Waiting For Democracy

As the polls grind to a close, various images linger from the humorous of a surfer voting in California fresh from the beach with his board to the inspiring of a woman in labor insisting on voting before going to the hospital. However, one image remains consistent across the country: absurdly long line. Despite scandals from 2008 of people waiting for hours to vote, election officials have again produced endless lines by failing to produce adequate voting machines for the expected vote in many areas. My voting place in McLean was wonderful – enough machines and short lines. However, I have heard nightmare stories from others around the region including over three hour waits in Maryland.

I helped cover the last election in 2008 for CBS and recall discussing the lines in Ohio where people literally passed out waiting to vote. My students reported waiting for as long as three hours in Virginia. One student from New York applied for an absentee ballot almost two months ago and never received it. From New Jersey to Florida to Ohio, people are legitimately irate that after many billions of dollars in federal funds, states continue to fail to consistently offer sufficient resources for citizens across the country. We should have a consistent benchmark standard that voters should be able to get in line and vote within 30 minutes.

The lack of resources comes with suspicions of a planned failure. In Ohio in 2004, we were struck by the consistently long lines in Democratic and minority areas. We pressed the Kerry campaign whether it would challenge the pattern across the state. At first, the campaign indicated that it would but then Kerry himself threw in the towel. Now, four years later (and 12 years after the Florida disaster) we are again left astonished by the lines – forcing voters to wait for hours despite work and family obligations. Nevertheless, politicians continue to express contempt for the relatively low percentages of people voting while repeatedly failing to meet this very basic function of a democracy. Once again, billions evaporated into the pockets of lobbyists and contractors while the lines again appear around the country.

This evening on national news two stories were shown by NBC News. If you turned off the sound, it would seem that the network repeated the story. It showed endless lines of tired people. However, the first story was a line of voters at a typical voting place while the second story was a line of hurricane victims. After the debacles in 2000 and 2008, we are still faced with chaotic polling places with lines stretching for blocks. It is not just an insult to our citizens but a recurring embarrassment for the world’s leading democracy.

Jonathan Turley

141 thoughts on “Waiting For Democracy

  1. Cross post: Democracy Obstruction
    ==================================

    NYTimes report on vote manipultion, chiefly in Ohio where Cleveland (Cuyahoga county) heavily Dem, and the Reps are doing there best. Wish they had taken a look at Florida too.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/02/us/politics/campaigns-brace-to-sue-for-votes-in-crucial-states.html?ref=todayspaper

    ====================================

    For those interested in more voter fraud.
    It was posted earlier but so relevant that I put it up again. with special thanks to TonyC who said it was easy to do. TonyC was right it appears.

    Romney’s Diebold is worst, once the code is hacked then the whole lot is accessible.

    http://rt.com/usa/news/voting-machine-election-hack-088/
    ===========================

    The second article shows that the price of a used voting machine of class, are dirt cheap.

    What price democracy? When will democracy become a blood sport? Ours of course.

    =========================

    Alan Grayson promised today an expansion of the voting rights act. Hope he has a chance to vote for it.
    Meanwhile, keep the polls open for 3 days, not one whereof one is a weekend day.

  2. Brian,

    I talked to a few young people (20–30) today in Stockholm. Unanimously they said that Romney would be laughed off the stage if he ran here. The last one was a pharmaceut, who follows the race.

  3. There are echoes of Third-World countries about the way elections are conducted in many parts of the United States. Disgusting!

  4. “After the debacles in 2000 and 2008, we are still faced with chaotic polling places with lines stretching for blocks. It is not just an insult to our citizens but a recurring embarrassment for the world’s leading democracy.”

    Yep.

    “So ya
    Thought ya
    Might like to go to the show.
    To feel the warm thrill of confusion
    That space cadet glow.
    Tell me is something eluding you, sunshine?
    Is this not what you expected to see?
    If you wanna find out what’s behind these cold eyes
    You’ll just have to claw your way through this disguise.”

