This is the day (political)

My thanks to Aldous Tyler for putting the following so very well…

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This is it. It’s time to get up and go to vote.  I know, if you’ve paid attention to them, that the polls show that in the national races, the Democratic Party is coming out on top.  That means nothing.  For just a moment, let’s put aside the idea of crooked voting procedures that can steal votes away from the candidate of your choice and give those votes to their opponent. 

Go vote as if you were the only one responsible for making these decisions.  Act as if no one else is going to cast a single ballot, and it all rides on your choices for each candidate and referendum. I know, for some of you, that will mean voting a third party.  I have my reasons why I won’t do that this time, but if that is your vote, go out there and put it in.  Once you’ve done that, go be pest- call your friends and family, and make sure they are getting out to the polls.  The more voters we get out there, the better shot we have of being fairly represented. 

Now, I know there may be some issues.  Let me give you a quick guide of how to handle them: If you don’t know where your polling place is, will tell you. 

If you get there and someone is trying to tell you that you aren’t allowed to vote for ANY reason, pull out your cell phone or borrow someone else’s and call… Nationwide:
866-our-vote (866-687-8683) – The National Campaign for Fair Elections hosts the only national hotline that offers voters immediate assistance from volunteers trained to provide state specific information, identify issues that compromise the administration of elections, and respond to problems… 

Some other things can happen: 

  • Insufficient voting machines for a polling location 

  • Lots of challenges to voters’ rights at the registration table 

  • Frequent issues with voting machines that take the polling workers’ time to correct 

The three above situations may cause long lines and wait times.  Call one of the above numbers if there are any notable delays and let them know, so they can get a helper out to see if the problem can’t be fixed quickly.  If you think you might be likely to get pushed past the poll’s closing time, you most CERTAINLY need to tell the folks at the hotline that.  Whatever you do, *do not leave the poll without voting*.  This is exactly what the folks causing the hassle WANT you to do. 

  • Someone may directly challenge your right to vote 

Don’t let this send you home without voting- call the above numbers and get help immediately.  There will be any number of possible things that will tip off an operative to challenge you- you may be a racial minority, or perhaps you’re a man with long hair, or maybe you’re wearing a button, pin or sticker for a Democratic or liberal candidate or cause.  These very things were what got some folks challenged in 2004, and none of them are legal cause to withhold you from your right to vote. 

  • Insufficient documentation to vote 

In some states, you have to identify yourself at your polling place with a drivers license or other form of ID in order to cast your vote. If you are unsure of what’s required, you can call the above numbers before you go to the polls to be sure you have your needed ID with you.  If you are told you don’t have what’s necessary at the poll, do not leave the poll without first calling one of the above numbers and confirming the requirement. 

  • Poll worker says you are unable to vote because you aren’t registered 

Some states, including Wisconsin, allow you to register right there at the poll.  In that case, this shouldn’t come up (and if it does, call in!), however if you live in a state that requires advance registration, and you are fairly certain you should be registered, and the poll workers are telling you that you aren’t, you need to call.  Help can be gotten in these situations.  A number of states have illegally “scrubbed” their registered voter lists of people, and this may have happened to you.  Don’t leave without voting- let the helpers on the phone tell you how. 

  • The voting equipment seems to not be able to record your vote properly 

Alert the poll workers and IMMEDIATELY call the above number(s) and get help.  There have been a number of reports of especially the electronic touch-screen voting machines being unreliable so keep your eye on what it tells you when you are voting and if it isn’t acting correctly, get help!  Also, if you are using a scanned-card system and the scanner jams or otherwise seems to not function, alert the poll workers and IMMEDIATELY call the above number(s) and get help.  While this may be the overall least likely problem you will face, it must not be ignored.  Make sure that vote gets counted correctly! 

 Thanks to the past three national elections being run with more and more violations of voters’ rights, there are now a lot more volunteers out there guarding against problems like the above.  They are now available just by a call on the phone.  Get out there, be heard, vote and don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have the right to. 

Aldous Tyler

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