Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Disgraceful State of Voting in America

I do believe that as citizens of a country, we have obligations to that country. In the United States of America, these obligations are few. One of the most fundamental to our exsistance is to vote. For the honor and priveledge of being an American, we have an obligation to care about our country, to be informed and to vote. If people were, they would find less politicians pulling the stunts they pull. We have trained them well to worry ONLY about a small handful of us.

Tuesday was one of many voting days across America. Many races were decided. Many lives will be changed by the results. Two races made national news - Lamont-Lieberman in Connecticut and McKinney-Johnson in Georgia. And, yet, despite the national attention, it seems that, for the most part, people could not be bothered to vote.

Connecticut is a state with a population of about 3.2 million. Let's assume that half of those are old enough to vote or 1.6 million, then assume that half are democrats or .8 million. Out of 800,000 eligible voters, a total of 282,103 cast votes in the democrat primary...

Georgia has a population of 8.186 million, which is about 630,000 per congressional district. Again. using the "half rule" - half are of voting age and half are democrats, which leaves 157,500 voters for the primary. Votes cast were 70,010.

Of course, my numbers are low - quite low. Both of these areas are strongly democrat and have a larger voter pool...more people who did not give a damn about their country or their government. What is wrong with America?

In an effort to "fix" it, the great state of Oregon established mandatory vote by mail. We get our ballots mailed to us weeks in advance. We fill them out in the leisure of our homes and mail them back or drop them off. Still, people can't be bothered to vote. We rarely get enough people voting to pass anything.

But, Arizona has come up with a new twist. They have an initiative to "encourage voting". If you go to vote, you are entered into a million dollar lucky voter will walk away with a million dollars of the taxpayers money. So, no matter how uninformed or disinterested you are, you still might win something, so you might come vote. Read more about this from Paul Jacob.

I was raised to believe that the best thing about turning 21 (ok - I'm old, it is 18 now) would be my ability to vote - to go to the polls, stand in line and cast a vote for the candidate or issue of my choice. It was the democracy part of this democratic republic we live in. I looked forward to that. I always enjoyed going to the polls - fighting the traffic, the parking, the lines. I even loved it as a child when we would go to the polls as a family. I loved that it was peaceful and orderly. I loved seeing the birthing pains of the next changes that would come. I then would wait for the results to come in - celebrate or whine - but, knew that it had been decided. I no longer get to do that. And, it seems that the vast majority of Americans who would like to whine about everything, don't bother to vote.

Many have died for us to be able to go to the polls. As Americans, we have an obligation to be informed about the issues and go to the polls and vote. Likewise, politicians have the obligation to put their country FIRST and accept the results. When we don't, we dishonor those who made sure that we had this right.

And, in a post script, it has been reported that most of the counties in Connecticut failed to get the military ballots out in time.


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