to vote, you don’t have to. It isn’t like not-paying-your-taxes where they throw you in jail if you don’t.

    Nobody’s going to jail for not voting (yet).

    But people, please-if you think your vote matters, then you vote, because it matters. You don’t stay home and bitch because it’s on a Tuesday, or because it’s raining outside, or because it doesn’t square with your schedule in a convenient way. If it’s important to you, then you do it, and if it isn’t, then you shouldn’t.

    Simple. Easy. Clear. This isn’t like having solve a quadratic equation to pull the lever or mark the card (or tap the little screen with the little pointer), if you think voting is important, then it’s important enough to make time for it, and if it isn’t important enough to make time for it, Then it’s not important, so don’t bitch about it being inconvenient.

  • moon

    Jordan:

    Please learn to read and write before you fly off the handle with anymore abusive comments to me.

    I don’t know where you are, but if you are in Gringolandia I believe that literacy tutors are available at most public libraries.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    If you’re not committed to participating in your government, then it’s your own damn fault, and you have NO ROOM TO COMPLAIN.

    So, basically, you’re telling me that I need to forfeit my 1st Amendment Right to free speech because I don’t necessarily believe in our voting system. I’m not a fan of the Electoral College.

    Maybe all the people who didn’t serve their country,especially during wartime,have no room to complain about the war…Right?

  • pablo

    Brian,

    Very well put. I love how some of these guys like Canon operate. We have a two party monopoly system run by the same group/s CFR, Bilderbergs, RIIA. Yet those of us that do not choose to participate in the process, are the ones at fault, i e we have no right to gripe. This is the biggest line of bs in the world.

    I decided several years ago to stop voting for one simple reason. I will not insult my intelligence by giving credence and spending the necessary time to participate (vote) in a system that does not work. I maintain that it is the chief function of a legitimate government, to show in a clear and concise fashion that it derives its power from the consent of the governed, ie, the voting works. It doesnt, its fixed, it is a scam. We now live in a country of simulated representative democracy, its a sham, plain and simple. And as long as you bozos (not you Brian) continute to participate in a system that is lying to you about your sovereign right to vote, we will never get anywhere.

    Fix the goddamned machines, show me that my vote fucking counts, then perhaps Canon bub– you will have a leg to stand on, until that time you only show your ignorance to me.

  • pablo

    Oh and yes I will continue to complain, cajole, ridicule, and say my two sense worth anytime I fucking feel like it.

  • moon

    I haven’t voted since 1984–when I wrote in Jesse Jackson as a protest against the non-entities being offered up by Big Oil and Big Guns.

    For those who justify their voting–saying that it’s not wrong to hold one’s nose and vote for the lesser of evils–are full of it.

    An inconvenient vote isn’t counted anyway.

    And it really doesn’t matter whther it is WILLFULLY thrown into a garbage can, counted for the candidate NOT voted for, or just not counted.

    The effect is exactly the same–and the sucker that voted is complicit in the fraudulent process.

  • pablo

    Moon,

    I agree wholeheartedly with you statement with the exception of Mr. Jackson. He is just another new world order hack, and a member of the CFR. The left/right paradigm is dead, and only used by the ruling elite to further their globalist agenda. You can always tell the real patriots in the so called liberal establishment from the phonies. The phonies never will attack the real underlying cause of despotism. The FED for one, which is in fact a private corporation that has a license to print money out of nothing, usually for their foreign benefactors. They also will accept without question the blatant lie about 9/11, and do everything in their power to discredit anyone who questions authority.

  • moon

    Pablo,

    I wouldn’t vote for him now–but on election day 1984 I was on the table having an acupuncture treatment when the doc asked if I had voted. When I said no, he refused to go on with the treatment until I got dressed and voted at the polling place across the street. So I was over a barrel.

    I voted for Jesse because I knew him back in Chicago in the old days of PUSH.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    While I sympathize with those who find it inconvenient to vote, and wish they could find it within themselves to try a bit harder, I am a tad more distressed with the way in which military absentee ballots are apparently being disregarded. Military personnel serving in foreign countries, particularly in combat zones, possibly face more inconveniences than students attending college in the U.S. Only rarely are the latter being shot at on a regular basis. Yet,

    “It’s dismal,” said Rosemary Rodriguez, who works for the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission, a non-partisan group. “These are the voters that are in some cases preserving our liberties and out there with their lives on the line.”

