Land of the Hanging Chad Moving to new address

September 12, 2006

Land of the Hanging Chad has a new home.

 

Please join us there for more discussion of politics in Chadville — Palm Beach County, Florida.

 

Posts earlier than this one are duplicated at the new address.

Please post comments there.

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Rainy Day = Low Voter Turnout — BALONEY!

September 11, 2006

There’s a letter to the editor in today’s Sun-Sentinel blaming the weather on low voter turnout and even for a specific candidate’s loss.

His followers were mostly seniors and they could not get to the polls because of the rain.

Come off it, boys and girls. That kind of copout or the one about election day being the day after Labor Day will result in another 2,4,6,8 — you name it — years of more of what we got now.

The seniors had 2 weeks of early voting — lots of sunny days and some weekends — to exercise their voting privileges.

They and everyone else who didn’t vote for the above or some other reason could have spent a phone call and 39 cents to vote by absentee ballot. No longer need you be actually absent.

We should not be using this as an excuse.  We should be asking the question, “Did the voters of Palm Beach County know about these alternatives, and were they able to take advantage of them?”

If things are to change for the better anytime soon, we have to stop lamenting how hard it is to get to the polls, we have to get there somehow — even if by US Mail — and make some changes in who runs our government.

We’ve already pointed the finger of guilt at the Supervisor of Elections, but that office is far from the only guilty party.

As this series continues, we’ll explore other stumbling blocks to more voter participation and how we might remove some of them. Join the party. Contribute to the discussion.

Election Turnout — Other Coverage

September 9, 2006

Coming up in my series of low voter turnout and the danger it poses for those who want to bring about change will be an examination of the news media.

In the meantime here are some encouraging signs that the editorial side of some local papers recognizes the same problems.

From the Sun Sentinel — (Recognize the lead sentence?)

ISSUE: Important Sept. 5 primary elections plagued by low voter turnout.

Imagine there was an election and nobody showed up. Tuesday’s primary came pretty close.

Full Editorial here.

And find Don Wright cartoon from the Palm Beach Post here.

What If We Held an Election and Nobody Came?

September 8, 2006

First a couple of disclosures.
1) I stole the headline. I know of at least one previous usage by Phil Keisling in the Washington Monthly in March1996. I suspect there are more.
2) I am fresh off a campaign where we lost. That makes me suspect for “sour grapes”, but I will make every effort to avoid that in discussing this issue. If you feel I’m not succeeding in this, complain and I will respond to your complaint by trying harder. This issue is too important to be lost in squabbling about side issues.
3) I supported the official I’m about to blame and unfortunately, given the same options, would probably support him again. It would be so nice to be presented with a good choice instead of having to settle for the lesser of two evils.
The point of the next several posts on this matter is that precious few Chadvillians showed up at the polls. For Palm Beach County, for Florida, and for the U S of A to escape the horrible governmental mess we’re in now will be IMPOSSIBLE unless more people show up to vote. There cannot be any more excuses for non-participation. Failure to participate FULLY will result in more of the same and I don’t believe anyone of any reasonable political persuasion or even anyone who truly wants to live in the America we all grew up in wants that.
I will point the finger of blame at several institutions. Today lets begin with the folks who brought you the largely unattended party called election day,the office of the Supervisor of Elections, Arthur W. Anderson, PH.D. He is an educator that didn’t.
As recently as July 6 Anderson declared

“Palm Beach County is doing all we can to improve our election process, as well as the number of our citizens who participate,” said PBC Supervisor of Elections, Dr. Arthur Anderson. “We are providing voter education in our county to increase public awareness of the right to vote and encouraging voter registration as well as participation in the election process. Making registering and voting as convenient as possible is what the GOTV program and our other community outreach efforts throughout the county are all about.”

 

The fact is, Dr. Anderson, you failed at that project.
Outside of my political activist friends I have yet to run into one resident who was fully aware of when, where and how to use EARLY VOTING.
Almost as many people I spoke with didn’t know who was running for what office and whether the Primary Election (whenever it was) was the final election or the candidates had to run again in some other election in “the Fall.”
The new voter cards you sent out (yes, the very same ones the poll workers at my early election site said I didn’t need) and the multi-page, multi-lingual brochure you sent with it arrived in my mailbox when early voting was HALFWAY OVER. This mailing provoked almost universal dissatisfaction that it was also written in Spanish. In fact I think that is OK, but realistically it took all attention away from the real issue of getting people out to vote.
Absentee ballots and their advocates who push them as a way to get around the paper trailess voting machines met with more controversy, but as far as I could see didn’t attract many voters. Isn’t their purpose to make it possible for MORE PEOPLE TO VOTE?

