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Mid-term elections


The mid-term elections were held over two weeks ago and still, in some parts of the country, a winner has not been declared. Once again, expensive electronic voting machines (with no paper trail) are being called into question as to their accuracy. All the while, the fine people of Oregon are probably sitting around laughing at the rest fo the country and saying to themselves, “This voting process thing isn’t that complicated – in ain’t brain surgery.”

Why would they being saying this? Because since 1998, the entire state has been conducting their elections via a Vote by Mail system. The citizens of this great state (obviously very smart people) voted to do away with polling places and conduct all elections by mail. Brillant … and cost effective.  This system ends up costing taxpayers about 30 percent less than polling-place elections.

Every registered voter receives a paper ballot in the mail weeks before Election Day. The ballot can be either mailed back or dropped off at one of a number of secure sites statewide.

The system has proved to be fraud-free. Oregon is one of only two states in the nation to verify every single voter signature against the signature on that voter’s registration card. Their process is transparent and open to observation. Finally, the returned paper ballots, which are the official record of the election, can be recounted by hand.

A University of Oregon study conducted five years after the adoption of voting by mail statewide showed that 80 percent of voters across the political spectrum prefer it to voting at polling places. It’s a system that answers the needs of Americans who lead increasingly busy, complex lives, balancing many work and family responsibilities.

When will the rest of the states catch the clue bus and ask their citizens whether they would like to have a Vote by Mail system? I believe that most Americans would go for it. Why don’t more state legislators put this initiative up for a vote by their citizens? It ain’t brain surgery. Just do it.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and be safe out there. And don’t forget to remember all of the men and women in our Armed Services who will not be home for Thanksgiving … especially the ones who have paid the ultimate price with the giving of their life … Remember the Fallen Heros. Thank all of them for serving our country and for protecting our freedoms and way of life.

Richard

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Who are the real losers of the mid term elections of 2006?

 

Certainly not the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party. Power brokers in both parties will continue to live the a life of luxury and power spending as many tax dollars as they can possibly appropriate from the American public.  (Substitute the words ROB and steal for appropriate. Against my better judgment, I voted for the Republican Party again this past Tuesday, primarily because I fear the ideology of the Democratic Party.  Upon close investigation however, the ideology is not all that different between the two parties.  Under Dubya, government has expanded faster than it did under the boogie man Bill Clinton. How did that happen?

 

Citizens who vote for a more conservative government usually vote for the Republican Party. Citizens who want to control illegal immigration, cut taxes, reduce government spending and increase national defense usually vote for a conservative candidate.  Republicans have filled this bill since 1994 and have failed in every area with the exception of National defense.  No wonder we will now suffer through at least two years of increased socialism.  Who will wield enough power to block the likes of Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton and the elitist in Hollywood from keeping their hands out of our pockets and our personal lives?  NO ONE, thanks to the idiots in charge of the Republican Party. Frankly we are screwed and we have no one to blame but the party who just lost national confidence. 

 

I sincerely hope and pray that my gut instincts are incorrect and that the Democrats have learned from the Republicans.  We will know in a very short period of time.  I suspect by the end of 2006 we will know the direction of political policy in the United States for the next two years.  My suspicions are no more tax cuts, increased social programs, increased gasoline prices, increased unemployment by mid 2006, immediate reduction in troop strength in the Middle East, increased pressure for Illegal amnesty and more liberal judges on the bench. 

 

Those of you speculating on making money through the process of buying and selling real estate better get ready.  There is already a movement to tax the amount of appreciation on a real estate sale to be taxed as income.  The capital gains tax should be enough but with some homes having appreciated at fantastic rates during the past 5 years there is a possible treasure trove of pent up tax revenue.  Consider that when buying a piece of property and consider what will happen to the market if this comes to fruition.  Should this sound like Chicken Little screaming about the sky falling, I strongly suggest you do some serious research.

 

Who are the real losers?  You and I my friend!  The individuals going to work every day and depending upon our elected officials to keep our best interests in mind, but guess what, NO ONE IS KEEPING OUR INTEREST IN MIND.  The pundits may be correct when they say we have already lived through the best times our country will ever experience. 

 

Where is the Bull Moose Party when we need it?


As I’ve mentioned before, I live in Atlanta, GA, a one-paper town. I know, cry me a river. But really, a one-paper town these days doesn’t mean what it used to – you know, with the Internet and all. I can pretty damn much read any paper I want to over the Internet. Besides, this post ain’t about a one-paper town. It’s about whiners.

