My Life

Still Counting in Ohio

The Greens and Libertarians (I told you they weren’t the same thing) raised $113,600 to demand a recount in Ohio. And I’m not even touching Condoleezza “As I told my husband- As I told President Bush” Rice today.

And you all thought the election was over. There are some facts that need to be reiterated, there are some questions that need to be answered, there are some ugly truths we need to bring to light.

Tin soldiers and Nixon’s comin’.

The recount starts in Vermont thanks to Ralph Nader, I can no longer despise him. The man fronted the money to force a recount for 11 districts in Vermont (okay it’s $2000, and even I would have paid it just for the general purpose of things). Still, last Friday, Vermont was told to put up. Given all the whacky voting results we saw, and the relative inexpensiveness of Vermont, I laud Nader as the asshole he is. Go, Nader! Be that asshole! Question authority!

Nader et all are primarily fixated on the Accuvote machines, which are the electronic vote machines. Personally, I think they sound like ‘As see on TV, Accuvote 2000! It slices, it dices! It makes julienne fries!’ No one expects to see the outcome change, please keep this in mind. Nader thinks that mistakes in the vote count may have occurred through the use of optical scanning voting machines. The paper ballots scanned are deposited in the machines, leaving a paper trail for a hand recount.

So here’s hoping. I really want Nader to find something iffy, but this isn’t a Veronica Mars. Oh, and the other reason he picked Vermont? He had 1.7% of the votes there, and I think that’s as high as Nader got in any state. Hell, it’s better than I did.

We’re finally on our own.

Green Party candidate David Cobb (working with Libertarians and no doubt some of my fellow disenfranchised Dean-ites (Howard! Run in 2008!)) raised $150,000 in just four days, entirely in online donations. Four days. Look at what us net idiots can do if we bandy together. But the counting goes on in Ohio, and you have to finish counting before you can recount (number roll jokes aside). Now, John Kerry and his minions aren’t contesting the election, but as I know (and you should) a concession speech is not legally binding. Which means that if the recount says ‘Oh, whoops, Kerry won,’ then Kerry would be president. I don’t think that’s going to happen, but I can day dream.

In the 11 Ohio counties that have finished checking provisional ballots cast in the presidential election, 81 percent have turned out to be valid. It is too early to know whether the ballots have benefited Bush or Kerry because counties first need to determine their validity before conducting the count. Sound fair. Still, my Canadian friends mocked me about this, since they manage to get their counting down in a matter of hours and know who their PM is by end of day. Yeah, and then there’s the US. We suck. Okay, to be fair, we don’t suck, but the Electoral College is done broke and no one wants to fix it. It’s a monkey on our political back, it’s the behemoth that we can’t begin to comprehend moving.

In short, it’s a monumental effort. Now, if Bush was smart, he’d say that. He’d get his peeps to set up a plan to tackle the voting representation issues, a revamp of teh Electoral College, and he’d up front say ‘Americans are not getting their votes counted, and I’m determined to see they do.’ After all, Bush can’t run for election again! He has nothing to lose! He looks like a hero, his approval rating goes sky-high, and everyone says ‘He may be an asshole, but he did some good.’ You want to show non-partisan teamwork? Get the EC fixed.

This summer I hear the drummin’.

I’m of divided mind about the actual voting process. Chicago still uses punch cards, and even after punching my card and double checking to make sure I’d voted for everyone, I still got told I’d under voted. I don’t understand it, and without someone physically reviewing my vote, there’s no way to tell where my vote slipped. I like the punch card for the anonymity, but I dislike the easy of verifying what I voted. I’d like a print up, a physical marker ‘You voted on [timestamp] at [polling place] for [long ass list]’ and have two copies, both signed (or initialed) by the Polling Place Worker and you. One of the cards they put in a box, and one I keep. That way, if a recount was needed, they could check the authentication of the electronic crap by matching the vote number (you know that computers number everything) to the number on the card. Yeah, pain in the fucking ass.

So step one: Make the Polling Places Smaller (200 people max)

Obviously you should keep the polling place open the full time, or until everyone on the books for that location has voted. Then you make a SPECIFIC polling place for people who didn’t get a card per district and ward. Live in this area and didn’t get assigned a polling place? Go to this place and vote. That way, all the incorrectly registered people (because they moved or they’re idiots) will vote in one place, and we can easily clean that up. Leave that polling place open until everyone in line is done after 7pm.

Alright, so maybe it’s not really practical, but it’s an idea. If you don’t have ideas, you can’t start anything. I’m not saying I’m having the best ideas, but if you keep throwing idea out there, something’s bound to work. Or not. I’m strongly opposed to any voting, online or not, that does not provide some sort of physical and indisputable paper ballot (preferably one that can be read either naturally or with an easily obtained cipher).

If I was going to pick a company to make a ballot machine, I’d pick one that also made gambling machines. Electronic Poker, or Keno. After all, if those machines can satisfy gamblers, they can satisfy me.

Four dead in Ohio.

Finally, I want to touch on the war. Yeah, sorry if you thought you were getting off scot-free. I was home on the 11th, it being Veterans Day, and I watched CNN a lot since daytime soaps aren’t my thing, and the only war movie I watch over and over is The Great Escape. None of the standards were my cup of tea, and thus CNN and MSNBC (hey, what about MACBS? A Macintosh/CBS hybrid?). CNN showed a solider, about my age, who’d been blow to shit doing transport duty in Falujah.

No matter that I protest the fact that we’re in this war, no matter than I think our government is acting irresponsibly and putting the lives of American youth in jeopardy, no matter than I’m not a fan of any war, I support our troops.

It’s easy for me to blog about freedom, but it’s not easy for a kid my age (I’m still under 30) to sacrifice bone, blood and body for freedom. Police, firefighters, EMTs, military personnel and everyone else out there who is willing to sacrifice their personal security and safety for mine is a hero. Volunteers who work helping the homeless or for the ACLU (I’m a card carrying member) are also heroes, though. The effort it takes to do something, no matter how small, is minimal. I’m ashamed at how few people are willing to step up and do it.

Support your freedoms. Take action. Start by voting, start by supporting the things you believe in with a little more than just words. If you can’t spare money, spare time. If you can’t spare time, donate something you don’t need.

This is me, Blogging till it’s over, over there, and forever.