Archive for November, 2008

A New Campaign: What to Do With Your Life Post-Election

Now that’s it’s rather likely we’ll be seeing Democrats across the board in that fat farce of a greedy, self-serving pig known lovingly as “the government”, I think it behooves us radical, anti-American, socialists who “supported” (and I use that word in lieu of a vastly more tepid synonym) this new and improved majority to take up a new campaign, one that Republicans will almost certainly reject.

Before I explain what that campaign ought to be, let me first remind you. The election has not actually taken place yet. The chicks, they have not hatched yet. Why are you counting them?

Please vote. If you are not yet registered, check if your state has same-day registration. If you’ve changed addresses and cannot vote in your current district, please apply for an absentee ballot at your local board of elections. If it’s too late to apply for an absentee ballot, please check and see if your state has late absentee applications. If they do, you need to stop by your local board of elections and fill one out. If you’re turned away at the voting booth, you can always submit a provisional ballot. Remember, though, to document why you were turned away, including names, phone numbers, and polling location. You can always challenge this in court if you like. Provisional ballots are the least likely to be counted.

Now back to the main event.

After this election has settled down, we need to push strongly for revising how elections take place in this country. One of two things need to happen, if not both. One will be controversial for economic reasons and one will be controversial for utterly contrived reasons. (Scare quotes around controversial are implied). Here’s what needs to happen. Either the President or Congress needs to declare November 4th a federal holiday OR Congress needs to move election day to the weekend.

The first of these does not guarantee anything. Neither the President nor Congress can mandate a day off of work (except for federal employees). Many businesses do recognize federal holidays, though, which is why it’s a step in the right direction. Opponents will claim that this will hurt the economy. Aside from the fact that voting should be a higher priority than a single day’s GNP, I can see why a businessman would make this argument. It’s somewhat reasonable. I would note, however, that some holidays do fall on weekdays and nearly all businesses give workers these holidays off.

What’s not reasonable is opposition to my second suggestion. Most businesses close entirely on the weekends. The only ones which do not are service-based industries, including some government facilities, transportation services, restaurants, banks, shopping malls, etcetera, and even then work shifts are usually tapered compared to weekdays. Even if every business operating on a Saturday doesn’t give its employees leave to vote, the number of voters will dramatically increase.

The only thing that might be difficult about the second option is getting both Saturday and Sunday. The Constitution doesn’t specify what day everyone has to vote, but it does specify that the electors (which for all intents and purposes just means ‘the voters’) have to vote on the same day. Here’s the relevant quote:

The Congress may determine the Time of chusing[sic] the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

Expanding an ‘election day’ to an ‘election weekend’ might require an amendment to the Constitution, depending on how you interpret that clause. You can probably bet that most states will not ratify such an amendment (even many Democratic-leaning ones), at least not for many years.

In any case, your average Republican politician will likely fight tooth and nail in opposition to any of these measures. Which is why a Democratically-controlled Congress and White House is the perfect vehicle for nailing this thing into the ground. That we live in a world where Delayan gerrymandering is perfectly legal, but changing an antiquated election date to a more modern one is somehow taboo makes me, at least, a tad contemptuous of “the government”.