Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Real Voter Scandal Continues: The Turnout Sucks, Florida 2014 Primary Edition

(update: hello to the people linking in via Crooks and Liars.  Thank you Batocchico for the promotion! please check out the other recent articles while you're here...)

So here we are in Florida, 2014, everyone in the state knows what is at stake - GET RICK "NO ETHICS" SCOTT OUT OF OFFICE - and we get our August Primary up and everything.  And there are actual choices for both major parties this primary: Democrats choosing between Crist or Rich; Republicans choosing between Scott (augh), Cuevas-Neunder, or someone named Yinka. (slow pause)  Yeah, well, anyway, there's every reason to think that with choices to be made for the big state-wide vote, we'd see a large number of voters showing up.  We've got 11 million-plus registered to vote, and although the NPA voters couldn't vote in the party primaries we've still got 8 million or so Republicans and Democrats on file available to make their choices known.

And what happens with the voter turnout?

We've have rat farts that made a bigger impact on things.

(copied from the Tampa Bay Times)

Governor - GOP Primary
5802 of 5804 Precincts Reporting - 99%
NamePartyVotesVote %
Scott, Rick (i)GOP833,58588%
Cuevas-Neunder, ElizabethGOP100,58511%
Adeshina, YinkaGOP16,8802%
Governor - Dem Primary
5802 of 5804 Precincts Reporting - 99%
NamePartyVotesVote %
Crist, CharlieDem620,68974%
Rich, NanDem214,11126%

According to the state's Supervisor of Elections page, there's 4,152,489 Republicans, 4,608,759 Democrats (with NPA and third parties at 3,083,202).  I'm counting less than a million voters turning out for Republicans, waaaay less voters turning out for Democrats.  Less than a million for each party.  That's less than 25 percent (a quarter) of registered voters this Primary.  Our turnout didn't even get to the 39 percent failure I railed about in the FL-13 Special election a few months back.

WE ARE NOWHERE NEAR EITHER PARTY MAKING A MAJORITY DECISION ON WHO THEY WANT AS THEIR CANDIDATES.  We are nowhere near a 50 percent of voter turnout, where a solid majority of fellow Floridians can stand up and say "hey, this is who we want representing our interests!"

To hell with the screeching over "voter fraud" (which happens on such a meager scale - less than a percent - to be non-existent), the real screeching needs to be over the FAILURE of registered voters to actually show up and f-cking vote.

Because this is what happens when those registered voters don't show up: their interests will not be addressed.  Their real-world needs such as good jobs at good wages, working schools, functioning roads and bridges, clean water, affordable housing and utility bills... none of that will be properly addressed because we'll end up with elected officials who KNOW that a majority of Floridians didn't even care enough to show up.  Those officials know all they have to do is indulge the voters who DO show up, who always show up regardless, and they'll be able to keep their comfy, full-pension-in-4-years jobs.

And the voters who DO show up?!  They're the wingnuts.  The extremists.  The single-issue crazies obsessing over hating gays, worshiping guns, shooting doctors, and nuking the social safety nets like Medicare Social Security and Medicaid.  This is why abortion remains a major campaign issue even when a majority of Americans don't even consider abortion a Top 10 Topic: it's still red meat for the extremist voters, and the politicians know who they have to pander to.

It may be so easy for a majority of citizens to tune out, to disengage, to walk away from politics because of all the negativity and social warfare (some of it literal).  But that disengagement has a price: OUR NEEDS AS A STATE AND AS COMMUNITIES SUFFER.  They suffer because the needs of the minority (by number, not ethnicity) extremists will be sated at the expense of the many.

Worse, the minority group getting the special treatment above all others tend to be the uber-rich billionaires making themselves richer by getting their cronies they elected to hand over more and more tax breaks and free access to our public funds.  And then people wonder why income inequality has become a huge problem: IT'S BECAUSE YOU'RE LETTING THE CROOKS WIN RE-ELECTION.

This is frustrating.  This is insane.

It ought to be illegal.  There ought to be a rule making damn sure no election is certified until a solid majority (I'd love for it to be 60 percent super-majority) of voters available for that election have placed their ballots for counting.  And if that means extending the voting times, so be it (and have the parties PAY for those extensions: it'd be a good way to force them to get better at GOTV efforts).  If people don't like the choices being offered, every election - even the closed party primaries - ought to have a blank space to add a write-in vote.

WE OUGHT TO HAVE OUR ELECTIONS BE BUSINESS AND SCHOOL HOLIDAYS TO GIVE PEOPLE ENOUGH FREE TIME TO SHOW UP AND VOTE (most people don't even realize they have a right to leave work for an hour to go vote, and because they work during election hours few of them even make the effort).  We ought to move elections to Fridays or Saturdays, on weekends: this isn't 1880 when people had to travel during business hours to the county courthouse to file their ballots while they conduct business in-town.

We can do these things: except we can't.  BECAUSE BOTH MAJOR PARTIES PROFIT FROM THE BROKEN ELECTORAL SYSTEM.  Yes, even Democrats.

I remember from a political science class back in college where two professors discussed how political parties figured out a rule: that the fewer people who showed up to vote, the EASIER it got to control that election's results.  Because the ones who always turned up were the single-issue wingnuts, and those were easy to manipulate and control.  If voter turnout grows, the number of more moderate, more complex-thinking voters who can't fit within the square pegs increases to where the campaigns can't dictate the results (which really scares them, 'cause they hate to get off-message).  I'd love to remember what the name of that rule was: I did not write it down then because it was tangent to another topic discussed that class.

And so, nothing will get done.  At least, not by the parties' separate leaderships.

If anything is going to fix this, it's going to have to be from the voters ourselves.  WE NEED TO SHOW UP AND VOTE.  We need to make our voices heard.  We need to get state amendments on-ballot to reform our broken electoral system.  We need to get 8 million voters showing up for Primaries.  We need to get 11 million voters showing up for the General Election.

We need to wake up, and we need to get in the faces of the status quo a-holes running our political parties into the ground.  They need to respect the voters better, and that means showing up and making them aware we are not their puppets.

Dammit, Florida.  GET THE DAMN VOTE OUT.

P.S. just for the Love of God DO NOT VOTE FOR RICK "MEDICARE FRAUD" SCOTT.  I'm serious.  Rick Scott is not running for Governor to work for our state: Rick Scott is running to make money for Rick Scott.  That is all he represents.  Just PLEASE do not vote for him...


Anonymous said...

In Australia the law requires all eligible adults to vote - if you don't you have to pay a hefty fine, I forget (don't care) how much.

I think you shouldn't be eligible for any government benefits if you can't show a voters card with the last election marked off on it. No drivers license, no building permit, etc.

If you don't take part, you can't take part.

Paul Wartenberg said...

Anonymous, our problem in the United States is that poor people are not issued photo ID cards for free - voter IDs ARE free, by the by - and one of the hardest restrictions getting enforced is having that photo ID. If we have the states denying those photo IDs, that denies the poor the right and power to vote: if voting is tied into a requirement to get social aid, then you're doubling down on hurting the poor. We shouldn't tie in voting rights to benefits rights. We need to enforce better and easier access to polls and elections. We need to make it free to vote.