Sunday, November 04, 2012

Every vote counts and nothing else matters

Sure, we say it every time. It's the most important election ever. And you know what? Every election is important. And this one is the most important one ever. At least in my rather long lifetime.

The fight in 2012 isn't so much about party politics as it is about a fight to save civil society. Republicans are so emblodened by getting away with their blatant mendacity, they no longer feel the need to hide behind subtlety in manipulating the system to only their own benefit.

What's happening right now in early voting is just the beginning. The GOP is taking a jackhammer to the foundational structure of our system of democratic governance. These are the fruits of the 2010 experiment in teaching the Democratic party a lesson by sitting out the election and allowing Republicans to take over the statehouses.

In Ohio, Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted issues a directive on provisional ballots that makes it possible to toss out many thousands of Democratic votes. People are waiting in hours long lines to cast ballots because Republican statehouses cut early voting days and cut voting hours in Democratic leaning precincts (but not in GOP districts).

Situation even worse in Florida where Republicans similarly curtailed early voting. Elderly people waiting eight hours in line to cast a vote. Improper instructions on the ballot. Confusing and conflicting evolving policies on extending access.

In Miami-Dade today, they opened an additional five hour window at one site and closed it after three hours saying they ran out of ballots and couldn't "accomodate" the voters. The voters wouldn't leave so they started towing cars. Then they re-opened at some point later. Then they tried to lock their doors at five even though people in line got there in time. Which is illegal. So they relented and said people already in line could vote.

Some of this is from later day twitter hysteria, so not entirely clear the details are exactly accurate but clearly, it was chaotic. Inarguably designed to discourage voter participation. And that's barely a sliver off the total block of GOP funded voter suppression going on all over the country.

Romney poll watchers being improperly instructed to confront voters. Mailings from GOP controlled government offices with improper instructions on polling stations, ID requirements and even the date of the election. Misleading robo-calls of unknown origin. There's not room to list every incident I've seen in the last 48 hours. The GOP is determined to steal this election.

If they're allowed to take over and disenfranchise enough of us, they'll shred our hard won social contract. It took over a century to write. With that kind of power, they could destroy it in another half a decade. Which has been their goal since the day the first draft was enacted over their protests. And they'll impose their own agenda in the process.

Allowing them to be rewarded for their perfidy isn't an alternative I find acceptable. The only way to thwart them is with a turnout so massive they can't hide the stolen votes. And every single vote counts because the popular count will matter in how the Republicans and their paid media are allowed to spin the results.

Every vote counts. Always. But this year, really, more than ever. You want to change the system, your vote is your best weapon. Deploy it wisely where it has the most effect.

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