Your Votes Are Not Being Counted
... especially if you voted by absentee ballot in the last two elections. There, did I get your attention? It's time you woke up, veterans. Regardless of whether or not you love what this administration is doing for (to) you, there is another army at work in this country - an army of conservative political hacks, scheming power brokers, and every-day self-appointed vote steelers and blockers at work in your state.
Witness the latest from Ohio
The latest sign that Republicans have an election-year strategy to shut down voter registration drives comes from Ohio. As the state gears up for a very competitive election season this fall, its secretary of state, J. Kenneth Blackwell, has put in place "emergency" regulations that could hit voter registration workers with criminal penalties for perfectly legitimate registration practices. The rules are so draconian they could shut down registration drives in Ohio.
Mr. Blackwell, who also happens to be the Republican candidate for governor this year, has a history of this sort of behavior. In 2004, he instructed county boards of elections to reject any registrations on paper of less than 80-pound stock — about the thickness of a postcard. His order was almost certainly illegal, and he retracted it after he came under intense criticism. It was, however, in place long enough to get some registrations tossed out.
This year, Mr. Blackwell's office has issued rules and materials that appear to require that paid registration workers, and perhaps even volunteers, personally take the forms they collect to an election office. Organizations that run registration drives generally have the people who register voters bring the forms back to supervisors, who can then review them for errors. Under Mr. Blackwell's edict, everyone involved could be committing a crime. Mr. Blackwell's rules also appear to prohibit people who register voters from sending the forms in by mail. That rule itself may violate federal elections law.
Mr. Blackwell's rules are interpretations of a law the Republican-controlled Ohio Legislature passed recently. Another of the nation's most famous swing states, Florida, has been the scene of similar consternation and confusion since it recently enacted a law that is so harsh that the Florida League of Women Voters announced that it was stopping all voter registration efforts for the first time in 67 years.
In case you think that Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004 were aberrations, think again. Do you think these successful criminals - and that's what they are - are going to stop there? You had better believe they know that the House and possibly the Senate could go blue in 2006 or 2008 - and they are not about to stand by and let it happen.
You don't have to worry about being seen as a conspiracy theorist, because they ARE after you and your vote through direct illegal actions and voter machine fraud.
So how much of this are you going to take? Especially those who of you who have served in uniform to keep our right to vote unsullied - and available.
Yes, you are tired of being called crybabies over the spilt and spoiled milk of 2000 and 2004. But you better know about what happened, how it was done (start here
), and what you can do to prevent these traitors from doing the same where you live, this time.
That means getting out and getting involved starting now, veterans. If no traditional parties suit your fancy, then take a look at the variety of progressive organizations - many are at the grass roots local levels - that are trying to make sure that every citizen can exercise their right to vote.
If you really care about your country - and your vote - it's time to start doing something about it.