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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Is This Really Voting in Florida?

by Anita Stewart (Green Party)

I feel totally disenfranchised as a voter in the state of Florida. Right now I am listening to the local evening news that states that we are now using optimal scanners, not touch screen voting, but that only 5% of registered voters have even shown up at the polls, and that the mainstream media considers this a "dismal" showing.

So why aren't people voting? Work committments, gas, time, picking up kids, after school programs and events, or could it be this? That people finally realize that without media reform and election reform the system is corrupt, does not represent them and that their vote no longer counts? I mean, why bother? Their votes will not create a leadership change that they want. It will be business as usual in Washington, DC.

I went to my local polling center a little after noon today. The first thing I was asked to do was to present my driver's license or a valid picture ID. I did this. The poll worker swiped it through a machine that ran off a receipt that I was given to turn over to someone at the next table. The lady looks at my receipt for a very long minute. "I don't know what this means," she says to the woman next to her. "What is this?" and she points to something on the receipt. Then she spells out, "G-R-E..."

I got a little angry. These people are working and being paid with my tax dollars. "Ma'am, it means the Green Party. I am a registered Green." A lady comes over to the table to help the other lady, she does not know where to put the chit or what to do with it. I then said, "We are not just a two party political system in this country. Have you all not been trained that there are other political parties besides Democrats and Republicans?" Needless to say, I did not get an answer from anyone, just a few heads nodding in agreement along with some vacant stares. Who trained these people?

I walked over to another section where a lady gave me a rather large cardboard ballot in a plastic file folder. I was to to go a ballot box and mark it with the black felt tip pen there, fill in the oval under the candidate of my choice, just like the IQ tests from school back in the olden times. So I looked at the ballot. Under it was listed three local choices for three non-partisan offices. I could not vote for the progressive candidate for Congress in my congressional district, nor for any other federal or state office, those choices were not on my ballot. By not having a full/complete ballot, exercising my right to vote meant nothing and by my action of voting, accomplishes nothing. I handed my completed ballot with my three choices to a poll worker who directed and observed me putting the ballot in the scanner which "read" my vote. I wondered the whole time how accurate that was and what were the checks and balances for determining the accuracy of the count by the scanner.

So where do we go from here? It was not even worth me getting in the car and heading to the polls. I wonder how many other Florida voters feel the same? I wonder if people not showing up at the polls today is a direct response to the media by not even mentioning that it was voting day today in Florida? I did not hear it on the major networks, not even once today until the evening news came on at 530PM.

I think it is an understatement to say that most of the Florida voters are totally disengaged from the voting process. Most are convinced that their vote will mean nothing and will accomplish nothing. Third parties are not considered in the election process at all if they don't have and can't have all of the choices that the two major parties have on their ballots.

More business as usual, more fraud and waste of our tax dollars, more war, less education and health, while the people frantically scurry from job to job trying to make ends meet, real true slaves of the corporations. The most important thing for our Democratic process at this time is media reform and election reform. Until those two things are done, our election reporting and the elections themselves will not be unbiased, just or fair.

Green Party, Third Party, Election Reform, Media Reform, Elections, Federal, State, voting, ballot, two party system, Florida


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