  5. Apparently in the battle ground states, folks are being routinely told that they have showed up at the wrong locations; they are being misdirected; etc. etc. etc. Many different kinds of stuff that really doesn’t smell right. That is, unless you’re FROM the sewers…

  6. I am a poll watcher right now. I have been here from 7 AM. citizen staff are hard working and dedicated. everyone has voted or been registered. lots of new registrations as precinct boundaries were changed. We have 600+ registered here and about 400 have voted

    Idaho is definitely nota contested state, and Mitt will get 80% at least

    It is not the number of machines per se. The choke point is the manual, personal check of voter ID and cross-reference to voter rolls. One woman does it all, and lines back up as she examines IDs and checks off the voter from the roll.

  7. QUOTE: “It is not just an insult to our citizens but a recurring embarrassment for the world’s leading democracy.”

    Response: Well, we’re still CALLING ourselves the world’s leading democracy. But we are not walking the walk.

  8. Republican governors elected in 2010 are responsible for the majority of this chaos, and it is intentional and directed at African Americans.

  9. I used to vote across the street. That polling place closed and now I have to drive past one polling place to another.

    The lines in the past have been extremely short. Six people would be a long line and there would 2-3 people checking us in. Tonight I waited about an hour behind about 60 people. Only one woman was checking people in. Another was making hand-written lists of who voted. The third was handing out the ballots and letting us know how to mark them. There were 4 booths but at any one time it was rare that all four were in use. And a man at the machine getting a look at our ballots as we fed them in, well, he was telling how to put the ballots in the machine.

    The poll workers are required to post signs that there is to be no campaigning within 100 feet of the polling place. In the past I have complained about the political sign at the end of the sidewalk going in to the polling place. It was then moved across the parking lot, maybe 30 feet from the door. The last time they posted the sign on the door. I objected. They moved it about 10 feet down the side of the building. I wrote a letter to the BoE, hand delivered, that suggested they provide each poll worker team with a string 100′ long with the signs. They fixed the problem this year – no signs at all. I was tempted to show up with campaign materials to hand out but it was cold and, quite honestly, the folks inside were short handed and had enough to do. Next step – a letter to the editor.

  10. Bruce
    1, November 6, 2012 at 8:14 pm
    This could be easily eliminated just vote by mail for the price of a stamp.

    ————————————————————-

    Bulltwinkines … the postage for mailing an absentee ballot in Ohio was $1.50.

  11. Can anyone suggest a good site to watch on the net for live and current news?

    NBC says Obama is behind in both popular and electoral votes.

    C-Span has someone from Politco doing most of the talking now but no overview.

    And MSNBC is hopeless to get control of what they have available.

    Help!

  12. Swarthmore mom
    November 6, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    “Republican governors elected in 2010 are responsible for the majority of this chaos, and it is intentional and directed at African Americans.”

    It’s not just directed at African Americans. They are also trying to suppress the votes of Latinos/Hispanics, college students, senior citizens, Democrats…

  13. Our elections here are all mail in ballot. There are no polling places. The ballot arrives in the mail a couple weeks before the election, you complete the ballot, stuff it in a sleeve and drop it in the mailing envelope. It must be postmarked the day of the election or received in a drop box spread around the county. No waiting in lines, no headaches. It’s a pretty good deal here.

  14. Thanks for the link. At least I escaped the meaningless babble, re-hash of Romney’s campaign, and dead air from Democracy Plaza (where is that?). The view from the Obama HQ was a dark street view of people watching re-runs from the convention. From Romney, all were sitting like “Oscar”
    folks listening to a proffs rehearsed rundown, oozing confidence of course.

  15. I really like that model, Darren. I’m a big fan of a paper trail. I’ve been thinking of moving and that’s certainly a point in favor of Washington State.

  16. You’re welcome, id707. I tend to like my data like I like my tuna – raw and artfully presented. I normally view HP with a jaundice eye, but on this kind of stuff, their IT people are really good.

  17. Be warned.

    Something odd just happened on HuffPo’s data map in the Wisconsin reporting. It could be a transient bug or it could be a serious break down. We’ll see.

  18. Bruce
    1, November 6, 2012 at 8:14 pm
    This could be easily eliminated just vote by mail for the price of a stamp.
    —————-
    because no one has EVER tampered with te U.S. mail…..

