Monday, October 13

Jellybeans are tasty

This is another politically based post, but it's very important to know. It's amazing how something so stupid, can be so important. Many of you are probably aware of this, but there is an attempt being made to broaden the definition and enforce a law regarding electioneering. I'm not an expert on the subject, but electioneering generally refers to ACTIVELY engaging in campaigning for a candidate. For instance the canvasing which I wrote about in my last post, or entering data, calling people on the phones, and likely those who stand outside courthouses and on street corners with signs and acting way too excited (but good for them).

Voter disenfranchisement is a big problem and it is used more often, at least from what I have observed, from the Republican campaign. Two big ones that immediately come to mind are redistricting and caging. Redistricting is something along the lines of literally re-doing district lines to gain voter results favorable to your desired party. Caging is sending mail out and if it comes back as undeliverable, then the party creates a list of all of these names and uses it to try and challenge voters at the polls if their names are on these lists. The Republican party is currently attempting to cage and create a list based on names sent to forclosed houses. Some people who have had their houses foreclosed on are still using that address as their legal address. I can think of reasons why, such as being temporarily homeless, trying to apply for benefits and needing to provide and address, etc. Many might also remember the phone jamming scandal during the 2002 election, initiated from the Republican party in which they jammed Democrat campaign headquarters phone lines.

So back to the electioneering issue. The problem, and I don't know if this applies to every state, is that a Republican led initiative is attempting to broaden the definition of electioneering regarding the wearing of t-shirts, pins or hats that show support for your candidate. If you show up at the polls and your t-shirt says Obama, or McCain than they have the discretion to turn you away and not allow you to vote unless you change your shirt or remove the item. Generally speaking, and this is just an observation, Democrats tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves a little more than Republicans, so while this would apply to both sides of the election, it is more likely to AFFECT the side of the Democrats. Those on the Republican side trying to enforce this law are referring to the wearing of t-shirts and such as PASSIVE electioneering.

There is obviously the possibility that this is an infringement on a persons individual rights. Free speech, if you can even call it that, being one. Perhaps it's a legitamite concern and should be enforced-that's something the courts should decide and then make very publicly known before the next election. It's not something that should be barely slipping over the radar that no one knows about and used this election as a way to disenfranchise voters. Some people stand in line for hours to vote, and the idea that they will be told that they will not be allowed to vote because of a t-shirt they have on is just plain disturbing, and will likely result in many of them not coming back to wait in line again. That is the desired outcome of this Republican led initiative and one we can not allow to happen.

So, to be safe, it is being recommended that if you think this law is bogus that you not use this election to protest your concerns by wearing your tshirt anyway. Go to the polls in your plain white Hains, cast your vote and then get involved after the election in trying to change or clarify these laws. Also, AND THIS IS THE MAIN REASON FOR THIS POST, TELL ANYONE YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS, AND ASK THEM TO TELL ANYONE THEY KNOW. DO NOT GO TO THE POLLS WEARING ANYTHING SHOWING SUPPORT FOR YOUR CANDIDATE. ITS NOT WORTH THE RISK OF NOT BEING ABLE TO VOTE. THIS ELECTION IS TOO IMPORTANT.

Thanks for reading. By the way, you probably figured out that I titled my post just to get your attention. How devious.


cynthia said...

All of this is pretty scary stuff! I was just listening to some NPR podcasts this weekend that basically were talking about the same thing. I'm not sure if it was "Talk of the Nation" or the "Diane Rehm Show" - but the topic of racism, caging and electioneering came up.

What the hell kind of a process do we have??

After hearing about the various issues, I verified my (and my hubby's) voter registrations and we requested mail in ballots this year which we just received in the mail. I love going to the polls on election day, but I've decided to vote early and to do it from the comfort of my home. Here in Colorado, one of the swing states, there's a possibility that thousands of voter registrations were "accidentally" deleted. Oy vey.

Ben Stark said...

How very clever of you with your title choice ;) I had a big long comment to post, but I think I'm going to make a post on my blog instead.