365体育投注

YOLO COUNTY NEWS

Bob Dunning: The lines tell the story

365体育投注A little more than a year ago, as the November 2018 mid-term election was staring us in the face, I went way out on a limb and said something like “The more people who vote, the better.”

365体育投注That statement came sharply into focus for me this week as several states postponed their presidential primaries because of fear of the coronavirus. Hopefully, the virus will fade quickly and people in those states will be able to vote in a timely and meaningful manner, but there is no guarantee.

Let’s also hope that come November every person who wishes to vote in all 50 states will be able to do so with comfort and ease.

365体育投注As much as I like to vote in person on Election Day, I praise the efforts of those who are trying to expand vote-by-mail in states that have so far been resistant to it.

But back to my incredibly profound statement that “The more people who vote, the better.” This sentiment was immediately challenged by several folks who called it “simplistic” and “foolish” and several other names not suitable for a family newspaper.

I’m not sure what exactly raised their ire, but included in their response was the accusation that even I didn’t believe my own words if I were being honest.

Did I really want “everyone” to vote, they challenged, even if it meant my favorite candidates or issues would lose on Election Day?

Well, given the current political climate and the intense divide that afflicts our beloved country, they have a valid point. Wouldn’t I be happier if all those people on the other side of the divide just stayed home, thus allowing my candidates and my issues to prevail?

365体育投注No doubt, I’d prefer to have my people win rather than lose, but I’m still not ready to concede that maximum voter turnout is a bad thing. After all, someone who votes on the other side this time around may be your ally the next time we vote.

365体育投注I have long felt that voter suppression is one of the worst evils in a democracy. And that those who practice it, sometimes in subtle and devious ways, are guilty of a serious moral crime, even if their actions are not technically illegal.

It seems that in every national election as I’m watching the returns roll in on my television, I see scenes of “four-hour lines” at polling places in some major Midwestern city.

At first, I’m tempted to think that this is a good thing, because it appears that everyone is trying to vote. But in reality, what is going on is an intentional lack of polling places, which works to seriously suppress voter turnout.

Imagine the effect this scene will have on the 8-to-5 worker who had planned to vote after work, but doesn’t wish to wait three hours in line.

Those in charge of this intentionally inefficient and disenfranchising system will simply say “Hey, it’s fair for everyone,” even though it’s clearly aimed at a certain segment of the population.

Assessing how many people are likely to vote, and how many polling places will be necessary to comfortably and reasonably accommodate those people, is not rocket science.

If it happens once, it can be excused as a mistake. But when it happens election after election after election, it’s intentional.

The city of Davis has relatively high voter turnout, but never once, no matter how heated the election, have I had to wait in line more than two minutes to cast my ballot. The last time I voted, earlier this month, there was no line at all.

In fact, most of the time there’s no line, but it’s not because people aren’t voting. No, there are no lines because we have a sufficient number of polling places to make it as easy as possible for people to vote. That’s as it should be.

Come November, take note of those states where you see long lines and other intentional roadblocks to voting. Then take note of which candidates benefit from those tactics.

Indeed, there’s a method to their madness.

— Reach Bob Dunning at [email protected]

CalMatters


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