    Rodriguez estimates that in the last general election, only about 30 percent of overseas military ballots were actually returned and counted.

    “It’s disenfranchising our military and frankly I think it’s very unpatriotic,”

    I agree.

    Dan(Miller)

  • moon

    Dan,

    Add up all the absentee ballots that were never counted and it would be a whole new ball game.

    Which is why it’s inconvenient for the powers-that-be to count them.

    So they don’t.

  • http://jetsnewsviews.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Dan, there was a big controversy here in Columbus Ohio (state capital) about how our former Secretary of State (R) made it a policy to count absentee/military ballots if the regular election tally was close.

  • http://jetsnewsviews.blogspot.com/ Jet

    He was using excuses like some military ballots don’t come with postmarks etc. and also absentee ballots that were turned in by hand to the elections board office because they were downtown anyway were discarded for the same reason-no post mark. Blackwell ran for governor, thank god he didn’t win.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Thanks for the info, Jet.

    Now, however, things are getting a bid easier for some folks in Ohio.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A federal judge in Ohio has ruled that counties must allow homeless voters to list park benches and other locations that aren’t buildings as their addresses.

    Voter residency might be a bit difficult to verify, but then verifying the address of a witness to a military ballot would, obviously, be more burdensome without specification of the address on a ballot which does not call for a witness address.

    Somehow, I think some priorities have got screwed up.

    Dan(Miller)

  • RON

    IN HIS BOOK AUDACITY OF HOPE OBAMA SAYS( I WILL STAND WITH THE MUSLIMS SHOULD THE POLITICAL WINDS SHIFT IN AN UGLY DIRECTION.) WHAT DOES HE MEAN?

  • Zedd

    Ron,

    He means, when people become ugly and mistreat people because of their religion, he will stand with them. Why do you ask? As a true lover of freedom and democracy, wouldn’t you?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Ron,

    In neither of his published books will you find that quote. What he does say, in The Audacity of Hope, is that he will stand with American citizens of Arab and Pakistani origin should their country round on them the way it did Japanese-Americans during World War II.

    You can read his words in their proper context here.

    But I suspect that you don’t want to.

  • Cindy D

    Dan,

    That is standard practice. Not just in Ohio. As well it should be. Your voter registration is verified by either your Driver License/Sate ID OR your social security number.

    Next election I am planning to help register the homeless. Or does someone think because you don’t have a home, you shouldn’t be allowed to vote?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Cindy D,

    I don’t know about Ohio driver licenses or Ohio State IDs. They are quite possibly reasonable indicators of residence.

    On the other hand, I do not understand how a social security number alone would establish one as a current resident of a state or, for that matter, of a Congressional district. At most, social security number verification (if pursued) might show that the holder of a social security number once gave a particular address, perhaps many years previously. I got my social security number back in the early or mid 1950s, and despite living elsewhere later, submitted a change of address only when I began receiving social security benefits.

    In order to vote in a given state, it is necessary (with very few exceptions none of which are here pertinent) to reside there currently and to have done so for a prescribed length of time; in order to vote in a given Congressional district, the same is necessary.

    Although I have hardly anything against people who live on park benches or other homeless people, I can’t think of any valid reason to hold them to less stringent residency requirements than people who can establish with some modest degree of confidence that they are currently residents and that they have been residents for whatever length of time the state may require.

    Dan(Miller)

  • bliffle

    There are perhaps 100,000 americans who rove the country without having a real home. They live in RVs fulltime, and many never stop at a proper RV park, they “boondock”. Many get checks that are deposited directly to a bank so they can withdraw from any ATM. They have no permanent address.

    What do we propose for them?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Don’t most of them vote absentee in their last location of permanent residence? If people who live overseas can vote, your parkies, tinkers and travellers ought to be able to do the same.

    Dave

  • Cannonshop

    #48 They’ve got valid driver’s licenses, don’t they? (if they don’t, they better be ‘roving’ on foot in most states, for in I believe all fifty if you don’t have a license somewhere, you aren’t allowed to drive) those licenses (if I recollect accurately) have to be renewed periodically. MOST states require some sort of verification of residency before they let you renew your out-of-state license, this is usually some kind of bill or postmarked mail or somesuch (I ended up using a gas bill and rent reciepts when I turned a Louisiana license into a Washington State Driver’s License upon my return.)

