Archive for November, 2008

I live in Florida. The first time in my life that I registered to vote was the year 2000. My reason: the first time I saw George W. Bush, I knew he was definitely NOT a person that should be president.

I also knew that Al Gore was the right man for the job. No matter what anyone says about the duties of a VP, Gore was a vital, active part of the success of Bill Clinton’s administration. I knew that he would have been a president who could have used the surplus of the Clinton administration wisely, and I doubt that 9/11 would have even occurred if he had been in office. Prior to leaving office, Gore had completed a study on just how un-safe our airports were to US security. He would have been on top of the Al-Qaida problem.  http://www.glr.com/govt/security/aviation.html

To underscore that election, the problems with hanging chads, connections between the Bush campaign and Katherine Harris – the Secretary of State who had control over the election, registrations and the variety of voting systems throughout the state caused me to see that voter fraud is quite easily achieved.

Thinking about Miami-Dade, this area continues to tamper with probable outcomes. Year 2000 – the famous hanging chads. Year 2004 – touch screen voting machines that didn’t register democratic votes – with no paper backups. Year 2008 – they switched to a ballot that no one understood how to fill out. The design was rather bazaar and apparently not explained – even to people voting in person. What were they thinking? More importantly, why were they thinking it?

This past election, I was handed a brochure that listed Democrats running in this election. I live in Volusia County, and I noticed that one of the supported candidates was for Supervisor of Elections in my county. While my experience in past elections has created a complete bias toward Democratic candidates, I’d like to think I’m more progressive than that. That I give my vote to people who I believe will do the best job. When it comes to who runs the polling stations and election process, I especially want someone I trust will treat our votes as perhaps our most “sacred” of civil rights.

One of the things I have been most proud of, is the person who is the Supervisor of Elections in Volusia County, Ann McFall. In 2000, amongst all the hub-bub over chads and recounts, Volusia county had all our votes recounted before the dust had settled. No problems in 2004, and this year all went smoothly here.

As I watch and listen to all the problems still occurring around the country with so many different voting systems, I am amazed that the nation doesn’t have a unified system that is foolproof and efficient. As an American, as a part of a government that is “of the people, for the people and by the people”, voting is perhaps our most important civic duty. Voting is how we participate – how our voices can be heard.

Here is Volusia we’ve always used optical scanners. That is probably the best system that anyone could use. You have a ballot, you circle in the little bubble by your candidate and feed it into the machine. Job done. Need a recount? Just feed them back through. This year we had the option to use touch screen, but from the count reports – very few people opted to use them.

Even more importantly, in this county, you received a sample ballot about a month or so before the election, which gives you time to research any candidate or local issue you’ll be facing before you cast your vote. You get a voter card, you know your precinct and the location you go to vote. In this county, there is absolutely no reason you don’t know where to go and vote, and what you will experience when you get there – unless you’re just not interested in reading what you’re sent.

No fancy design to confuse you on the ballot. If you’ve ever taken an SAT, or other test, where you fill in a little bubble on the test sheet, you know how to vote in this county.

Their website is fast and efficient, you’ll find everything there that you also receive by mail, and the early voting counts were prompt and even divided by registered voters (ie, democrat, republican, independent) and by early voting locations throughout the county.

This year was the first time I decided to vote early. How it worked was that a central location – in my case the library – was set up to accept voters from all precincts. They added a driver ID machine. Some people had waited about an hour and a half, but I was in line and out the door in just under an hour. Usually, in past elections, I’ve never spent more that 20 minutes voting on election day at the precinct. I don’t live in an excessively populated area, so I’ve never expected a problem here. I’ve never heard anyone in our country complain though, as this county’s election process is managed very efficiently, with all it’s “t’s” crossed and “i’s” dotted.

If our country needs a model for a good universal voting system that works, they won’t find one any better that the one supervised by Ann McFall.

Another way votes can be tampered with is with the times set up for voting. This year, the early voting times were set up for 10am to 4pm. Times that are after most people go to work, and before they get off. Fortunately Charlie Crist, the Governor of Florida, found a loop hole in the Republican Congress set rules that allowed him – much to their chagrin -to extend the hours to 7am to 7pm. My respect for him was elevated with this decision.

Seeing that the next generation of voters are beginning to step up to the plate and take a more active role in exercising their right to vote, it’s time we tie up all these loose ends and create a unified voting system that we are confident will give us accurate results. Results that truly prove the voice of the people, beyond doubt.


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It’s the day after the election and I’m still addicted to the news coverage of the election. I’ve watched practically non-stop since the Democratic Convention, which was the first time I really saw him as a candidate.

I am a white female in my mid fifties. My story includes the fact that my view of the world includes growing up seeing the beginning of the civil rights movement. Being from the south, I remember the civil rights marches in Greensboro, NC and Danville, VA. I have always been thankful that my family, particularly my grandfather, taught me that all men are equal and that that is how we treat others – no matter the color of their skin. Equality in how we treat others was one of the most important lessons I grew up with. That was a very radical stance back in the late 50’s and early 60’s.

In 1967, the first black student was placed in our school. We shared class together, and it was fortunate that her father was a brick layer that my contractor father worked with regularly. My Dad had a great respect for her father, and we became friends. This, of course was an unpopular position. We ate alone together in the cafeteria as no one would have anything to do with a “black” person. It was as if she – and I by association – had some incurable plague. I remember kids, sitting in class, throwing spit balls at her. As we progressed to high school, again we were caught up in civil rights divisions and confrontations at school.

Yesterdays victory for Obama is a major turning point in our American evolution.

While I appreciate the historical value of this event, the fact that Obama is black had nothing to do my decision to vote for him. In some ways it is a shallow commentary on the news today, as the fact that he is black had nothing to do with the reasons I voted for him. It is merely a side note.

What appealed to me was his education, and how he achieved it. I was attracted to the hope that we could have a President who could articulate thought, quite elegantly. One of my major disappointments with George W. Bush was how embarrassingly stupid he appeared when trying to communicate – anything! He was the American Joke who was also our selected self-serving leader. To me, he lowered our dignity as Americans and I think I lot of people felt that way. Bush never represented what I love about being an American, our ideals of freedom and justice. His position on human rights is appalling and does not represent the ideals of the American I love.

My vote for Obama was a vote for us to return to having a chief representative of our government who not only garners our confidence in ourselves as Americans, but also in the office of President. To go even further, having Obama in office will now promote a new confidence in America that has erroded with each passing year of the Bush administration.

I also voted for him because, contrary to the McCain campaign, he has the right experience and the motivation to govern. Over the past 8 years, I’ve never felt our government reflected We The People – just we the big oil companies. I never felt connected to the Bush administration in any way, and felt he was placed in his presidency to do the bidding of those hungry for power and used this position to fuel the greed and profits for the top 5%. In every way he trampled on our dignity and misrepresented the goodness of Americans to the world. The plight of the remaining 95% was never more than an afterthought to his own personal agenda.

I voted for Obama because he knows that it is the 95% of us that are the backbone of our country. His philosophy that it is when we all have the opportunity to live abundantly, that the top 5% will also prosper. I’ve never understood the “tickle down” approach. How can any company do well if no one can afford to buy its product or service?

I also saw in Obama a steadiness in his reasoning process. If we’ve learned nothing else from the Bush administration, it is that anyone can be President – even idiots. We’ve also learned just how wrong that can be without someone who has the intelligence to analyze the problems and come to thoughtful solutions that are in the best interest of all.

None of these abilities has anything to do with being black. These are abilities that many people all over the world possess and any person who ran for president with them would have gained my vote. I guess I’m color blind. Seeing the true essence of a person really is far more important.

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