Monday, June 20, 2011

Voting Made Not-So-Easy.


I think it's common knowledge that most young people don't actually enjoy voting.  Let's face it, it's a tedious process (depending on where you live) with long lines, cranky adults that just want to go home, and the depressing reminder that you have to choose between Senator Dumbass and Representative Fuckhead to be in charge of your tax dollars, while knowing full well that they're just going to piss said money away on hookers and porn instead of fixing that goddamn pothole that has destroyed two of your tires and bent a fucking rim.

I'm pretty sure that the only people that like to vote can be lumped into two categories: they're either Republicans that believe it is our "God-given right" to vote (and will beat your ass, or try to, if you say otherwise), or they are the older generation of seniors who are blissfully unaware of what it is they are voting for (or maybe they simply don't care because they have little time left on this planet - "Listenin' to the damn rap music at nine o' clock at night!  I'll teach them!  Four more years of this idiot oughta do it!").

There is a third category, I suppose, but I'm sure it's relatively small in comparison to the other two, and that is the category of people who really don't mind voting.  If you're in that category, congratulations.  You have more patience than I ever could have.

My point is that if you look at the people that actually do go out in vote in this country, you'll see that it's mostly middle to upper class, older white people.  2008 was a huge exception.  There was a giant turn out of young people like myself, latino, and black voters that had completely had enough with the Bush administration and Republicans in general.  Democrats took the House, the Senate, and the Presidency in one swoop.  But see, that defeated group of older, right-wingers hit back in 2010 after we had all lost interest in politics.  The fact is, those of us that don't like to vote look at politicians and see nothing interesting.  We want our representatives to stand up and fight for us like they were doing (or said they would do) in 2008.  When we all remembered that the Democrats are pussies, we stopped caring, and we didn't vote in 2010.

Knowing that my generation and non-white Americans don't usually turn up at the polls seems to have resonated with the right-wing strategists from the state to the federal level.  Why?  President Obama crushed Senator McCain in the 2008 election.  I remember seeing the map of the country and watching as each state turned blue, even fucking Virginia which is always red.

Realizing that they need to tread lightly to avoid another upheaval in 2012 but knowing that to be impossible because they are ignorant morons, Republicans have actually stooped to changing the voting laws at the state level to make it harder for people to vote.  Sorry, did I say "people"?  I meant to say, "people who don't vote Republican/right wing".  Reading back over this, I feel like I'm one of those conspiracy theorists, sitting at home with nothing better to do but cross-reference wikipedia articles for evidence of a new world order, aliens, or God (that's right, I went there).

I wanted to put more pictures of white politicians on 
here, but it's easier to just tell you to open up a 
blank word document and stare at it.

Unfortunately, this shit is happening under the guise of limiting voter fraud.  I'm going to post the news article (and yes, it's an opinion column, but the author has links to actual news articles about the laws in question) in a bit, but here's a snippet to show what I'm talking about:

"In Texas, for example, the law allows concealed handgun licenses as identification but not student IDs. And guess what?  Nationwide exit polls show that John McCain carried households in which someone owned a gun by 25 percentage points but lost voters in households without a gun by 32 points."

In other words, college educated individuals cannot use their student ID to vote, but rednecks with guns can.  It's no secret that a lot of right-wingers feel as though colleges are liberal-oriented.  I think that's where the logic of this particular law comes into play.  News flash, conservatives: colleges do promote liberalism, but not because of the professors.  They're liberal because they push intelligence over blind following (i.e. they make people think).

Phew.  I'm so glad it's easier for these guys to vote now.
They look like politically educated individuals that won't be
motivated simply by skin color, creed, or a strange love for
Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

It's these kind of subtle laws that are making voting more difficult or, honestly, just not worth the hassle.  Take my state, for example.  Apparently a law was enacted not ten days ago that ended same-day voter registration.  I mean, that's how I voted for the first time in my life.  Now we have to go and register before the day of the vote.  What college student is going to take the time out of their busy lives to do this?

I know this all sounds incredibly lazy, but it's all of these little things that build up that make voting seem so ridiculous.  So I propose this:  in 2012, no matter how difficult the state politicians have made it for people to vote, we go out and do it anyway.  Just grit your teeth and fight through the pain.  Register early.  Take the extra time to go to the polls.  Ignore the knowledge that no matter who you vote for, you're going to get fucked over.  Be optimistic.  Vote for whoever is going to fuck you over the easiest (trust me, in this case, you won't want it rough).  And finally, when you leave the booth, try not to hit this guy:

"Oh my fucking God, who did you fucking vote for!?!
Tell me!  Tell me now! Aaaarrgh!"

Here's the article I mentioned.  I know I didn't get into it much, but I'm hoping you'll read it for yourself. I didn't want to take any of that fun away from you.  Just for a taste, here are some things you'll read about:

- How Florida no longer lets you correct your address at the polls (2000 elections, anyone?).
- How Indiana forces voters to have a driver's license or similar ID to vote ("Can't afford Driver's Ed?  Too fucking bad, you poor little bastard!")
- How Texas is trying to resurrect the long forgotten, Jim Crowe era poll tax.  

The best thing you can do is click on the underlined links that are littered throughout the article.  It'll bring you to another news article that highlights the specific story (like the Texas poll tax) that the author merely mentions in passing.  Nifty, huh?

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Arthur Langley, Durham ME said...

Yes it's a shame that all the men and women who have died fighting for our nation, for our Constitution, and our great privilege and rights to vote had to prove who they were to be paid, to fight, and to so greatly inconvenience themselves to die for all of us and to preserve the rights we enjoy . . . including the right to find it a pain in the ass to vote like this young person.

In the US Military, wearing of the "dog tags" is required at all times by service members in the field. A service member who has the job of defending our nation, Constitution, and right to vote cannot even get on a base where the service member is stationed without showing a current and valid photo ID.

By comparison to ALL the above, it is very sad that some U.S. citizens find it an onerous and difficult sacrifice to 1) keep their residence address current, 2) have an accurate and valid state photo ID or drivers license, and 3) to vote.

Wonder what our nation's honored dead who "gave the ultimate sacrifice" would think of those who think the small sacrifice asked of them is too great?

A Sane Break said...

My issue isn't so much about voting itself (which I do, although I find it tedious), but about how difficult the parties try to make it in order to discourage their opponent's constituents from voting. And what's more, that they try and back up their new voting laws with baseless accusations of "voter fraud." They need to call it what it is, and stop lying about it.

What's more, I never said that I personally felt that voting was a "pain in the ass." It's frustrating and sometimes time consuming, but I do it. Look at it from my generation's point of view - nothing in Washington changes, no matter who is in charge. A lot of people my age do find the process to be a pain in the ass, because no matter the outcome, shit stays the same.

Also, our military has nothing to do with the idiots in the legislative branch, particularly those at the state level. Anti-voting laws are going to be made whether the service men and women support them or not.

As a side note, I would like to point out that not once while I was in the military did someone ask me for advice on making laws, or to actually make them myself. Politicians and soldiers are two very different animals, my friend.

Finally, as someone who first voted almost three years ago, I can honestly say that I had no idea what the process would be like. I didn't know that same-day voter registration wasn't something that everyone had - I took that for granted. And now that it's gone here in Maine, I feel as though a lot of adults that will be new to voting next year will try to vote, and not know they had to register earlier. I find it sad that our government can take a democratic process as simple being eighteen years old and checking a box next to a candidate's name so goddamn difficult. If you can show that you are eighteen (the ID of which should show whether you are a citizen or not), then you should be allowed to vote, plain and simple.