July 30, 2004

this is scaring the shit out of me. i have been reading about the diebold voting machine disaster in the making for months, and now we see them in action.

Earlier this week, state election officials reported that a computer crash erased detailed records from Miami-Dade County’s first widespread use of the touchscreen machines in the 2002 gubernatorial primaries and other elections.

the up side of the article is that the republicans are taking notice. i don’t think that absentee ballots are the answer, but its still an acknowledgement of the problem.

but something that bothers me more is that so few people vote. i think voting is what seperates us from a monarchy. it gives each one of us a voice in our government. when people tell me it doesn’t matter, i tell them this:

before our last mayoral election, our out going mayor wanted to leave a legacy which consisted of an nfl stadium. in order to use taxpayer money to build it, the mayor needed to cut something. that something was street repair, something desperately needed since it had been put on the back burner for a decade due to the taxpayer built mlb stadium we had just finished paying off. the city council put the issue on the ballot, much to the displeasure of the mayor. out of 150,000 registered voters in our city, around 7,000 of us voted. and we defeated the stadium. now when you drive through our city, you see streets being repaired, side walks being put in.

so 7,000 of us affected a city of 350,000. not bad. we voted for improving our city over spending hard earned money to build a playground for millionaires. i would argue that each vote counted. we made a difference. now what can millions of us do?

but how to get more people to vote. thats the tough part.

what about making the national congressional and the presidential elections national holidays. i think voting is at least as important as remembering those on whoms lives this country is built. and its a better way to honor their sacrifices then barbequing.

take the control of the federal election commitee away from the parties. we cannot have the real debates we need if the parties make the rules.

instant runoff voting. give the people real choice.

if we have to have political parties, we need to split the ones we have into thirds. that would give a clearer picture of the political landscape of america. it would end politics of lowest common denominator and force real dialogue. and it would give people real choice.

get rid of the electoral college.

i can’t believe we can send satillites to saturn but we can’t build a descent voting machine? i can get money from an atm machine almost anywhere in the world with a paper receipt. i’m sure that if we put a little effort into it we can come up with something better.

get information to the people. it amazes me how hard it is to find out where and when to vote. sometimes its in the paper, buried deep inside. especially city elections. the goverment has no problem getting the word out about ambiguous terrorist attacks, what about whats really important?

this is just my humble opinion. but i do believe in my core that voting is more than just a right, it is a duty. as americans we are obligated to participate in the political system. it is the price of our freedom. but it is also a gift. and if we do not participate, we loss the ability to hold our government accountable.

america is not a given. we must continuously work to ensure that the republic survives.

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