  19. Gene H.
    1, November 6, 2012 at 9:26 pm
    I really like that model, Darren. I’m a big fan of a paper trail. I’ve been thinking of moving and that’s certainly a point in favor of Washington State.
    ———————————–
    me too…..Iceland is looking good……

  20. W=^..^

    But if the mail in ballots have receipts and a count is challenged, you at least have a paper trail.

    BTW, I’m still having issues keeping the Android sim stable for longer than about 45 minutes. I hope to be playing WWF with you again soon regardless.

  21. Iceland has its strong points. :D An endless supply of geothermal power and incredible broadband for one thing. And killer seafood.

    We could run away together. I am cat people. :mrgreen:

  22. Gene:

    I’ve wanted to visit Iceland since I was in grade school but never gotten around to it. Flown over it is as close as I got. I knew a person who was stationed at the Keflavik base there and enjoyed living in Iceland.

    Washington is a pretty good state to live in depending on what you want and where you live. I’ve lived here for over 4 decades so I know it pretty well if you are interested in ideas.

  23. Darren,

    Excuse me for sticking my nose in. The Icelanders are the culturally most homogenous part of the Scandinavian countries. Very independently minded, in a good way.

    But they are killing the ocean with their fishing to feed farm fish.

  24. They are watching the election in China. This from CNN comments:

    “From China.. there’s a story on Caijing.com.cnn with the headline “7 hours waiting in line, citizens condemn the polling as a shame.”

    It provoked this comment on Weibo: @JXTV_LiuGuanLin @JXTV_LiuGuanLin: “You feel shame for 7 hours waiting? We have been waiting for more than 60 years.”hilary.whitemanNov 7, 2012 at 2:59 AM”

    LOL.

  25. Gene, she drives me crazy too, it came down to anybody but Aiken- it’s good whenever one of Voldemort’s minions is defeated. I hated filling out my ballot though; given an actual choice I would have voted against a number of people that I voted for but I just had to vote for (IMO) ‘the good of the state/country’. My preferences- dislikes really, just had to take a back seat, I couldn’t leave blanks, it wouldn’t have been responsible IMO. Srsly, she pi**ed me off to the point that I sent her an email PtA (prior to Aiken) and told her that we were over, she had lost my vote for ’12. Sigh, I’m not even going to get make-up sex- there’s no make-up involved, it was just a pragmatic capitulation, LOL.

  26. Watching film of Akin making a bitchy/god-centric concession speech. Darn, only an excerpt- I’ll have to read it. Amateur.

    Yes, I hope Matt had some money down somewhere :-)

  27. Watching film of Akin making a bi**hy/god-centric concession speech. Darn, only an excerpt- I’ll have to read it. Amateur.

    Yes, I hope Matt had some money down somewhere

  28. LOL, Raff, you SWM (on another thread) are tied at 11:14pm for breaking the news. We must be watching the same news. The Senate is retained by the Dems and the House is still retained by the R’s. The next 4 years are going to be interesting- or just like the last 4 years.

  29. SWM: “…Texas.”

    It’s Chinatown, Jake.
    ***

    Thanks for the number Gene. Yea, enough to gut the filibusterer though?

  30. Right now the DNC has 49 seats and three of the four unreported states (NM, ND and MT) are predicted and trending D. I’m not optimistic a Democratic controlled Senate will be any less obstructionist than a GOP controlled Senate, but I do love watching that wormy corporatist shitheel McConnell take one on that receding chin of his.

  31. SwM,

    Long day.

    Kaptur beat Joe the Plumber by over 70% here for the House seat. Sherrod beat the weasel to retain his Senate seat and Warren’s victory means everybody I contributed to won.

  32. At the “decision desk” it is split. Rove says no concession, and there are those who say that the figures not in are given Dem districts.

    Rove in on the way to defend his stance.

  33. Gene,

    Romney is looking at the Southern part but up north in Cuyahoga there are still well over 200,000 votes that have not been counted and Cuyahoga is strongly democrat. There’s more there than in the South.
    Romney’s stance against the auto bailout has many Republicans up north voting for Obama or just not voting for Romney.

