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A pretty bold agenda. But what I was most happy about was when he talked about voting. This is a huge pet peeve of mine.

I often mention here my parents are Republicans. Moderate Republicans. You couldn't pay them to watch Fox Noise or listen to Rush.

Well my mother runs the elections in her district. Since we live in the same state we vote the same time, and I almost always call her on election night and ask how it went.

More about this below the fold.

Most of those phone calls she is in tears. That a district that has about 12,000 people able to vote, often only a few hundred do. I was raised in a family where my parents didn't force their political views down my throat, how I can be a raging liberal. But I was taught that it was my duty as a citizen to vote. It was important.

That brings me to what Obama talked about tonight.

Now it pains me more people don't vote. But what really pisses me off is people not being able to vote in a timely fashion. Where I live, where my mom runs the elections you can vote faster than you can order a Big Mac. Voting is actually kind of easy. I think that is the coolest thing in the world.

I want that for other people and so should Obama and our party.

But I read the Diaries here and watch MSNBC on election days and I am stunned by how hard it seems to be for many people to vote.

I don't live in a rich community. But we got voting down to an "art." It isn't rocket science.

This is how voting works where I live. First off in almost every instance you vote at a school. There are three Republicans and three Democrats working the place. You walk into the place and there is a large table. A sign that says A-M and N-Z. That is your last name. You walk up and they have a book with your name in it. You tell them your name.

They tear off a copy of your voting card and hand it to the person next to them. That person initials your ballot and hands it to you. You walk to a pop-up voting booth. Fill it out. You come back and put it in an optical scanner, where the thing gives me a print out saying how I voted.

It is that simple. I don't think it has ever, from when I walked into the place to when I exited, taken me more than ten minutes to vote. There are no lines. There are no problems. The system just works.

Back to my mom. I've sent her the stats. That more people voting might mean that folks she supports will lose elections, she is cool with that. Just as I am. If more people vote and the will of the people is such they elect people I don't agree with I can deal with that.

Keep in mind the primary purpose of this site is to elect more and better Democrats. That can only be done by making it easier for folks to vote. A topic we should, IMHO, be talking about here 24/7.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Now I Realize My Mother And I Live (11+ / 0-)

    in small rural towns. We don't have thousands of people showing up to vote. So yes it is easier to manage the process. But if you live in a large metro area like Miami, Brooklyn, or Cleveland you just have more places to vote.

    Maybe you figure out how to do it online.

    I mean if we can figure out how to put a man on the moon you'd think we could figure out how to make it easy to vote.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 12:16:39 AM PST

    •  I posted below. Live in large multiracial (11+ / 0-)

      multiincome (middle class to poor) urban area.
      Had 5-10 minute line at 6pm right after work.
      I've never waited more than 10min to vote. Ever.

      Voter turnout in my state was 73%, higher than expected and a record. Yet the most congested city seems to have done fine.

      It can be done.

      •  they just choose not to do it, it seems (9+ / 0-)

        they want urban people to have to struggle to vote. My own experience and everyone's in my city illuminates that. Because we, a solid Blue state, don't have any reason to restrict voting. So everyone votes freely everywhere.

        And more "red" rural areas don't have a deficiency of voting machines. Never has been a complaint.

        •  I Live In A Pretty Blue State (5+ / 0-)

          but in a very red district. So does my mom. Way more than me. I hate to admit this, but never really thought maybe it is easy for me to vote cause most people in my area are voting Republican. So our access is easier. I will have to ponder that for a few.

          When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

          by webranding on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 01:33:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  if your state is blue (and has blue state leaders) (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SilentBrook, 88kathy

            theoretically if the Dems were corrupt like Reps it would be harder to vote in Rep (Red areas).

            Yet it is not hard for them to vote in red areas in my state despite it's blueness, including leadership of both houses for decades and Gov now too. My thought is that it would be to hypocritical for the "Cradle of Liberty" to deprive people of the vote...even Republicans in their redder areas.

            sounds like not for you state but red areas have plenty of machines and no lines. Unless you are in one of the unlucky blue states where Reps were elected to run it. Then you  should have an easier time than bluer areas.

