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Article Teaser: The civil liberties groups, who purport to protect the right of the disadvantaged and the minorities, have made the argument that the poor and the minorities cannot be trusted to know how to use the punch-card ballots properly, and therefore, their votes may not be counted. The thing that offended me about this argument is...

Keep reading below...

Are People too Stupid to Cast Their Own Votes? An Ugly Argument!

Copyright (c) 2003-2017

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA September 24, 2003

An 11-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals met to reconsider the judicial decision stopping the October 7th recall vote of Governor Gray Davis. The judges unanimously decided to permit the vote to continue as originally scheduled.

On September 11, 2003, a federal appeals court panel had decided that the recall election should be postponed because of the continued use of punch-card ballots in the Californian electoral process.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project had gathered their forces to stop the recall election. They brought in attorney Mark Rosenbaum to argue their case for the postponement of the October 7th election.

Mouthpiece Mark Rosenbaum argued that moving ahead with the election posed a risk of potential discrimination against poor and minority voters who may have difficulty with the punch-card ballots.

The Fox News website stated in a story, "Lawyers for civil rights groups that wanted to stop the election argued that a statistical study showed 40,000 poor and minority voters might have their ballots excluded if punch-card ballots are used in the Oct. 7 election."

--- http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,97131,00.html



COMMENTARY

The argument behind this case had rubbed me wrong since the story originally broke.

Here is the deal.

The presidential elections in Florida in November of 2000 proved that punch-cards are prone to errors.

Never before has it been so well-known that all of our voting systems are known to have an intrinsic error rate in the 2-4% range. No matter the voting system, there is an error rate to be factored into the equation.

Honestly, how many of us had really ever considered the likelihood of a certain percentage of our ballots ending up in the trash bin?

The civil liberties groups, who purport to protect the right of the disadvantaged and the minorities, have made the argument that the poor and the minorities cannot be trusted to know how to use the punch-card ballots properly, and therefore, their votes may not be counted.

The thing that offended me about this argument is that the groups who are supposed to be fighting for the rights of the disadvantaged and the minorities are assuming that the people that they are trying to protect do not have the basic common sense to make sure that their votes will be counted.

To hear the argument of attorney Mark Rosenbaum, one would have to come to the conclusion that the people he is arguing to protect are simply too stupid to cast their votes properly. Mr. Rosenbaum's clients fight against discrimination in every day life, yet they give merit to the argument that the people for whom they are dedicated to protect should be thought of as less than capable of having the common sense ability to protect their own voice!

Did Mr. Rosenbaum's clients really believe that they were serving the best interests of their constituents by suggesting that we the people should have looked down upon the intelligence of their constituency?

Who is to say that the people who have fouled up the ballots are the disadvantaged poor and the minorities? Can that idea be proven? How could they make that argument with a straight face and a restful conscience? Who is to say that the disadvantaged and the minorities are really the ones messing this electoral process up?

What about that rich guy who is in a hurry to get in and get out of the voting booth? What about that suburban mother who is hearing her children scream a fit in the background while she is trying to vote? What about the average Joe who has 30 minutes for lunch and wishes to cast a ballot during lunch --- thinking ahead to what he will order from the drive-through, while he is in the voting booth? Could it be that they are really the ones leaving the "hanging chads" on the ballots?

Sure, punch-cards are less than ideal. Yet the fact that most voting systems have an error rate of 2-4% is even more disturbing. Are my own votes being counted? Who is to say?

I have been in a hurry while in the voting booth, myself. I even know that a couple of years back, I screwed up and voted for the wrong person. I know that because I remember the conversation I had with one of the voting monitors about it. If I was to throw away the ballot and get another one, I would have screwed up everyone's vote at that location. It's funny you know --- I am neither poor nor a minority. I am actually educated --- and yet I screwed up my own vote at one time.

If you haven't yet figured it out, I am offended by the fact that the people sworn to protect the poor and the minorities of our country have taken to the argument that their constituencies cannot be trusted to cast a ballot correctly using a punch-card system.

Jay Leno and the other comedians have jokes galore about voters who foul up this simple electoral process.

The plaintiff's in this case desired for us to assume that their constituents are the ones who are fouling up in the voting booth. The civil liberties groups, who fight for the right's of the disadvantaged poor and minorities, wanted us to believe that we should really be laughing at their constituency.

That is just wrong! Pure and simple!


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