  34. I don’t know if there has been a change since I posted it on another thread but vote totals weren’t coming in from many (generally) blue areas in northern Ohio according to MSNBC. Ohio was right up there as dirty tricks central. One has to wonder what the total will be.

    MSNBC is reporting that Rove is trying to get FOX to rescind its call for Obama without much luck so far. Gee, now he knows how Gore supporters felt in 2000 :-)

  35. Colorado goes Obama. Rove and the right wing cannot accept Obama’s victory because they are living in a fantasy.

  36. Gene,

    Lucas also has a lot to count and that’s also a strongly democrat area. Gotta remember both Kaptur and Brown are from these areas and they beat the pants off their opponents.

    Republicans here (our local blogs) are also starting with the what-ifs … what-if he’d chosen someone other than Ryan … what-if he’d fought back on the auto bailout issue … the what-ifs only start when defeat is certain. They know he’s lost and they are worried about what that means for the Republican Party here, in Ohio.

  37. They say that it is another America which chose Obama:
    the young, old, women, latinos and other persons of color, and apparently some of the 47 percent. Old white men won’t control anymore for them. Shall we hope that Kochs choke on their money.

    290 Obama—203 Romney is the count now.

  38. I’m sure you’re right, Blouise. But mathematically I see how Rove is selling his wishful thinking to his customers in the upper echelons of the GOP. His reputation as a fixer is going to take a beating over this election. If there are any unintended consequences of how things have played out, Rove being marginalized would not be a bad one.

  39. Wow, Swarthmoremom….he really has lost it…I think it’s been metaphorically said to the Donald…”You’r Fired”….

  40. Gene,

    He’s just selling it to the Networks … otherwise Romney would have had to concede before 11:30pm … gotta save face anyway you can.

  41. lol

    The Donald didn’t lose it, W=^..^

    He never had it. But now he officially a seditionist. So he’s got that going for him. And that marmot on top of his head. Which is nice.

  42. Yeah, Blouise, but I’m hoping that is one sales job that fails. Rove is a cancer on the body politic. He needs to go the way of the Edsel.

  43. The sad truth is that by tomorrow morning we will be seeing lots of talk about those Second Amendment remedies.

  44. Looks like Ohio just massively shifted Obama.

    And you’re right of course, Mike. But isn’t that just like a far right wing nut? Brings a gun to a drone fight.

    We may yet see a populist uprising in this country some day with the path we are on (thanks to both parties) but it isn’t going to be over this Presidential election. It’ll be after the government does something really horrible and stupid where a lot of citizens die at their hand for no other reason than dreams of fascist authoritarian totalitarianism and it won’t be like a revolution. It’ll be anarchy as anyone who works for the government or a big corporation in management becomes a target. But I’ll quit channelling Aldous Huxley for now. :D

  45. With the last big three states electoral votes wise calling or trending Obama with high 90 percentiles reporting?

    Romney needs to pony up that concession speech.

  46. “Mitt Romney said earlier today that he had only written a victory speech. So right now he’s probably doing some pretty fast writing, because the networks have called the election for Obama.

    It will be interesting to see if Romney manages to take both sides of the issue one last time by declaring victory and defeat simultaneously. The results only confirm what we’ve been saying about Mitt’s chances all along.

    Best reaction of the night: Jessica Pressler from New York Magazine who tweeted, “Man I feel really sorry for Mitt Romney that he can’t drink tonight.””

    http://www.queerty.com/next-up-mitt-romneys-concession-speech-20121107/

  47. We might not have to sacrifice bodies to get major change.
    We said no to religius takeover, to opposers to women’s’ rightt, to immigration haters, to the big money TV and robocall ads, to so much crap they tried to sell us.

    Maube Americans can get it together.

    Now Romnewy is on his way.

  48. Romney was speaking and I kept hearing this music so I go to the pantry and open the backdoor and see my neighbor with his bugle.

  49. the last 12 year felt like that to me…..they forget where we were before the Bush years……and how we got to where we are now.

