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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Every Vote Counts,- If You Are The Right Sort Of Voter

Voter disenfranchisement is nothing new. If it weren't for it we would likely have a different man for President now. However, according to Katrina vanden Heuvel, we as a society are far from having the issue addressed, or even making an honest attempt to do so.

In her article on the subject, vanden Heuvel describes many attempts by various parties to make it so that those from whom they have little reason to expect any favors do not get to cast their vote. St. Louis, Missouri, election officials told voter registration workers that of 30,000 applications submitted, two-thirds had been rejected. No reasons were given...
While we are on the subject, I would like to say that personally I think in this day and age the very idea of voter registration sounds archaic. Given the technology available, any citizen must be allowed to vote anywhere. Once the data is entered for the citizen, a verification process should be run to ensure the validity of the data. Once that process completes, he or she must be presented with the proper voting form conforming with the local election requirements. All of that can be done electronically, with the proper electronic replication as well as a paper printout. Sounds incredible? Not so, if you compare it with the systems we use everyday, for instance, the ones that allow us to receive instant credit at a bank or to make purchases with a credit card. However, for now we do have the voter registration procedure in place, so lets get back to the issues as they are.

I believe the first major step towards insuring the fairness in the vote count would be creation of a public election oversight commission empowered to oversee everything related to elections,- from the registration procedures to the software code for the systems involved in the election process. The local and federal election oversight bodies are part of their respective governments, and that makes them suspect. Personally, I think all the technology involved must be open source, wherever possible, to avoid tampering by commercial interests.

Those are just a few thoughts that come to mind. Clearly, someone with more election management experience than yours truly can come up with many more good ideas. They need to be discussed and implemented as when found applicable. For, as vanden Heuvel correctly states,
At stake, isn't simply our choice for America's next president, but also our faith in our nation's democracy.

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