    Even if it’s a P.O. Box with a forwarding address, a “Rover” can have their absentee ballots posted to them, they just can’t have absentee ballots from all fifty states posted (that’d be fraud! one vote in each statewide plus fifty votes for national?). Again, if it’s worth it to you to vote, then it’s worth the extra trouble. If it isn’t, then don’t bother.

    It’s become kind of a tradition since the nineties for some Secretaries of State to disregard military absentee ballots-usually either SecStates for states like Washington, or Democrats in states where military absentees might actually impact the election.

    The Virginia case is particularly telling, as the SecState there went in and personally made sure that some inmates in prison got THEIR ballots, and that said ballots were the new, updated version, after making sure that Military Personnel’s ballots would not be counted.

    It was, after all, too much trouble to make sure the guys being shot at in a foreign land had a voice in their home-state’s governance equal to that of convicted criminals serving time. If the “Legality” were that serious an issue, he should have had Staffers working with Base personnel and the DoD to get the correct ballots out to the troopers (and National Guardsmen) so that their votes would be “on the way” in time. It’s called “Federal Express” or “UPS Overnight”.

    He had more that two weeks before the election (after the announcement), and probably ample time before that to straighten it out…

  • Cindy D

    Dan,

    RE # 47: Where you say, In order to vote in a given state, it is necessary (with very few exceptions none of which are here pertinent) to reside there currently and to have done so for a prescribed length of time; in order to vote in a given Congressional district, the same is necessary.

    I don’t live in Georgia or Indiana so I have no idea what other hoops they have you jump through there. But generally, you don’t have to “prove your residency”. When you sign the registration you make a declaration swearing to your residency. This applies to both homed and homeless equally. No special exceptions needed.

    According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, you do not have to have a home address to register to vote in any state. Some states require a mailing address (which does not have to be where you live) in order to send you ballots, voter cards, etc. Some states, like Arizona and Nebraska, allow homeless people to use county courthouses or county clerks’ offices as their mailing address.

    At the Polls:

    Pursuant to federal law, namely the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), first-time registrants in all states who register by mail must provide a driver’s license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number on their voter registration form. If a registrant has neither a current driver’s license number nor Social Security number, then the registrant will be assigned a voter ID number once her or his registration is approved. In addition, first-time mail-in registrants must provide an identification document at the polls, unless a registrant submits either his or her driver’s license number or the last four digits of his or her Social Security number when registering and the accuracy of the information has been verified by election officials. Acceptable identification for first-time mail-in registrants includes a current and valid photo identification, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter. Since first-time mail-in registrants may have to provide some sort of identifying documentation at the polls, homeless registrants without any of the documents listed above may want to register to vote in person at their local registration office.

    Some states have stricter identification requirements than HAVA, such as requiring all voters to present a photo ID to register or to vote.

    National Conference of State Legislatures – Requirements for Voter Identification

    This site has legislation as of Oct 23, your Ohio case hasn’t been added yet. It also shows what is required in the 24 states that are stricter than HAVA. Note that makes 26 states that use HAVA ID requirements.

    In no state is a voter who cannot produce identification turned away from the polls—all states have some sort of recourse for voters without identification to cast a vote. However, in Georgia and Indiana, voters without ID vote a provisional ballot, and must return to election officials within a few days and show a photo ID in order for their ballots to be counted.

    See: National Coalition for the Homeless’s –
    Legal and Practical Barriers to Voting for Homeless People (All quotes are from this link, unless otherwise directly linked in the comment.)

    See: National Coalition for the Homeless’s – 2008-2009 Voter Rights for topics such as:

    State-by-State Chart of Homeless People’s Voting Rights

    Court Decisions on Homeless People’s Voting Rights

  • Cindy D

    In NJ we have a number to call, 1-877-NJVOTER, where you can actually find out if your absentee or provisional ballot has been counted. At least that is what is claimed. How well it works I have no idea. Maybe other states have this?

  • bliffle

    Some of those wanderers find the most felicitous state to setup a virtual residence, like South Dakota. There are maildrop services that can catch mail and arrange forwarding.

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