  •  Oh Something I Wrote Above Is Not Accurate (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kaliope, ItsSimpleSimon, weck, SilentBrook

    or complete.

    You have to sign the card, how they verify who you are, before you get your ballot.

    Now I have never been asked for an ID (we don't do that there) but not only do I have an ID but I troop into the place with my voter card. Not sure if other states issue voter registration cards, but the state of Illinois does.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 12:27:22 AM PST

    •  Voter reg cards are NOT a valid ID (0+ / 0-)

      I was an election judge here in Chicago a couple of years ago (and in NM previously). Voter registration cards in Illinois (and NM, and probably elsewhere) are distributed as an informational suppliment to voters to know which districts of which entities they live in and will be voting for.

      We were drilled that under no circumstances are these cards a valid form of ID for voting. However, we had no mandate to look over everyone's id; typically, a voter shows up, states their name, and then goes thru the process, unless another voter present challenges them as not being who they say they are. Only then will we need to confirm their state-issued id.

      A winning campaign? You didn't build that...

      by SilentBrook on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 09:32:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right now, they're valid in Texas. (0+ / 0-)

        That's what people show us n my small, rural precinct. (I'm an election judge.)

        They show us that card, we check our computer to make sure they're in the databank--the big point being that they haven't moved to a different precinct--we mark their ID and their computer listing as "voted"--they head to a person minding the "voter box" which spits out a code that they then enter into one of our electronc booth computers. And they vote. "You haven't voted until you see the waving American flag on the screen."

        Now, sometimes they're in the wrong precinct. In which case, we give them the address of where they're supposed to be and off they go. Sometimes they're not in the data bank at all. They may have recently moved out of our county. "But I've always voted here!" Only if you live here, folks. Rarely, they're not in the system at all, but they can still vote, but provisionally--a paper vote that's locked up in a sealed bag. We have to warn them that this will be looked at by a county committe and chances are it will NOT be ruled valid. But they still have that option.

        Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

        by Sirenus on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 01:08:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  My voting went like you described..Except I spent (6+ / 0-)

    a day getting a state picture ID card..I voted..Put the ballot in the scanner..The man standing at the scanner in case of problems peaked at my ballot and I didn't get a sticker.. It went well I would say..

    Australia has compulsory voting..I wonder if we could ever get that.

    guns are fun v. hey buddy, watch what you are doing -- which side are you on?

    by 88kathy on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 12:35:13 AM PST

  •  I agree (7+ / 0-)

    while I am a self described progressive above all I want the democratic process to work and for people to vote

    •  I Think We All Know That If More People (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      duhban, kaliope, SilentBrook

      vote we will win more elections. But I was not remotely joking when I say when I talk to my mother on election night, as a Republican, she is often in tears. I was taught as a kid that we live in a participatory Democracy and citizens need to be involved.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 01:01:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  well one always wants to think their ideas (4+ / 0-)

        are the ones that the populace supports and I certainly believe my ideas and progressive ideas in general  are what the nation needs

        But just as much we need democracy to actually work otherwise we get the broken joke of a system we currently have

        •  corruption comes with the territory, it seems (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          duhban, SilentBrook

          compared to all other systems, democracy is the best because it represents the will of the populace

          but if the population doesn't participate, you get what we have

          and it certainly has been a policy of the right to get us to this place

          where a major occupation of those in power, locally as much as nationally, is to make the vote difficult

          the voter, already beguiled by the media and given a poor education, has no interest in overcoming one more obstacle

          •  What kills me is that inevitably, the people who (0+ / 0-)

            bitch the most about how the country is "going to hell" and their "rights" are being violated are the ones who don't vote.

            In which case, my reply is simple: "If you can't be bothered to vote, I can't be bothered to listen to you."

            Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

            by Sirenus on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 01:10:23 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  cool parents (6+ / 0-)

    mine were first generation American (tho you could not tell-totally assimilated in one generation)-I think that is why the citizenship and honor/duty/privilege of voting was instilled in us early and often. We went with them to the polls each time and were expected to be well behaved.

