I’m guessing that Madame either 1) agrees with me, 2) finds it daunting, or 3) has been worn out by me, and so not responding to anything of my 3 closing posts on Hedges’ book.
Very well. “Last” word mine on that! :) Or maybe Madame just is clever enough to be able to select the next topic! LOL
We have, as you relate in your post, undermined community in voting. We don’t make it overall a connected, vibrant, exciting experience. Our hyper-individualist, overworked, overtasked, society, coupled with the overburdened nuclear family, don’t make it all that easy to vote either. We, as workplaces and society, and often as individuals, don’t carve out a sacred place to vote.
Some of that deficiency is byproduct, some is thoughtlessness, some is desired (by those who benefit from it).
I would agree with you that the lack of voter ID should seem too lax, and combined with the fact that voter rolls are often deeply inaccurate, things should be ripe for the kind of fraud that occurred regularly in the 1800s and well into the 1900s. But this intuitive fear would not match reality. The Bush administration spent $70 million dollars looking for voter fraud and found next to none (and fired several prosecutors who refused to go along with wasting scarce resources when they knew there wasn’t a problem). What was discovered instead by this and other investigations is that error, loss, and fraud is probably taking place at a dwarfingly higher rate with the electronic counting machines than any voter fraud (only a few instances of—in the entire country—that were found that MIGHT have been deliberate, and this out of just under the several dozen that occurred in TOTAL). More chilling in its implications for our democracy is that the machines are supplied and controlled by, yes, certain private corporations. Another public function, one for the public good, yet turned over to private interests.
Juvenal once asked “who guards the guardians?” Our question might be, “who counts the counters?” In the days before all these counting machines, there were housewives and retired folks who did it out of a sense of service and community, and the votes were triply counted by members of each party as well (at least in the districts not completely dominated by party or corruption). The reader will not be comforted to find that no such process usually exists where electronic machines are concerned.
Efforts to subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) disenfranchise voters are more common. Even today, incredibly (I have been a Federal observer in elections), attempts—even blatant ones!—occur to prevent voting, discard people’s votes, make it difficult to vote, etc. And not just for ethnic and racial reasons, but for party or extended personal reasons. I have watched voters being told they weren’t registered, or weren’t registered properly, and being turned away, or told to go somewhere else far away and inconvenient, etc. Even when they presented ID and registration, it didn’t help their situation. Others were allowed to vote a “provisional” ballot, which was supposedly going to be tallied sometime (many weeks) in the future after the right to vote was supposedly authenticated. According to a League of Women’s Voters person I talked to, it was a very delayed and inscrutable process, with the “results” often either never reported, or reported long after the election had been “decided.”
And this doesn’t even get into how difficult many states make it to register to vote, and especially how difficult they make it for some groups of people to register. There is sinister intent in many of those cases. And once again, we look idiotic, corrupt, and hypocritical even to many of our friends across the oceans. Friends who offered to supply unbiased monitors to help us ensure our elections are fair across the board. I don’t have to tell you how the howl meter went off the scale after hearing that offer. And despite our sending monitors—and even more frequently strongly offering to do so—all over the world to monitor elections, we couldn’t hold ourselves to the same standard. We don’t have a problem telling other people how they should do things—even think it’s proper and logical that they should follow what we say—but, as happens so often, our own actions belie our words.
Yes, all those things you list probably play a part in our low voter turnout. It may also be that, at some instinctive level, they feel it doesn’t matter. Like the old Soviet elections where each of the “candidates” had been selected by the Party, maybe they feel that, in a way, it’s not much different here. Only this time, another P word does the selecting—Plutocracy.