In fact the candidate advocated and funded by Democratic Congressman Robert Wexler in an all out frenzy to oust Theresa LePore didn’t live up to his primary campaign promises of a paper trail “Anderson’s campaign was driven by money, endorsements and residual anger stimulated by U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Delray Beach, whose own crusade for a paper ballot trail put him at legal and political odds with LePore long before the supervisor’s race began.
Wexler sued LePore and Secretary of State Glenda Hood, claiming paperless touch-screen voting machines violate state law. The claim was rejected by state circuit and appellate courts and by a district federal judge, but is still before a federal appeals court.
Wexler, his aides and others hovered around a laptop computer watching the vote get closer and closer until 11:47 p.m., when huge applause broke out, with supporters screaming, “You’re winning!”
“Wow! Wow! Wow!” Wexler exclaimed. “I’m starting to have fun.”

and much greater voter participation. Nor did the Anderson pledge to further educate voters turn out to be effective. There’s no need to dwell on the actual election day mechanics of our Supervisor of Elections — others did. See here and here.

Future posts will point fingers in more directions. Stay tuned.

VOTE Tuesday September 5

September 4, 2006

Today’s message is quite simple. Get your collective butts to the polling place on Tuesday, September 5!

PLEASE NOTE: This is a PRIMARY ELECTION. There is another election day November 7. I could spend an entire page explaining what that means to each individual race, but it can all be summed up easily.

YOU MUST VOTE FOR YOUR CANDIDATE IN BOTH ELECTIONS IN ORDER FOR HE/SHE TO WIN!

In some races, but by no means all races, a victory in the primary means an automatic victory in November. Even though your candidate may be unopposed in the primary, he/she may face opposition in November. If your candidate does not win in Tuesday’s primary, he/she can’t win in November. Both elections are important.

A word of advice:  Even in the best run elections, a problem may develop at the polling place.  Usually it can be corrected quite easily, but PLEASE MAKE SURE THE PROBLEM IS CORRECTED BEFORE LEAVING THE POLLING PLACE.  Once you leave, you may have difficulty if not complete failure in casting your vote again.

There are election officials and observers at all polling places.  Tell them the problem and ask their help.  That’s why they are there.  You can call the Supervisor of Elections at (561) 656-6200.
It’s the greatest privilege we enjoy as Americans. Take advantage of it and VOTE TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5.

Howard Goodman’s column on political mudslinging is nothing but journalistic mudslinging

September 3, 2006

In today’s online Sun-Sentinel columnist Howard Goodman spends an entire column on “political mudslinging” and how bad it is.

Instead of the uplifting exercise that self-government is touted to be in civics class, politics in practice is all about whether Candidate A can out-besmirch Candidate B.

If you can’t say anything nice, you’re probably running for office.

        Entire column here.

While he raises some excellent points with which I wholehearted agree, Mr. Goodman does exactly what he criticizes the politicians for doing.  He slings mud at politicians.

AT NO POINT IN THIS COLUMN IS THERE EVEN ONE CONSTRUCTIVE STATEMENT OR SUGGESTION.

And you know something, Mr. Goodman, you probably do it for exactly the same reason the politicians do it.  YOU CAN’T GET ANY HONEST NEWS COVERAGE ON THIS ELECTION FROM NEWSPAPERS OR TV/RADIO.  The only way to make the headlines is through this mudslinging.

As you CORRECTLY say, this is not a good thing.  But I think I also correctly say your column does nothing to change things, it just uses the same techniques to get you readers and sell newspapers that politicians use to get votes.

Governor Race Vital to Chadvillians

September 2, 2006

The winner of the Democratic Primary for Governor, November 5 — Be There, is of the utmost importance to all Floridians.

The guy we choose in this race will be the guy who must win in November. If he can’t beat the Republican candidate then, we will again lose the Governorship — another lifetime with a Jeb Bush Light politician.

The latest polls show a huge number of Floridians STILL DON’T “KNOW” THE DEMOCRATIC CONTENDERS.

Try here and here for summaries of both men — Smith & Davis.

My own choice is Rod Smith, He has the “fire in his belly.” Davis comes with the now “stigma” of being a U.S. Congressman — identified by tons of Chadvillians as the least popular job in the country.

