I once knew a girl who entered a beauty pageant, talent, swimsuit and evening gown. It was held at a local bar. No one else entered, so she won. It was a mortifying embarrassment to behold, especially the “talent” portion, as no one really wants to see anyone spinning batons — and local fire code prevented her from adding pyrotechnics. And so it was last night with Mitt Romney taking another 5 more unchallenged primary states, including my state of Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania primaries, voting is party-specific. When we close down after a LONG day at the polls, we publicly post the local tally sheets as specified by the law. Duplicates sheets are divided-up between various sources who have competing interests so as to avoid any impropriety. As Democratic majority inspector of my polling station, I work directly next to a lovely woman and good friend who is the Republican minority inspector. At the evening’s end there was only about a 7% Republican showing in our district. But Philadelphia is a very ‘blue’ town. In other words, Romney won with feint praise.
The biggest pain in the ass THIS election (albeit a small turn-out) was the considerable constipation caused by the new voter ID laws. It’s ONE MORE unnecessary step in what is already a cumbersome process, understaffed with never enough volunteers. November is going to be bedlam. The first and most noticeable problem was people automatically laying-down their ID on the registration desk and then walking away without it. It didn’t matter how often you told people to hold onto them, they laid them down any way contributing the further nuisance of tracking-down voters to return their identification. I suspect the greater threat is NOT NOW nor EVER HAS BEEN voter fraud at the polling place. The greater threat is now going to be identity theft should anyone scoop-up an ID that isn’t theirs.
A sizable number of voters WITH ID were refusing to show them in protest. This was like a ‘soft-opening’ — people were still allowed to vote. What most people don’t understand, is generally speaking you know the overwhelming number of your regular voters in your district. It is NOT easy or feasible for people to vote more than once in any way that would genuinely effect election results. There was only a 14% turnout for the primary which means only 7% of the 14% turnout were voting for Romney. Here’s a simple mathematical comparison: If a district has 1000 voters, and 140 voters actually participate (14%), then in real figures, Mitt Romney got 9 measly votes. We have 1000 voters in our polling station.
Working the voting polls is a 15 hour day convulsing between abject boredom and chaotic bedlam. All the polling stations need more volunteers, but no one ever steps forward. Let’s face it, Americans don’t even value their vote. If they did, they’d show-up and participate in the process either working at the polls or by at least voting. France’s recent primary had an 80% voter turnout. Our congested Philadelphia neighborhood had only a 14% turnout. But lest we forget, the real purpose of the voter ID laws aren’t to prevent voter fraud. Voter fraud doesn’t happen until ballots reach smoke-filled back rooms away from prying eyes. The polling stations are clean. Voter ID laws are designed to discourage and prevent minority votes. Seniors, people of color and student aged voters.
Philly is a college town. The more educated the voter, the harder they are to fool. No wonder the GOP wants to cut funding to education. This is far from over…