Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for October 31st, 2012

Voter Suppression’s “Launderette” Tale Crumpling Under Scrutiny

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 31, 2012

Once again, Sally Jo Sorensen spots something nobody else in journalism does — namely, that there are serious problems with the Launderette Story, the favorite anecdote used by voter suppression advocates to “prove” the need for the Voter Suppression Amendment.

For starters, the date of the Launderette Story keeps changing, from 2006 to 2008 to 2010:

Representative Cornish and Mr Fults ask readers to to amend our constitution based on an incident that occurred in 2010. Or 2008. Or 2006, when Mary Kiffmeyer was Secretary of State. The incident turned up in legislative testimony and in a so-far unsuccessful lawsuit.

Unfortunately, Smission didn’t fill out the challenge form that would have triggered an official investigation back in 2006.

And the lawsuit in which the original story features was dismissed, if not outright laughed out of court.

Check it out.
It’s simply unbelieveable that sketchy tales like this can influence our public discourse.

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A word in favor of the electoral college

Posted by Charles II on October 31, 2012

The storm on the East Coast gives one more reason why the Electoral College is a good idea. Very likely many people in that region will be unable to vote due to the storm. That will be especially true in the poorest towns and rural areas. If there were no Electoral College, the Eastern Seaboard would have a lessened influence on the choice of the next president–and that would be wrong. The same would be true if a hurricane slammed Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas just before an election.

But because presidents are elected by the Electoral College and not by popular vote, the influence of the Eastern Seaboard will not be diminished by the storm.

There is at least one other benefit of an Electoral College system. If the popular vote is close, there would be a temptation to stuff the ballot box across the nation–especially where the cheater is strong. But with an Electoral College, that wouldn’t work. Very specific ballot boxes would have to be stuffed… and that would increase the chances of catching the cheater.

There’s no question that the power of the smaller states has to be diminished. The system is so rigged, with gerrymandered House districts and excessive Senatorial power to small states, that the division of power established by the current Electoral College is another slap in the face to the majority of Americans.

The Electoral College: the worst possible system, except for the alternative.

Nate Silver thinks I’m wrong, that the effect on the popular vote margin is likely to be 0.2-0.3%. But that could be the difference between a victory and not, especially since many votes may have to be counted by hand, as one town is reportedly (Maddow) planning to do–meaning those votes could come in late.

Rachel Maddow tore Romney a new one over his pledging not to hold campaign events, then holding a “Storm-Related Event” in which everything was the same as the Romney Victory Rally which was canceled, except where Romney did a photo op collecting canned goods. As Maddow noted, the Red Cross says it does not want people to donate things, they want money:

Some donations, though well-intentioned, have hidden costs and pose many complications.
These include such items as clothing, furniture, toys and canned goods or small, individual donations of items of any sort. The Red Cross can’t accept these unsolicited, spontaneous donations
because: [etc.]

So, if we’re lucky, Romney’s donations will end up at the soup kitchen Paul Ryan invaded for his photo-op. They’re not going to help anyone along the storm-ravaged East Coast, at least not if they’re given to the Red Cross.

The statement does not appear on the main ARC web pages, so it’s not clear to me whether it’s general policy. But it certainly does not make sense to collect bags of soup and blankets when what’s needed is food and shelter for thousands.

Posted in voting rights | 5 Comments »

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