Make your choice, but remember — THE WINNER OF THIS PRIMARY MUST WIN IN NOVEMBER!

SEPTEMBER 5 — A “MUST SHOW” DAY AT THE POLLS FOR ALL FLORIDIANS.

Let Irv Continue to Serve

September 1, 2006

To cast your vote to elect Irv Slosberg to State Senator in District 30 it’s not necessary to dislike, demean, belittle, or generally badmouth his opponent.
All that’s necessary is to look at the past 6 years of Irv’s record of serving his constituency in District 90.
What you will find is a guy who did his job more than well. He did it with a passion. You will find a guy who likes to do whats best for his constituency and doesn’t much care about personal gain or reward for himself.
Irv is being forced out of his Representative 90 seat not by an unhappy constituency, but by Florida’s law on term limits. He cannot seek re-election to his current seat. He has served the maximum permitted term.  If he is to continue to serve, he must do it from another legislative seat. The one he has chosen to run for is Senate District 30 — vacated by another guy, Ron Klein, who is also forced to “move on” by the term limit statute. In this Senate District Irv will be serving the same people as before. He will just be adding some new soon-to-be happy-with-Irv constituents.
I am not attacking term limits. It is the same statute that is ridding us of Jeb Bush. I am suggesting that just because we have to abide by those term limits, we should not be fooled into thinking Irv Slosberg did anything but a great job for us for the last 6 years.
That should naturally lead to our vote to Let Irv Continue to Serve.

The Polls Are Closed. No Voting In Chadville.

August 30, 2006

Rain nor wind etc. may not stop the mail, but the threat of wind and rain can close the polls and stop you from voting. In fact it did today in Chadville.
The polls closed. You couldn’t vote no matter how much you wanted to.
Of course it was only early voting, not the official primary election voting on September 5 or the general election on November 7.
BUT WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THIS REPEATED ITSELF ON ONE OF THOSE DAYS?
Would Jeb Bush declare “no election” and just stay in office? This is not as far fetched as you might think. Rudy Giuliani tried to do this by extending his eligibility to stay on as Mayor of NYC “because a change of Mayor might be damaging right after 911.” Fortunately the NY voters quickly set him straight about that, but in Chadville nothing seems too preposterous to consider possible.
HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED TODAY AND WHY WE SHOULD BE CONCERNED.
Lets not dwell on why the decision was made to shut down portions of the Palm Beach County Government. A potentially dangerous and severe storm was approaching and while I may have made a different decision about closing down a bunch of government offices including the polling places and the Supervisor of Elections office, a very good argument can be made to support the decision to do so — Better safe than sorry.
The office of the Supervisor of Elections closed, and along with it your opportunity to vote today. If you called the supervisor’s office you got a recording saying they were open during the following business hours, please call back then. Of course when I called “now” was the following business hours, but one got the message — call back sometime in the future. There was no mention about when the office and/or polls might be open again. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECORD A CURRENT MESSAGE EXPLAINING WHY THE OFFICE/POLLS ARE CLOSED AND WHEN YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO CAST YOUR EARLY VOTE? Maybe it could also be on the supervisor’s web site.
Lest I join the ranks of the Bush administration and the cable news talkers who cry “The sky is falling, the sky is falling” 24/7, lets say one day of early voting missed does not make a failed election.
If it were to happen on September 5 or November 7 — both well within the hurricane season — what would happen? No election?
Surely the Supervisor of Elections must have a plan. He is after all not a part of the Bush team that has no plans for anything.
If there is a plan, Dr. Anderson, what is it? Why is it a secret? Why can’t you at least take the time to change the recorded message or put up an explanation on your web site?
Should there be an ACTUAL severe storm causing ACTUAL severe damage, the power would be out, phones would be problematic, and how would we find out how, when, and where we are to vote?
Is too much to ask you to share this information with us?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Contact the Supervisor of Elections or call (561) 656-6200.

Ernesto = Republicans Debate on TV, Democrats Don’t

August 28, 2006

Apparently Jeb Bush can do something Katherine Harris and Glenda Hood couldn’t do together — control the weather.

Word is out, due to inclement weather — that would be Ernesto should he develop and go where he might — tomorrow’s debate between Democratic Candidates Jim Davis and Rod Smith has been cancelled.

Now that Chadvillians have had the opportunity to hear and see the GOP candidates broadcast tonight on NewsChannel 5 in The Land of the Hanging Chad, they are once again left to wonder who is running for the Democrats.