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

    • 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…..

  2. 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.

  3. 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:

  4. 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.

  5. 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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