Friday, June 24, 2016

A View On Voting.....From My Side Of The Desk

By Stan G. Kain
June 24, 2016

I've been watching the U.S. Election Primaries this year with great interest.  Without a doubt, it's the most interesting I recall in my 70 plus years on the planet.  Certainly like no other I've seen and more of an exercise in futility than in democracy.  This morning, the United Kingdom "Brexit Vote" news overshadows most all the headlines...along with the unexpected "Exit" majority, in spite of projections that the "Stay" vote would prevail.

The United States touts herself on being the shining beacon of democracy, thanks to a voting system where "the voice of the people" decide.  Looking at the Brexit voting this morning, I'm left asking myself a lot of questions.  Right at the top of that list of questions, I have to ask if that beacon is still burning so brightly.  Perhaps it's time to take an honest look at "one man, one vote."

"One man, one vote."  How simple can a system of democracy be?  Here in America, apparently it's too simple.  Historically, it's been a long, uphill struggle, continuing to this day.  We've struggled with questions where we had to ask if that philosophy included the right for women to have that vote.  We've wrestled with the right of Blacks and other minorities...and whether they should have a voice in our voting system.  We've imposed "literacy tests" before allowing the right to vote.  We're still a checkerboard of voting rules.  In some states, a convicted felon is forever barred from having a voice in the voting process.  Other states allow a convicted felon to vote under certain conditions...completion of sentence, time period following conviction and completion of sentence...while in other states, a convicted felon has a voice even while incarcerated.  All the while, each and every one of these citizens....felon or not....are citizens of the same nation, voting on the same issues.

Even our highest courts fail to agree on a principle so simple as each individual having a right to cast a single vote.  We argue that "people who exist on paper only," corporations..."are people, too."  We are so tuned to this influence that we recognize that the candidate with the largest campaign war chest has an advantage over those with lesser funding.  Corporate money molds and shapes our candidates and the outcome of our elections.  We even go so far as to have a system called, "Gerrymandering."  A means of manipulating voting districts, so as to give an edge to one party or another in an election.  The party with the greatest influence at the time has the advantage of "moving" district lines so as to maintain an advantage.  The very term, "Gerrymandering" comes from the appearance of these districts, appearing to many as looking like the outline of a "salamander," wandering aimlessly about a map, when drawing the district borders.

Not satisfied with this manipulating of the vote, we come up with the concept of, "Superdeletates."  Chosen individuals who cast a vote worth far more than the vote of the individual citizen.  What?  This is "one man, one vote democracy?"  Even further, we Americans embrace "1776" and the communication technology of the day.  While we no longer appoint a rider to travel by voice our vote because of the vast distances between voters and the government....we still embrace the :"Electoral College" system.  Today, technology gives us the ability to count individual votes and tally them at light speed, but heaven forbid that we don't honor "tradition."  After all, we're Americans!

So far, this Primary Election year, we've witnessed millions of people being given incorrect ballots at voting locations, we've seen polling stations closed for no apparent reason.  We have countless reports of people being denied the right to vote for vague and ambiguous reasons when they arrive to cast their vote.  We've watched as "exit polls" are conducted....something of a "checks and balances" on the trend of votes cast...yet when the count is complete, it fails to agree with agree with the vote tally.  We've even observed numerous challenges in respect to voter fraud....and states such as California, where nearly two million votes sit around in plastic bins....uncounted., yet winners are declared.  We even continue to use electronic voting machines, shown to be vulnerable to hacking and do not have a paper trail for validation in many states.

Now, this morning, I'm reading about the "Brexit" vote in the United Kingdom.  I'm looking at a system where each person in the U.K. had the opportunity to cast their vote.  Reports indicate that the heaviest voting has come from areas with the highest concentration of working class voters.  Perhaps the most telling elements I see missing are that votes have not been the greatest in Gerrymandered districts, nothing about the "corporate financial influence" impact on voting results, nor complaints about individuals being excluded from voting for one reason or another.  I've seen very little in respect to concern about the quality of electronic voting machines, either.  I've not read reports of poll worker impropriety nor closed polling locations.

I have read that after 17 million votes were counted in favor of "Exit," the result was obvious, since this was a majority.  Quite different than reading about some 2 million votes sitting around uncounted as we've seen in California.  I've not read where we have to wait and see what the "Superdelegates" will decide is best for voters.  What's going on in the United Kingdom?  Have they learned nothing about the shining example of democracy as defined by "the greatest and most free nation on earth?"  Where are their corporate influence peddlers?  Their mud-slinging television political commercials?  Their circus atmosphere debates?  I'm confused!

By all appearance, the "Brexit Vote," appears to be a simple democratic exercise in people casting a "one man, one vote" voice in the future direction of the United Kingdom.  How blatantly simple can democracy be?  The only missing element I would have liked to have seen was for the media to conduct exit polls....but at this point, I'm not complaining.  It appears that the citizens of the United Kingdom have spoken...each individual having an equal voice in their future.  A shining example of democracy in action....not just in rhetoric.  Wake up, America!  It's well past time for us to go back to the core principles of democracy....each member of our nation having the same voice...whether rich, poor, minority or not....and deciding the direction of their future.  Naturally, just one man's opinion.

Copyright 2016 Stan G. Kain

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