Tuesday, November 2, 2004

The Task at Hand

Here's my obligatory Election Day posting.

Yes, I voted before work this morning. There was a line at Wheeler Elementary, but it wasn't out the door. I was told there had been 15 people in line at 6 AM, and that the turnout had been steady all morning. By 9 AM, half of the registered voters in my precinct had already voted. I'm hearing local estimates that 80 to 85% of us will have voted by the time the polls close. I won't be at all surprised is the final number is more like 90%. I saw no observers and no shenanigans, just voters and poll workers. One person was casting a provisional ballot (at least, that's what I assume she was doing).

This is what's at stake, folks:

1. The Presidency. Four more years of a stubborn President with skewed values, who makes new enemies for this country, as one bumper sticker puts it, "faster than we can kill them." Tax cuts for the rich, on the backs of everyone else. Gutted environmental standards, with valid scientific findings disputed or ignored. The morality of the Christian right promoted at the expense of the rights of others. Haliburton cronyism. Soaring deficits. Mismanaged and underequipped military in an untenable situation.


You know I voted for them. A new president with many years of experience in the Senate, who thinks things through, appreciates the nuances, and isn't afraid to make adjustments as new information comes in. Better relations with Europe, and a potential to slow down the radicalization of the muslim world. Well-equipped military, managed wisely. Controlled spending, with taxation distributed more fairly.

2. Arizona's Proposition 200: a mean-spirited law that requires proof of citizenship to be shown in order to vote, seek medical treatment, and many other activities involving public resources. No money to pay for the additional resources needed to do this, but people can potentially be jailed for treating some accident victim who doesn't have I.D. with her, or for not reporting an illegal alien. Legal residents (e.g. U.S.-born citizens who are the children of illegal immigrants) might not seek treatment for fear of deportation, leading to unnecessary deaths and the spread of contagious diseases.


It's quite simple: Vote NO on Prop. 200, and work for meaningful immigration reform.

You have the right to vote. Don't let anyone take it away.3. Your Right to Vote: let people trample your hard-won right to vote with their poll challenges, fraudulent voting, intimidation, unfiled voter registrations and other dirty tricks. Get so disgusted with the viciousness of right versus left that you vote for neither Kerry nor Bush. Let the scoundrels win because you didn't care enough to cast a vote that carries more weight than at any other time in your adult life.


Vote. Don't cheat, don't intimidate, but vote. Bring your I.D., and make sure you go to the right polling place, if you haven't voted already by other means. Don't fall for phone calls that tell you that you're not registered, that your polling place has moved, or that the party of your choice doesn't vote until tomorrow. If you're a registered voter, don't let anyone turn you away for any reason. Help others to vote if you can. Make the difference. Exercise your rights, as fought for by Susan B.Anthony, Martin Luther King Jr. and others.  Pay attention, and fill in your ballot correctly, so no one can invalidate it. VOTE.

interactive voting guid for Southern ArizonaOne more thing. There are many more items to be decided today than who sleeps in the White House this January. There are important Senate, Congressional and local races, propositions and initiatives to enact or defeat, judges to boot or retain, commissioners to be put in charge of your utility bills, bonds to pass or not, school board members to be retained or replaced.  My ballot this morning was two legal-sized pages long. I researched it ahead of time on azstarnet.com (this is for Tucson-area voters), but there were still surprises. It's therefore not enough to go in with the intention of marking a box (or punching a hole, or touching a screen) for the next President. Do the research. Find a nonpartisan resource for your area that provides information on the issues and the candidates. Know who or what is being decided, and try to match your votes to your values.And if you still don't know who these people are and what they stand for, vote for the Democrat. ;)


Arizona Daily Star's Voter Resource Guide.

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