A letter writer in today’s edition of the AJC was responding to a guest editorial about voting – how hard it is, how incovenient it is, blahblahblahblah. Here’s what he (I guess it is a he) said – no names, to protect the ignorant (you read that right).

Ease unfair burden of time constraints

Why can’t the United States place enough value on elections to designate one day each year – or if we need to be parsimonious, one day every two years – as Election Day and mandate the shutdown of everything but emergency services, and shortened shifts for those?

Today’s working class, with fixed hours and inflexible schedules, is severely burdened by time constraints on Election Day, not to mention the machinations involving disparate placement of voting machines. Is a timeout for Election Day asking too much?

Now I don’t know this person but I can tell you he/she is a whiner. Notice the “key” words used in the letter … “severely burdened”, “time constraints”, “working class”, “fixed hours”,  and “inflexible schedules” because we all know “THE MAN” is in charge and it is all FIXED! And he/she uses BIG words like “machionations” and “parsimonious” …. ooooooooooh, I’m impressed. You think this person leans left or right?

Is a timeout for Election Day asking too much? Give me a break!!!!! This person would have the greatest nation on Earth shut down to vote. Damn people. I voted a week and a half ago. I never left my house. It cost me a little time to order the absentee ballot and two stamps – $.78 for gosh sake. How much easier can it get people?

This letter writer would have us shut down the entire U.S. ecomony so it is more convenient and easy for them to vote. How much easier can we make it people? Go online, download the absentee ballot request form, get it, fill it out, and mail it in. Or … go vote early … as you can do in GA and many other states. Or, do as Oregon does and have everyone do a mailed in ballot.  This ain’t brain surgery!

Folks, seriously …. this ain’t brain surgery. Voting ain’t hard. It ain’t unfair. If you want to vote, you’ll figure out a way. Vote, you get to complain about the outcome. Don’t vote, don’t complain. But shutdown the U.S. economy for a day so whiners can be accomodated? Give me a freaking break. Catch the clue bus. Use technology. Let your fingers do the walking. But for goodness sake, stop your damn complaining!

Have a great day … and by the way, don’t forget to vote!

Richard

PS – it will be raining in Atlanta on Tuesday, Election Day – I guess we better figure out how to get umbrellas to a few 100K people 😉


The mid-term elections are coming up next week and as recent trends suggest, voter turnout will be pathetic. Here in Georgia, the SOS office today predicted about a 40% turnout (why do they predict turnout? Does everyone think they are Jean Dixon?). I suspect the turnout in my state will be below that prediction. Seems people just don’t seem to care anymore. Too much trouble to vote, I reckon. Never has been to me, though. I like to complain about politicians and the state of government affairs so I figure if I vote, I get to complain whenever I wish – like this blog and this post.

One group of Americans that are voting less these days is young people. Voter turnout and interest in politics has declined among America’s youth since the early 1970s.  In presidential election years, for example, 18- to 20-year-old voter turnout has decreased from a high of 48 percent in 1972 to just 28 percent in 2000. In midterm congressional elections, turnout among the young is even worse, with only 20 percent of those younger than 25 bothering to show up at the polls. Compare these results with those for seniors, 65 percent of whom voted in 2000.

In 1960 almost 80 percent of Americans younger than 30 watched the Kennedy-Nixon debates, by 2000 less than 40 percent of this demographic tuned in to the first Bush-Gore debate. It seems the “political knowledge gap” between the young and old has been widening for almost two generations; indeed more and more of our youngest citizens are unaware of important political events and lack general political knowledge. And such knowledge is important for nurturing civic values and encouraging an active participation in politics. We need to teach our youth the important value of being politically engaged. Otherwise, we’re in trouble … and you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure this out.

We also need to make it more convenient to vote. Weekend voting would help. There are places that already do this and the turnout is better. Oregon only does voting by mail – seems like a great idea to me. Here in Gerogia (and I believe other states are doing this, too), any person can request an absentee ballot – no reason has to be given (I voted last week – cost me 2 stamps and saved me a lot of time). Plus, you can do early voting a week ahead of time – but you still have to go to the election office to do it – not such a great idea (IMHO). Why don’t politicians and legislators make it easier to vote? This ain’t brain surgery. Getting creative and coming up with new ways and means to improve systems is something the business community has been doing for centuries. Why don’t the decision makers at a national level get it? I think I know the answer. The less people who vote, the easier it is to manipulate the masses.

As Thomas Jefferson once stated:

“We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”

 Go vote … it ain’t brain surgery.

Richard