Rear Window Ethics Rear Window Ethics: Democrats Object to Ohio Votes

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Democrats Object to Ohio Votes

Succeeding in what they were unable to do four years go, Democrats in the House and the Senate lodged a joint objection over voting irregularities in Ohio. While acknowledging the fact that their objections will not overturn President Bush's victory in that state, and thus the entire election, Rep. Tubbs Jones and Sen. Boxer hoped to shed light on what they believe were a number of problems with Ohio's voting system, including lack of polling machines in Democratic areas, as well as voter intimidation and discrepancies in electronic ballot machines.

Some people are up in arms about this, and while I don't agree with those that say the election was stolen, I certainly think that healthy debate about our electoral process is always a good thing. I honestly don't understand why people are in such hysterics about a few hours of limited discussion by the two houses of Congress. That's Congress' job. They can handle it.

Of course there were major voting flaws this past November. There are flaws in every election on a national scale because of the sheer impossibility of perfectly run polls handling such a large number of voters. What is not acceptable, however, are the stories of mysterious votes appearing on electronic machines, the suspicious lack of adequate polling locations in major metropolitan areas, voter registration fraud and any other effort by either the Republican or Democratic parties to gain votes unlawfully.

You know there's a problem when international organizations that oversee elections in countries across the world announce that there are as many irregularities and problems with polling and registration in the US as there are in fledgling democracies. The manipulation of candidates on the ballot, the forging and destruction of voter registrations, and the simultaneous disregard for the law by both major parties is inexcusable.

Anyone who has ever taught children in any capacity is familiar with the "if he/she did it, why can't I?" defense for wrongdoings. Democrats register fictional characters to vote, so Republicans destroy completed voter registrations. Republicans have suspicious ties to manufacturers of electronic voting machines, so Democrats work to "find" extra votes to combat them. It's a vicious cycle.

It's doubtful that such issues were so candidly discussed today in the halls of Congress. Somehow I can't see Tom DeLay and Nancy Pelosi chatting about who did what to whom in response to what was done earlier by so and so. These issues will never see the proper light of day as long as a corrupt two-party system perpetuates its exclusionary game to see who can fight dirtier.

Earlier this week, while discussing the use of American troops in countries hit by the tsunami, I said that if the US is content being the world's policeman, it should agree to be the world's EMT as well. To that effect, if the US feels entitled to change the governments of nations across the world, it shouldn't be so shy about letting international observers and elected officials scrutinize its election policies.

Our country was founded on the principle of popular power, not plutocratic corruption by two political juggernauts. November's results will stand, but there is certainly nothing wrong with inspecting the system as a first step towards election and political reform.