With exactly thirty days to go until Election Day is finally upon us, the end thankfully is in sight. I admit to being a political and news junkie, but I have long grown tired of hearing nothing but federal and state election updates, poll results and never ending campaign commercials, as if no other news event has occurred somewhere throughout planet Earth during the past twelve months. I believe it would take a devastating hurricane or earthquake to break into the election coverage stranglehold on the news. You would think that with an already record length war, entering into its twelfth year (started on this date in 2001) and a possible end maybe two years from now, that something just might be happening in Afghanistan. A war that has now evolved into U.S. military personal being killed by the very same Afghan soldiers they train. It is long past time for America to declare victory and get out as soon as possible.
Moreover, in an affront to democracy, the Republican Party has attempted to suppress the number of Democratic voters via their voter identification laws and purging of voter registration lists in the name of eliminating voter fraud. What Republicans fail to articulate is that voter fraud is basically nonexistent, something like 0.00005 percent of the total votes cast during the past decade, and most of those were errors by election polling station staff. It seems the only known recent case of voter fraud was perpetrated by a Republican Party election official just last month. The true intent of the Republican Party is to reduce the size of the opposition. Since 2001, almost one thousand new bills have been introduced in forty-six states that would strengthen voting laws.
In the 2008 election, more than two million voters were unable to vote because they did not have the appropriate ID. In what seems an absurdity, Texas law allows voters to show their concealed handgun licenses as a proper form of identification but not a university ID. With twenty-four states having recently passed or are considering new voter suppression laws, it is estimated that five million eligible citizens will be unable to vote next month. In a dead heat election, which the presidential race is shaping up to be, several thousand votes in one key state could decide the outcome. Just ask Florida Democrats. This attempt to eradicate the opposition was made perfectly clear when Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai boasted earlier this year to a Republican State Committee that his state’s new voter identification law, which has been estimated to eliminate up to ten percent of his state’s registered voters, “…is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania” this November 6th.
Isn’t it ironic that Republicans are so adamant about voters presenting proper ID to cast their ballot yet see nothing wrong with having million dollar campaign contributors influence the outcome of an entire election, and that the American public has no idea who they are since current law requires no posting of contributions until after the election, if at all?
What this country needs to do is to conduct the vote via the internet. I’m no statistician, but the number of U.S. citizens who would vote online has to be enormous. For those without the knowledge or access (libraries are a great place to log on if you do not have access yourself), you can always leave open a few voting precincts. The nation casts its vote on American Idol via either a computer or cell phone. I know nothing of the facts as I proudly watch no reality television, but there are probably more votes cast each week on Idol than will vote on November 6th. Online voting is the wave of the future; America should make it a top priority and implement it in time for the 2016 presidential election.
Steven H. Spring