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  • Are People too Stupid to Cast Their Own Votes? An Ugly Argument!
    Copyright 2003-2005, Bill Platt

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

    Bill Platt owns http://thePhantomWriters.com . Share your views with the world. Bill specializes in distributing reprint content around the world. You might be surprised to know all of the places where this article has been published.

    This article was originally written: September, 2003

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