Tag Archives: early voting

Pigs Flying in Florida as Even Republicans Call for Voting Reforms

voting lines in Miami 2012

New Orleans   Yes, it snows in July in Florida.  Yes, pigs are on the runway in Miami getting ready to fly, and it is not because of loosening travel restrictions in Cuba, but because finally after more than a dozen years of being the case study for anti-democratic vote suppression and election chaos, even Republican governor Rick Scott has finally decided that Florida should not be the laughing stock of the electoral world.

I’m not saying that they he or the Republican Party in Florida have decided that they should endorse democracy or a citizen’s right to vote.  That would be way too radical for them!  Being for democracy would include making it easier once again for citizens to register to vote, and that’s way over the line.

But, at least they have decided that some of the more obvious obstacles that they had put in the way of voters like cutting the number of early voting days, taking away the Sunday before Election Day which had been so popular with African-American voters and larding up the ballot should be reformed.  Election supervisors had guaranteed that these changes would create long lines and total disruption, and the fact that the whole country waited for days, yes DAYS, after the last Presidential election to finally know whether Obama or Romney won the state (Obama did of course), must have been the last straw.

Well, maybe not the last straw.  That straw might have been a report by University of Florida professor of political science, Daniel A. Smith, which was released the same day as Governor Scott’s epiphany.  The report established that black and Latino voters were disproportionately affected.  Hello, was that not the point?!?  Almost half of black voters voted early, no longer trusting the election process, but then caught in the maelstrom of long lines to such a degree that more than a half-million voted absentee, lengthening significantly the waiting time to tally the final results from around the state.  According to a story in the Times,

Absentee ballots cast by blacks were twice as likely to be rejected as those by whites.  Racial and ethnic minorities also cast a disproportionate number of provisional ballots and saw them rejected at higher rates.

And to think that the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court has questioned whether there should still be Department of Justice review of voting matters in southern states?!?  The only real question should be whether or not all 50 states should have a departmental and judicial review to ensure access, equity, and fairness.

This is Florida, so this is a baby step.  We will have to watch this.  Keep remembering how hard it will be for these pigs to fly.


Obama: He’s Got This!

New Orleans  After Romney’s 47% comments went viral, I thought the campaign was done, and you could put a stick in it.  I still think he may have lost the race there by showing both his disregard for huge parts of the electorate and coupling that with his choice of Paul Ryan, pushing seniors and others with a stake in entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicaid the final distance towards Obama.

It’s a mystery to me how Obama allowed Romney to get back into the race with the first debate.  I thought talking was Obama’s forte?  The debate once again exposed his tentativeness around conflict, which has been a consistent vulnerability throughout his first term, exploited continually by the hardcore, ideological Republican opposition.  Obama does dial down the enthusiasm everywhere when he says, “I’ll fight for you,” and it becomes so obvious that he just plain doesn’t like to fight.

Anything can happen in an election, but having come back in-country, caught up on a lot of the papers and studied the polls, I think Obama’s got this one locked down for this Tuesday, all except the shouting.

No small reason for me finally feeling confident about the race lies in what looks like insurmountable leads in the key battlegrounds of Ohio and Florida that are now trending more than 5 points ahead for the President, comfortably past the margin of error.  Additionally, it appears that based on known Democratic registrations, Obama is leading comfortably ahead of Romney on what has become the critical early voting numbers, which are key tests of organization and have people finally “voting with their feet.”  The hard facts that 23,000,000 voters have already cast ballots and Obama is likely significantly ahead, I take is important.

Governing is a whole different problem.  Looking at a map in my local paper showing where Obama is leading or leaning versus Romney, it is startling how similar the overlay of a map of the residual labor union strength would be.  Not that Obama is going to do much for unions even though they are critical to any Democratic victory now or in the future.

On the other side I read the column by the former solid sports reporter in my hometown paper, who now writes op-eds for them from a hard right, whack perspective and I tried to puzzle out his absurd argument that we should vote against Obama because he was a “collectivist.”  Huh?  “By the people, of the people, for the people” is now a bad thing, so anarchy hooray, I guess.  Obama and the Democrats got lucky that the conservative wing is so whack now that they are pushing away as many votes as they are holding.  Eventually the conservatives in the Republican Party are going to hose them down or force them out so that they have a chance again at the White House.

Until then, we’ll win with Obama on Tuesday, and it won’t necessarily decide much of anything other than how bad the alternatives might have been.