Archive for the ‘Early Voting’ Category

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.


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.
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.
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.