Sunday, October 31, 2004

Living-Dead Voter 

On this Halloween Day, it only figures that votes from the dead are going to be in play in the election.

...In Florida alone, more than 1.8 million people, many of them elderly and sick retirees, have cast absentee ballots or voted early in person in the past two weeks.

How many of those voters won't be alive on Election Day? Considering that an average of 455 voting-age people die in Florida every day, and that the 2000 presidential election was decided by a mere 537 votes, dead votes that slip through the cracks could become a meaningful bloc.

All jokes aside, there is a serious side to this story. Because of quirks in the new election laws, if an overseas soldier votes absentee then dies, his vote may or may not be counted depending on which state he was stationed in:

Take the hypothetical of two Fort Campbell soldiers who cast absentee ballots and were killed in the same incident overseas. The vote of the soldier who lived on the Tennessee side of the base would be counted. The vote from the soldier who lived on the Kentucky side should be pulled because an attorney general's opinion in that state says those ballots should be tossed.

But such opinions are not legally binding — allowing the Christian County, Ky., clerk to count them with impunity.

"As far as I'm concerned, Christian County will count their vote," says Clerk Mike Kem, who is also chairman of that Kentucky county's election board. "I think if somebody votes, their vote ought to count."

Amen. The 26th Amendment (changing the minimum voting age to 18) was put in place under the argument that anyone old enough to serve in the armed forces should get a vote. Any soldiers who happen to die after an absentee vote should have their voice heard even in death.

You know, it's something I've given thought to considering everything recently.

I have Doug's absentee ballot. I guess I could fill it out and send it in.

I disagree with you though. I think that if the election is held on day X, only ballots cast on that day should be counted. Doing it by mail, or having this early voting via touch screen ( which I really hope we don't get to yet.... it needs improvements), increases the time frame of the election. Until we legally increase the election time from one day to something else, maybe a full week, if you're dead before then, I don't think you should vote. But what if you die on election day? If you voted, you're good. If you didn't vote, I'm sorry you missed your chance.

So what happens, if I vote for a guy, and the politician dies? This has happened in governorships (Missouri in 2000 right?) or even for LA county sherriff( when Lee Baca beat out the recently deceased sherriff). Course, in the governorship race, the dead man won! So we got Ashcroft as attorney general, if I am recalling right. I don't feel like researching any of this, I'm just remembering it. Please correct me when I'm wrong here...
If you've voted you should be good to go. After all, you were alive when the vote was cast, and if you voted at the polls on election day or at an early voting site, your identity was verified....
To me, it seems as if we have to have a time frame where we say: "This is the time for you to vote". It just so happens we decided it was the first Tuesday of November, every 4 years. To be able to vote on that day, you have to be alive, and registered. Now, I'm a big fan of the military. Former housemate just got back today from Germany and Iraq(he goes once a month as a load master for two weeks at a time).

But if you missed your day to vote, you missed it. Even if it's absentee, we need to take the time to verify you were legal to vote. And if you're dead you can't vote. Pretty simple, and the world is far more gray than I make it out to be.

Of course, back in 1960, if all those dead people in Chicago hadn't voted, we'd of had Nixon and not Kennedy. Good thing Joe Kennedy was able to help his son out.

hmm.... I don't think I make much sense there right now, but I'm not caring. I feel more blah about this election than anything else (notice it's lack of coverage on my blog). It's too well defined, you're either this or you're not. But the candidates are far too similar for my tastes, and they both ignore some very big issues. Immigration, social security, the amount of debt owned by foreign countries. So let's complain about tiny stuff like stem cell research(I'm in favor of in general, but voting no on California's proposition because I don't think we can afford it as a state) and who wants to kill Osama more. I actually heard on tv today, Kerry saying "We are united in our belief to find capture and kill Osama Bin Laden". Then something like no matter what, or damn the cost. But that was the gist of it. I was surprised he took such a stand on it. Not for his political views, but what if we take him prisoner, or if he surrenders peacefully. Kerry is now on record saying he will have him executed. Nothing about a trial either...

So: Kerry is elected, Osama surrenders, Kerry has him executed. This from the man who wants to act with Europe and the UN. Oh, he'd probably change his tune, and eventually Osama would be like Arafit, a great statesman (*cough*); but what if he was executed as soon as he was captured? Too bad Osama doesn't have the stones to be that kind of martyr. Probably better off, but it'd make us feel big and proud again.

Enough ramble, time for sleep.
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