  50. Yesterday I printed out the HuffPost election map and did my own calculations. I gave Obama 26 states and 303 electoral votes. I gave him all of the swing states except North Carolina and Florida, my own state. It increasingly appears that I underestimated his popularity in Florida. The president is benefitting from the increase in the number of non-Cuban Hispanics. He may end with 332 electoral vbotes.

  51. Well.

    I’ve had enough excitement for the day. A nice hot shower and I hear the seductive siren call of Orpheus.

    Good night and good luck, Blog Peoples. See ya’ll around the funny papers.

  52. Mike Spindell
    1, November 7, 2012 at 2:31 am
    Finally to bed after America gave me a great birthday present.
    ——————————–
    Happy Birthday Mike!!!!

  53. Thank you everyone for your kind wishes. As for AY’s comment:

    “Hopefully Obama will deliver all of your wishes of peace and happiness…..”

    You and I and others here know he won’t, but just think of the alternative…..

  54. Romney lost today to a guy who is overseeing a horrible economy, prosecuting unpopular wars, and who can barely string 5 words together without a teleprompter. This was the best the Republican Party can do. Not only are the Republicans evil, they’re evil and contemptible losers, which is far worse.
    The biggest losers tonight are of course people who value peace and freedom, but we would have also lost if Romney won. The GOP is right up there in the loser category, however. The GOP lost seats in the Senate, and did little to improve its position in the House. It has served up two ridiculously bad nominees in a row, claiming “electability” and then going down in flames.
    Rand Paul certainly came out of this looking very bad as well. He fell in line behind the party masters, banking on some advantage to be gained through an endorsement of Romney. He ended up just looking politically unsavvy and unprincipled. There is little to be gained either, from playing ball with a Party that as inept as the GOP at this point.
    It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that the GOP may actually show sign of disintegration in the next several years. The GOP has ceased to present any sort of actual alternative, and worse yet, it can’t run a winning candidate. Once that happens, the coalition that makes up your political party will begin to fall apart.
    The Ron Paul movement is a big winner here. The GOP told the libertarians in the party to get lost, and the GOP paid for it. Interestingly, both Iowa and Nevada, where Ron Paul supporters gained control of the state party, both went to Obama after the Romney campaign actively fought to disenfranchise Ron Paul supporters. I guess the GOP got what it wanted there.

  55. From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/07/republican-reckoning-defeat_n_2090510.html :

    Many of the lightning bolts were aimed at none other than Karl Rove, the former Bush administration political genius who oversaw the deployment of nearly $400 million in campaign spending through outside groups American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS toward the presidential race and toward numerous Senate and House races.

    “The billionaire donors I hear are livid,” one Republican operative told The Huffington Post. “There is some holy hell to pay. Karl Rove has a lot of explaining to do … I don’t know how you tell your donors that we spent $390 million and got nothing.”

    Rove even suffered the indignity of being insulted on Twitter by the blustery Donald Trump, who had attended Romney’s election night party here on Tuesday night, but left early after it was clear that Obama had won a second term.

    “Congrats to @KarlRove on blowing $400 million this cycle. Every race @CrossroadsGPS ran ads in, the Republicans lost. What a waste of money,” Trump tweeted, inaccurately.

    Crossroads GPS spent money in the Nevada Senate race, where Republican incumbent Sen. Dean Heller defeated Democratic challenger Shelley Berkley. The group also spent money on numerous House races.

    Rove was forced to defend his group’s expenditures live on Fox News on Tuesday night, and will hold a briefing with top donors on Thursday, according to Politico.

    ****************

    Nothing like a big ol’ smile and a cup of good coffee to start your day. :mrgreen:

  56. You know Oro, they are talking a lot in the press this morning about the election being a mandate on taxes, but they are missing the point that even more so the election was a mandate to get rid of Citizens United. I think that is just as if not more so readily apparent in the results as taxation policy.

  57. Gene,

    Exactly how would it have benefited Obama to suppress the votes….. I think Herr Karl does not like the taste of, or feel of “Toe Jam”…..

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