by Byron King
“‘There sure is one hell of a lot of new voters coming out of the woodwork for this election.’ If you know what I mean… If everyone votes enough times in the same election, do you think that eventually we will get it right?”
For at least a few months running up to this next election, it seems that the United States is becoming a third-world country in its approach to its self-styled “democracy.” Electioneering is descending into desperation, campaigning is turning tawdry, and the voter rolls are being rigged like a flying clipper ship.
Voting in 2004: Election Office Mayhem
I was in the Allegheny County Elections Office yesterday, in Pittsburgh. I wanted to vote absentee, because there is a possibility that I may be out of the state on November 2. My wanting to vote absentee was no big deal, and took all of five minutes. But the almost-pandemonium of a big-city election office, three weeks before Election Wrestle Mania, was a sight to behold.
There were stacks of voter registration applications piled on the counters, several feet high in places. There were mailbags and post office baskets lying about, all over the place. There was a woman with literally an armful of applications, stamping each one with a date-stamp like some reincarnation of Charlie Chaplin in a factory scene from the film “Modern Times.” Every horizontal surface was covered to the last square inch with boxes of applications to vote, applications for absentee ballots, and all of the other paraphernalia of voter registration and suffrage.
There were people sitting at consoles, typing names and other data into the big registration base up in the sky, or down in the basement, or wherever it is. It had the sense of chaos of a battlefield, but without the flying bullets. I do not want to be unfair to the election workers, who seemed to be honest and diligent and very focused on their respective tasks. But it struck me… “There sure is one hell of a lot of new voters coming out of the woodwork for this election.” If you know what I mean.
Voting in 2004: More Voters
I asked one of the workers how things were going. She shook her head. “Every day, every day… it is one more thing. We just received a mailbag of requests for ballots from the University of Pittsburgh. A lot of the college kids want to vote absentee here in Pittsburgh. But they are probably registered back home, too and ought to be voting in their hometowns…. And a lot of them probably are going to do just that.”
Yes, I think a lot of people are going to do just that.
If everyone votes enough times in the same election, do you think that eventually we will get it right? Or maybe if everyone votes enough times the same election, we will install someone into power who will decide that since he received so many votes he does not need to hold elections any more?
I worry that we might be on the verge of finding out.
Related Articles on Voting in 2004:
Byron King is a graduate of Harvard University and currently serves as an attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.