Monday, February 21, 2005

Responses to Fair Election Proposals

Now that a few days have past, there's been time to see some reaction to the election reform measures proposed by Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and others last week. The prevailing opinion in the media, not surprisingly, appears that it has little chance for passage in a Republican-dominated Congress. Hopefully the voting population (or those who wish they could vote) might put some pressure on Congress. The Republican bloggers don't show any signs of deviating from the party line to support the democratic process.

It should come as little surprise that the right wing bloggers support the partisan interests of the GOP over principles of democratic elections. After all, if they really had any principles, they could not have supported George Bush. A handful of conservative bloggers endorsed Kerry, but the blogosphere is packed with blogs which were willing to back George Bush without concern for the degree to which he has betrayed the interests of this country and the principles upon which it was founded. They ignore the degree to which George Bush differs from traditional Republican values.

It is hard to see how any true conservative (other than the Christian Right variety) could support Bush. George Bush is such an extremist that even John Kerry was closer to traditional Republican values than George Bush. If Barry Goldwater, who had no use for the religious right, was alive, I have no doubt that he would be one of George Bush's biggest critics, and would have supported John Kerry for the Presidency.

Our first clue as to the disregard for fair elections on the right was their complaints over the recounts conducted, which were within the letter of the law. One sign that there is something wrong with the system is the fact that manual recounts almost always wind up showing that more people intended to vote for Democrats than was recorded in the initial results. Of course all those conservative bloggers who were so opposed to challenging election results changed their tune the moment the Washington recount showed a win for the Democrats.

I've seen two main complaints on the conservative blogs about the election reform proposals. They protest that allowing ex-felons to vote is somehow unfair as a majority would vote for Democrats. This makes no more sense than to support denying the vote to blacks or women because they vote more heavily Democratic. Supporting democratic elections mean you support the right of people to vote regardless of how you believe they intend to vote.

I've seen one complaint regarding making election day a federal holiday, feeling that only government employees would get the day off, predicting they would vote more heavily Democratic. I saw one conservative blogger recommend twenty-four hour voting instead so that everyone can vote despite work hours.

One response might be that making election day a Federal holiday would be a step towards increasing the likelihood that private employers would also give the day off. However, if this was their only complaint, I'd be willing to substitute twenty-four hour voting for making election day a federal holiday. Of course I'd also want to keep other recommendations such as early voting to facilitate voting.

For some reason, the media and conservative bloggers have said little about other proposals to ensure the validity of electronic voting.


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