This week’s headline is wrong. Elocution refers to speaking out loud, and I am writing. But, I liked the way “Election Elocution” sounds, so we’ll all have to just get over it.
I’m writing this the day before the election, and the conventional wisdom is that the election will either be very close, or either one of the candidates could win by a relative landslide.
In 2000, after a campaign that was close to as ugly as this one we’ve just completed, I wrote my election week column as if a winner had been determined, since in my lifetime the day after election day had always provided us with a winner and a loser.
Well, I was wrong there too. It was months before there was a clear winner of that election, and some people still haven’t conceded.
My error in assuming the election to be over was nearly as ill-conceived (excuse the ex-pression) as the time I asked a young woman when her child was due. Anyone who has made that mistake knows that she wasn’t pregnant.
As with that mortifying error, I will not twice assume that the next president will have been determined by election Wednesday.
I am pretty confident in a few things, though, based on the past few elections in Wisconsin and nationally, and in recent news reports.
First, some voting machines won’t work.
Already, in the early voting process, people have reported “Obama” coming up on the machine after they pressed “Romney.”
I’m assuming that’s voter error or defective machines that have since been fixed.
Second, I’m confident that some military people will not have their votes counted, such as those from several cities in Wisconsin which didn’t get the ballots out on time.
But, I’m pretty sure there will be attempts at fraudulent voting.
Cuyahoga County in Ohio had a disgraceful record of fraud four years ago, including one fellow who claims to have voted 78 times. To their credit, they have spent a lot of effort to solve the fraud problem there. But…from Human Ev-ents magazine, “Two volunteer poll workers at an Ohio voting station said they observed van loads of Ohio residents born in Somalia being driven to the voting station and guided by Democratic interpreters on the voting process.” Is that fraud, or smart politics?
At the same polling place, “A Mitt Romney bus stopped… and approximately 30 Demo-crats who were outside… yelled at the bus, and swarmed around its door when anyone attempted to exit.” That’s intimidation, isn’t it?
Many experts say that voter fraud is only a myth. However, we learned in 2000 what a difference a few votes can make.
A few vanloads of people voting at multiple precincts could make a difference, as could a few hundred people intimidated into not voting.
A Memphis TV station found that 68 dead people had voted there between 1994 and 2004.
The organization formerly known as Acorn was prosecuted for fraudulent voter registrations.
The son of a Virginia candidate resigned last month after being taped giving a potential voter advice on how to vote multiple times.
Who knows what the scope of fraud is, but it isn’t a myth.
People who are entitled to vote should have the opportunity to do so, and I wouldn’t support any regulation that would prevent that from happening.
However, efforts to prevent dead people and non-citizens from voting have been aggressively opposed as tactics for voter suppression.
I hope that before the next election we can come to an agreement that will suppress no valid voter, but drastically reduce the possibility of fraudulent votes.
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