Rog Blog 11/7


Rog Blog: 11/7
And They Call Me Paranoid
Scary Article: I’m still recovering from a four hour movie yesterday so I’ll keep this one short. I pulled one of those silly quiz things off MySpace that I’ll do later, but first….I read an article on voter awareness that was both interesting and infuriating. I realize that the writer pulled from several sources so this isn’t a shot at him. It’s just a few notes based on my experiences working polls over the years. I’ve actually worked the polls in the paper ballot days and under the current electronic voting system. I realize that every state is different so some of the points may be valid elsewhere even if they don’t apply to California. (Like bringing your ID, since it is against the law for anyone in this state to ask you to present ID when voting.) There is an ad quoted in the article (Placed there by a partisan group chumming the waters in case something goes wrong and they need a pre-planned excuse) recommends complaining if there are long lines at the polling places. Excuse me, but what do they think this, some kind of two second procedure? Lines at polling places indicate high voter turn out. Most people show up on their way to work and then in the 90 minutes following the end of the work day. (With a minor spike at lunch time and then again right near closing time.) It says that long lines may an attempt to prevent you from voting. Perhaps it is just as likely that the long lines are caused by a lot of people voting. The article also mentions high voter challenges. I can speak only as a worker in California, but challenges are frowned upon and all but forbidden except in cases where the poll worker knows for a FACT that the person trying to vote is not who they claim to be. (The example given to me was that I could challenge is someone came in and tried to vote as myself or Mrs. Rog.) It says that poll workers are “paid by you” and in cases where they are paid that is true. On the other hand, poll workers (at least here) are paid less than 100 dollars for a 14 hour day plus a 3 hour training session. (Not to mention the pre-election set up time.) Having worked the polls several times I can tell you that there are busy times and slow times. If you are in a long line it is because you are coming at a time when everyone else is trying to vote. Try to remember that the people working those polls are basically VOLUNTEERS who are not partisans. (If they were, they would be out walking the streets instead of inside from dawn until dusk helping us vote.) The more crap you given them, the longer your voting will take. So show up ready to wait if you come at a busy time. Have your sample ballot ready and know how you plan to vote. That will help the lines move faster.
Oddly enough I haven’t seen a single article on some of these sites discussing the problem of voter fraud and what we can do to stop it. (Like requiring people actually show ID when voting.) Perhaps a few words on that vital issue might make the article sound more useful and less like partisan chumming.
On that note, the article goes on to discuss provisional ballots and actually links them to “disenfranchisement.” That is a frightening piece of fiction that caused us a boatload of problems at the polls in 2004. It gives the number of provisional ballots that were thrown out as “over a million” which may well be true. Though it claims that that number was enough to change the course of the election which is only true if one believes that all or most of the million thrown out were ballots cast for one candidate or another. Remember, most voter error (which is what causes ballots to be spoiled) is not a partisan problem. Republicans are just as likely to improperly mark a ballot Democrats so these things even out in the end. What is painfully ignored is the fact that for a provisional ballot to be “thrown out” the voter must be ineligible to vote. A VALID provisional ballot is counted. What provisional ballots actually do is prevent VOTER FRAUD and allow EVERYONE who is eligible to vote. (Sorry, I just had to answer this question 100 times on election day because every partisan site had lemmings convinced that something evil was at work.) What provisional ballots actually do is prevent the sort of voter fraud ACORN is guilt of in St. Louis. (Another story that apparently slipped by the pre-election chumming machine.) You see, if a group files a fraudulent change of address form (As ACORN did) that slips by the Registrar of Voters you may show up to vote only to find that you are not on the rolls. (Because they have moved you across the county or even out of state) You may vote on a provisional ballot and when the Registrar compares signatures, your vote will actually count. (With any luck, the group who disenfranchised you will get nailed trying to vote as you in the new precinct where you are now registered.) So let’s not buy into the bullshit folks. Provisional ballots are in place to keep poll workers from sending people who are not on the rolls out the door without voting. If your provisional ballot ends up “not counting” it is because you weren’t registered, aren’t eligible or simply are not who you claimed to be. Groups spinning this issue have their own agenda which often includes intentionally registering people to vote who aren’t eligible and then creating a scandal when those people are denied something they weren’t entitled to in the first place.
One of the things pulled from another partisan group’s voter preparedness guide is to go to the right polling place. That’s great advice and locations do change. Of course, their assertion that going to the wrong polling place may cause you vote not be counted is a bit off. That my friends, is what provisional ballots are for. At least here in California where you may cast your provisional ballot at any location within the county and have it be counted. (Unless of course you cast a provisional ballot at the wrong polling place and then go vote at the correct one.)
So please do be vigilant at the polls, but try to remember that the people working there are doing so for a LOT less than minimum wage and will be LUCKY if ten people thank then all day for handling your voting needs, countless problems and every possible form of nut ball behavior.
And not for nothing, but I’ve been saying we need to fix these issues ever since the mess in 2000. How come all these groups pop their heads up to complain now instead of working do something about the problems in between news cycles?

Eye Candy: A little election day eye candy from Keanni Lei.
Silly Poll: Hey, these things float around on MySpace all the time and I think we need something light.
Forget about New Year’s Resolutions. Let’s just talk about goals. What do you want to accomplish in 06-07? What’s keeping you from getting to them?

1. I will get the garage cleaned out so that we can get a cabinet company in there to install locking cabinets and shelves.
2. I want to get to the gym at least twice a week for better than six months straight.
3. I want to launch the new web site and see if I can make something of it.
4. I want to finally get that documentary treatment written and into the hands of the right people.
5. Find a way to get my ass to Cooperstown to see Tony Gwynn inducted into the Hall of Fame next summer.
I think that’s about it…
What is keeping me from getting to them? Why all the eye candy of course.
Eye Candy: If you are having trouble with child care, don’t forget to get a Babysitter like this one.

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