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Hullabaloo


Monday, November 05, 2012

 
Rulzizrules: Republicans truly believe that allowing people to vote is undemocratic

by digby

So, I'm seeing a lot of retweets of this line from David Frum on twitter, and I think, "right on."

Here's what doesn't happen in other democracies: Politicians of one party do not set voting schedules to favor their side and harm the other.

Indeed. We should all want every citizen, regardless of party, to be able to cast a vote and have it counted.

Frum goes on to demonstrate just how heinously undemocratic our system really is:

Here's a story from the 2000 election.

Excellent example. GOP Vote caging, purging of voter rolls, inconsistent counting rules, a partisan election apparatus run by the candidates brother ruling in favor of their own Party, a Partisan Supreme Court decision. You name it, it had it.

But wait: here's the example he chooses:

Like many old cities, St. Louis has not invested in modern voting equipment. Voting delays are notorious. At the scheduled poll-closing time, voters were still lined up throughout the city. Al Gore's campaign, desperate to win the state, asked a judge to extend voting for three more hours in the heavily Democratic city -- but only in the city. A state judge agreed. Republicans appealed, the state judge was overruled, and the polls were closed after remaining open a total of 45 additional minutes beyond the legal closing time.

Republicans won Missouri's 11 electoral votes by a margin of 78,786 out of the almost 2.4 million cast.

Ok, first of all, let's just contemplate the bloody absurdity of Frum picking this as his example of political tampering with the vote at a time when the Republicans have made an industry out of vote suppression for the past decade.

Moreover, this isn't a case of Democratic operatives rigging the system so the other side can't vote fergawdsakes, something which is happening all over the country as we speak. This was about allowing people to vote. Is he truly so obtuse that he can't see the difference? Because the city is poor (due to the fact that there are many low-income people who don't have a lot of money to pay in taxes and the rich people, as usual, are selfish assholes who refuse to contribute) that means the citizens are just out of luck if they happen to be in long lines at closing time?

The point is that people should be able to vote. If the creaky, poverty stricken system isn't capable of allowing everyone who is standing in line to cast a ballot before the arbitrary poll closing, it's not their fault. Nobody should be punished for it by not being allowed to cast a legal vote if they got to their polling place before it closed. I honestly cannot understand how someone as smart as Frum can make this argument with a straight face.

But he does.

When local Democratic officials saw themselves disadvantaged by the existing rules, they appealed to a judge for special treatment for its (likely) voters -- and only for those voters. (Good news: In Missouri, circuit judges are appointed by the governor and then confirmed in office by nonpartisan vote. In many states, however, judges are themselves elected in partisan elections.)

The other party demanded that the existing rules be upheld, and the case was litigated on the fly, ending in a weird compromise that only failed to become a national scandal because the events in Florida were so much more dramatic.

Yes, they were "dramatic" weren't they? But no need to talk about that.

This example of politicians allegedly rigging the system to their own advantage is yet another "rulzisrulz" right wing strategy, which consistently holds that in this one case and this one case only, arbitrary bureaucratic regulations must be followed to the letter.

Honestly, the Democrats do suck in a million ways. But I honestly do not believe that they would go to court to oppose holding a crowded polling place open longer even if it might benefit the Republicans. I could be wrong about that, but since the Republicans tend to live either in cow country or wealthy suburbs, this is unlikely to be tested.

This is a truly shameful, shameful attitude and apparently it's so entrenched in the Republican worldview that even semi-apostates like David Frum don't even question the idea that taking away people's ability to vote because they are poor or because they happen to be standing in line when a crowded polling station closes at an arbitrary time might just be a little bit undemocratic. They really are that far gone.


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