Monday, April 06, 2009

State Ignores Own Laws, Demands You Verify Right To Vote

State legislators led by Republican Sen. Bill Ketron thinks you, as a voter, needs numerous checks and verification just to cast a ballot. You just can't be trusted, he says, you must be pure:

Senator Ketron claims he introduced the bill to “protect and purify” the ballot. And it will do just that - but not in the American “this is a democracy and we should be removing barriers to voting instead of creating them” kind of way.

As Senator Haynes said, we already have laws in place to punish those who commit voter fraud. Why do we need to erect additional barriers. Especially, I would add, when the incidences of voter fraud cases is virtually non-existent?

And if this law disenfranchises one person, then that is one person too many." via Liberadio(!)

Newspaper editorials cheer this legislation, comparing it to getting food stamps:

"Opponents claim Sen. Ketron’s legislation will somehow discourage voters from participating in the political process and unnecessarily stigmatizes those who would have to obtain a free photo ID by signing a pauper’s oath. By that reasoning, the federal government shouldn’t issue EBT cards for food to the needy because it identifies them as being poor.
Indeed, honest, open elections are the best protection society has against those who would try to subvert and steal political power."

So, voting, backbone 'o Democracy, depends on yet another ID, apart from the one you get when you apply to register to vote under existing state rules. And these new IDs are somehow linked to getting food stamps. Bottom line: voters cannot be trusted. Nor can the poor and needy.

Also, requiring a verifiable paper trail on all votes cast in an election is just evil, unnecessary, and Republicans in Tennessee are fighting against such accountability:

In 2008, the Tennessee General Assembly passed bi-partisan legislation that would require optical scanning voting machines for all 95 counties in the state by 2010. Governor Bredesen signed it into law in June of ’08.

According to that bill, the estimated cost would be approximately $25 million and at the time the bill was signed into law, it was reported that Tennessee had approximately $31.4 million of the HAVA (Help America Vote Act) money available to make this upgrade. For more information on this check out Knoxviews at:

But now that the Republicans have taken control of the General Assembly and in turn will have the majority members on the County Election Commissions, and will also have the ability to replace the current Democrat Election Administrators in 95 counties with Republican Administrators, they want to stall the purchase of verifiable voting machines until 2012.

How can anyone who depends on elections to hold a job question the absolute necessity of insuring that every vote is accurately counted? And furthermore, how can those of us that vote stand by quietly and allow anyone to deny us the voting mechanisms that will insure that our votes are counted accurately. I don’t know about you, but if I have an important document on my computer, one that is not duplicated on paper anywhere else, I make a hard copy and file it. Some of us even pay for safe deposit boxes at local banks where we keep really important documents. What is more important then the validity of your vote on Election Day? (Via OpenPen)

The implication is that only voters are guilty of nefarious acts of deceit (though such proof isn't documented), while the state government just needs to herd you into groups easily managed and manipulated. Refusing to implement to already legislative-approved standards of HAVA shows that the real goal of Sen. Ketron's plan is to exempt election officials from creating a system which could eliminate fraud, and instead blame imaginary acts of voter fraud

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