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View Diary: Eric Holder hints at national voting standards. We need a Lloyd Blankfein Standing-in-Line Law (98 comments)

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  •  I don't like the LINE idea at all. (1+ / 0-)
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    Calamity Jean

    It's treating a symptom instead of an underlying cause. I like the idea of setting some base standards for polling places, but focusing on waits,  which can be caused by unpredictable factors you can't control, probably won't work. The time taken to use a touch screen is different from the time it takes to fill in a paper ballot, and that length of time will vary by the complexity of the ballot. That's also why national standards for number of machines won't work.

    However, within a jurisdiction (county), unbalanced numbers of machines deployed ought to be somewhat regulated although again, absolute numbers could be difficult because of the unpredicability of turnout. But some sort of safeguards should be in place to avoid what happened in Ohio in 2004, where there were long waits — but only in the inner cities of Cleveland and Columbus (the two densest and most Democratic areas) and on certain progressive college campuses like Kenyon and Oberlin.

    The real issue is dealing with what takes time at the polling place. Simplifying procedures and better training of poll workers are good starts. But the #1 thing that doesn't get mentioned often enough when people are hyperventilating over ID laws is a hidden key reason I saw as a poll worker for not having them: they double the time a voter spends at the precinct table. Half of the poll workers' time is taken up with ID checks. THAT causes lines, and it's superfluous. Ohio had no ID laws until 2006 (and incidents of voter fraud were vanishingly rare); if they had existed in 2004, the chaos would have been exponentially more catastrophic. Needless to say, our secretary of voter suppress ... excuse me, STATE ... Jon Husted has suggested making ID regulations more "onerous" (actual word used).  Because he's a dick.

    Gooserock, your post hints at something brought up by outgoing Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) board of elections executive director Jane Platten at a meeting on the just-past election I was at two weeks ago. She suggested that there should be deadlines for secretary of state directives prior to an election — maybe a month or prior to the start of early voting for directives that don't deal with a late-breaking situation, a week for those that do, so that boards of election have time to understand and implement them.

    She was directly addressing the directive our secretary of voter suppress ... oh excuse me, STATE ... issued after business hours the Friday before the election, decreeing that provisional envelopes without the form of ID indicated, should not be counted, even when it is clear that these are valid voters. At the time, that provisional envelope had been in use for five weeks. Nothing late-breaking here.

    Worse, it turned out that this directive — which was taken to court twice in the subsequent week, costing real tax dollars — didn't address ANY actual situation. As I said, there was no question of these voters' identity so his claim that this somehow prevented "voter fraud" was laughable.

    But let's say, by some stretch, it did. Wanna know how many cases of possible (but not likely) "voter fraud" he staved off at high cost to taxpayers? I processed provisionals here in Cuyahoga and during the many steps looked at thousands of envelopes. I never saw this anomaly — not once. It turned out we had a big, whopping 58 cases of it out of more than 31,000 provisionals. Jane figured less than 1,000 statewide, with occurrences so rare that odds were even in a tight race, no more than one (if that) would ever crop up.

    It didn't affect anything. My sense is that it was a SYMBOL, a middle finger extended to voters by Husted, telling them he was so powerful, he could take away their vote for NO REASON. Or, as I'm fond of saying, because he's a dick.

    Personally, I don't think ANY state should be allow to restrict or contract existing voting rights without federal clearance. Period. Expand them as much as you like but you cannot take away existing voter rights unless you can meet a very high bar for why you need to do that. Fictional "voter fraud" won't do.

    Jon Husted is a dick.

    by anastasia p on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 07:39:27 PM PST

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