I always vote on Election Day. I like to witness firsthand the fresh new hell our democratically elected leaders have thought of to thwart the will of We the People. I haven’t been adversely affected since the 2000 debacle in Palm Beach County with the butterfly ballot, a ballot so confusing Democrats, smart ones, like me, voted for Pat Buchannan. Nope, for the past sixteen years, I’ve just observed, made notes and reported about other people’s problems casting their vote. But this year it was my turn, again. I was purged from the voter rolls.
On Primary Day, March 15, 2016 in notorious Palm Beach County, Florida, I arrived at my polling place at noon, full of hope only to find I could not vote. After forty-five minutes, trying to find my name on the rolls, my poll workers asked if I’d like a Provisional Ballot. “Of course not. I might as well write on a cocktail napkin. Can you please call the Supervisor and ask what’s happened?” After they laughed it off, one of the poll workers called the Supervisor of Elections office. The line, shockingly, was busy. The ladies tried and tried again. Finally, I said, “I’ll just go over there. I’ll be back.”
They wished me luck, and said “This happened to others. We had to give them Provisionals, but we know you’ll be back.” Why? Because they know me.
I headed 20 miles north to the Election Supervisors Office, where I was told “You’ve been purged. You were taken off the roles in 2011. We were told you moved.” I hadn’t moved and I’d voted in 2012.
NOW THIS IS KEY: I knew to ask, “Can you please retrieve my voting record and print it for me?” Of course, my records showed I had been registered since 2000 and last voted in 2012. Once they saw that I had voted in 2012, that I hadn’t moved, my voting rights were reinstated on the spot, but ONLY because I knew what to ask for.
Of course, I then had to go back to my precinct, 20 miles away, to cast my ballot, because you cannot vote at the ELECTION Supervisors office on ELECTION DAY. No, that would be too easy. But I love to vote, so much so that no matter what they place in front of me, I will cast a ballot!
There was no lawful reason why I should vote Provisional, and, that ballot, had I cast it, would not have counted. Remember: If you have been erroneously, feloniously purged it is up to you to correct the, ummm error. I wasn’t on the roster, until I was, so if I hadn’t gone and corrected their mistake, my vote would have been tossed.
My fiasco could have been simple error, but yesterday in Arizona, we saw multiple voter suppression efforts in play. Very little about it was broadcast on The TV. There was a terrorist attack in Belgium, that completely upended election coverage. Apparently, Corporate Media with all their assets, can’t cover two events on the same day.
Finally, last night, after they’d exhausted themselves on covering Brussels, they switched to a minimal amount of Election Day coverage. By minimal I mean the bare minimum. At 8:30 Mountain Time, the Arizona primary was called. The media, “gave” the state to Clinton, by a margin of 61.5% to 36.1% but, what they didn’t tell you was that all of these votes were early voting and that the last vote would not be cast until midnight in Arizona or 3 a.m. Eastern.
CNN even wrongly reported that these early votes constituted the live Election Day vote in 41% of all Arizona precincts — rather than merely mail-in votes constituting a tiny percentage (12%) of the total projected vote in the state — which allowed most Americans in the East to go to bed believing both that Clinton had won Arizona by 25 points and that these numbers represented close to half of all voters. Neither was true.
At the time CNN and others reported these numbers, not a single precinct in Arizona had reported live Election Day voting results.
More than two and a half hours after Arizona’s’ polls closed, election officials had counted only 54,000 of the more than 431,000 votes cast in the primary. 54,000 votes are roughly 12% of the total ballots cast, yet we had a winner at 8:30 Mountain Time.
Now consider this: The 2012 primary had 300,000 voters and 200 polling places. The 2016 primary has estimated 800,000 voters at 60 polling places. Look at these lines! Oh sure, today they are sorry that you had a five hour wait to cast a short and simple ballot. How many times have we been told the long lines were due to a lengthy ballot? Yeah, NO. Just another WTF moment in “Ameeercan democracy” which translates to “Banana Republic,” in English.
Legal challenges were filed even before the voting ended. Democrats were listed, in error, as Independents or Republicans or No affiliation. These were people, like me and you who voted in nearly every election and knew better. Still, they didn’t know where to go or what to ask for.
And just a “style point” if I may. IF voluminous numbers of those people in line were not eligible because their voter’s registration cards said “No affiliation” or “Independent” or “Republican,” why wasn’t a simple announcement made to shorten the lines, and help direct voters to the Supervisor for aid? See that’s a good question right? Something like, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is a closed primary. Only Democrats and Republicans can cast a ballot today. Please look at your voter registration card to determine if you are eligible. Anyone needing help, please speak to a poll worker, or head over to the Election Supervisors Office if you believe there is an error.” Help your fellow voter by requesting this be done!
You must learn that you have a right to your voting record. You are entitled to a print out. You must learn to help your fellow voter by asking that official announcements be made. You must know to ask your poll workers for the turnout numbers (how many people voted at your polling place?) and to report those numbers to the campaign you are supporting.
Rules change almost every election cycle because parties want to include or exclude voters. In my voting lifetime the changes favor suppressing the vote. Remember the VOTING RIGHTS ACT of 2012, placed onerous voter ID requirements on voters in several states, among them Arizona, and the presumption of guilt is with the voter. We all must learn what to do when challenged, try to fix it, record the challenge, and report it.
A word to the campaigns. If what happened yesterday in Arizona doesn’t disturb you, enough to say something or even better do something, I am going to have to question your integrity and I doubt I’ll be alone. You are asking to be President of the United States.