    Separately, I live in a mixed income mixed race area of an Northeast city. THe kind of area that in some Republican dominated states had people in line for many hours--reportedly up to nine hours in some parts of FL.

    If my city can have all of us in and out in 15 min during the rush after work (around 6pm is when I voted), what is WRONG with these others? (so I agree with you it must not be that hard!)

    My own experience, in a large urban areas, shows me what can be done and indicates that what they are doing instead must be on purpose. They couldn't be that incompetant.

    You are right. Everyone who is a good citizen should be talking more on why they have such a "problem" when other equally congested cities DON"T.

    •  My Family Came Here In The 1860s (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kaliope, ItsSimpleSimon, SilentBrook

      cause well in Scotland we didn't bow to the King of England. Long story .....

      As you said and me have said this isn't hard.

      I recall on "Black Thursday" this year I went to Target. I was able to check out and pay with a credit card in under like 10 minutes. A mob of folks.

      Is voting harder?

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 01:27:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  the entire city of Boston and state of MA at least (4+ / 0-)

        shows it's not when the Want voting to run smoothly, it can easily be done.

        and we don't have early voting AT ALL unlike FL and OH and some other states that had voting problems.

        I think it's a useful excercize on all levels to discuss  the places that have no voting lines that are demographically similar to the places that kept their citizens (without food water shelter bathroom or rest from standing) for many hours.

        I have bad feet and some other health issue. I would not have been able to vote. Discriminated against the disabled, ill, some elderly and just people with bad feet!

        •  I Get I Live In A Small Rural Town (4+ / 0-)

          but you seem to suggest as I thought that even in a larger city (and I used to live in DC) processing people to vote isn't that hard.

          It just doesn't make any sense to me. I am a liberal liberal. I am not a conspiracy kind of guy most days. But I am coming to the fact, and we see it in many other states, that our elected leaders just don't want us to vote.

          When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

          by webranding on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 01:43:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Yup. Unequal access to voting is unconstitutional (6+ / 0-)

    and deliberate suppression of access to voting is Treason.

    Pour yourself into the future.

    by Troubadour on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 01:40:05 AM PST

  •  I live in a blue city in a red state. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kaliope, webranding, SilentBrook

    Voting has always been very easy. The wait is usually only 20 minutes or so but this last election it was about 90 minutes because there were way too many propositions, initiatives, and bond measures for voters to consider. It simply took longer to cast the actual ballot if you read through it all.

    Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

    by jayden on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 02:01:06 AM PST

  •  We the voters shall vote and the GOP (3+ / 0-)

    can find rare and unusual ways to restrict us but we shall vote.  When a 101 year old woman finds a way to vote, we will find a way to vote.  Gee, I wonder who she voted for, I bet it was Romney, great champion of voter rights talked about it constantly, as I recall.  

  •  Another moment of SOTU happiness $9 min wage (4+ / 0-)

    Just think of how this could play out:

    -- Either the Congress passes the $9 minimum, resulting in many tea-party / right-wing GOP representatives going on the record against better living standards for millions of workers. Then those GOP candidates go to the mattresses  in the 2014 off-year elections for lower wages.

    -- Or, (more likely) the Senate considers and might even pass $9 minimum, the GOP-led House blocks eventual passage. Which means the issue of a better minimum wage goes in front of the public across the nation in 2014.

    Just the kind of thing needed to help boost Democratic-leaning turnout in an off-year election cycle.


  •  Well.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have always lived (except for a 3 year stay in a very red state) in blue states and don't remember long lines except once (1972) when I had to wait or had any delay in voting.
    The red state voting experience was, ummmm, interesting as no one seemed to know where I was supposed to go to vote, it was, after all, a new apartment complex....yeah it was only built 10 years previously.  Guess they wouldn't have had any trouble finding where I was supposed to go had I registered as an 'R'.
    (PS I was registered as an 'I', but that was probably suspect with my northern accent).

    I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

    by Lilyvt on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 05:05:10 AM PST

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