Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Top 5 Things That Might Keep You From Voting

Top 5 Things That Might Keep You From Voting

Hurry up and register -- it might already be too late in your state.

By Allison H. Fine, Huffington Post.

Enormous efforts have been made by campaigns and public interest groups to register people to vote on November 4th. According to the Election Assistance Commission more than 2 million poll workers will be working at over 200,000 polling places this election. Unfortunately, what these new voters don't know is that just registering to vote may not ensure that they are able to vote on Election Day or that their vote will be counted. Here are the top 5 ways that voters will be disenfranchised before and on Election Day.

1. Twenty-seven states close their voter registration the first week of October; another 12 will follow shortly thereafter. Too many states continue to cut off registration just as most people are beginning to tune into the election. Election Day Registration (EDR) in nine states (Maine, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Iowa, North Carolina) has demonstrated that it is an efficient and problem-free way for 10-12% more citizens to participate on Election Day.

2. The Social Security Administration is shutting down its database, the one needed to verify registrations for people without state-issued IDS for three days in mid-October. This "routine maintenance" putting in jeopardy the ability of forty-one, slow moving states to verify millions of new registrants in time for Election Day for voters without state-issued IDs. (Here is a letter sent by the National Association of Secretaries of State asking the SSAS to move the maintenance until after November.) Millions of people may have properly filled out their registration forms but not make it onto the roles if this maintenance continues as scheduled.

3. Voter Purge, a report released from the Brennan Center for Justice this week reveals that, "election officials across the country are routinely striking millions of voters from the rolls through a process that is shrouded in secrecy, prone to error, and vulnerable to manipulation." Millions of names will be struck from voter registration roles in advance of the November 4th election - and your name is struck in error you won't know until you show up at the polls - and it's too late to change it.

4. As I have written before, the new machines are no better than the old machines which were much worse than hand ballots. During the primary season, municipalities were testing optical scan machines, and many failed. Others have been furiously buying new machines that won't be tested before November 4th. The new machines are no better than the old machines which were much worse than hand ballots. How many times will we hear on election night that votes have been cast and lost or just plain lost? Moreover, how many elections are we going to keep hearing this?

5. You remember those pictures form 2004 and 2006 of voters waiting for hours to cast their ballots - up to 12 hours in some cases in the rain and cold. Our voting system is a mechanical engineer's nightmare. The biggest bottleneck in the process of voting is checking in to ensure that voters are registered to vote - this is a human interaction that is slow and tedious. It's the same reason that the lines at Starbucks are so long. I spoke to a person in the registrar's office in Fairfax County, VA who told me that they had increased the number of recruited poll workers from 2,600 in 2004 to 3,100 this year, with more to come by the deadline on Monday. Monday coincides with the voter registration deadline in Virginia which has already seen an almost 6% increase in voter registration statement from January -September 15th. But here's the real problem: There is no way to know until Election Day if they will a) show up, b) been adequately trained for the job and c) are enough of them to account for the expected surge in voting in critical voting areas like Cuyahoga County, OH, Palm Beach County, FL.
So register to vote -- and then cross your fingers that you your vote will be cast and counted on Election Day -- in some states your chances aren't so good.



Allison Fine is the author of Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Reese Erlich: Foreign Correspondent: Trump Plays Both Sides Against The Middle

Is he a hawk? Is he a peacenik? The President keeps us guessing . By Reese Erlich President Donald Trump has convinced Republican isolationists and hawks that he supports their views. That’s a neat trick, since the two groups hold opposing positions. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Waiting For The Old Bailey: Julian Assange And Britain’s Judicial Establishment

On September 7, Julian Assange will be facing another round of gruelling extradition proceedings, in the Old Bailey, part of a process that has become a form of gradual state-sanctioned torture. The US Department of Justice hungers for their man. The More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Sorry Plight Of The International Education Sector

Tourism and international education have been two of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic. They’re both key export industries. Yet the government response to them has been strikingly different. There has been nothing beyond a few words of ministerial condolence and a $51.6 million package (details below) to get the sector through the pandemic...

Binoy Kampmark: Google’s Open Letter: Fighting Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code

Tech giants tend to cast thin veils over threats regarding government regulations. They are also particularly concerned by those more public spirited ones, the sort supposedly made for the broader interest. Google has given us an example of this ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Trump’s Current Chances Of Re-Election

By now it seems clear that National have no fresh ideas to offer for how New Zealand could avoid the Covid-19 economic crisis. As in the past, National has set an arbitrary 30% ratio of government debt to GDP that it aims to achieve “in a decade or so,” ... More>>

The Conversation: Rogue Poll Or Not, All The Signs Point To A Tectonic Shift In New Zealand Politics

Richard Shaw AAP(various)/NZ Greens (CC-BY-SA)/The Conversation Strong team. More jobs. Better economy. So say the National Party’s campaign hoardings. Only thing is, last Sunday’s Newshub-Reid Research poll – which had support for the Labour ... More>>

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection . In time, other unfortunates may well ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>