I ran across part of this story in the Washington Times today, a piece where Barack Obama suggested that America adopt mandatory voting like Australia and a handful of other counties have adopted. In a somewhat strange coincidence, Paula Bolyard at PJ Media reported yesterday that 300,000 Oregonians were summarily added to the voter rolls. There, residents who are not registered to vote but have interacted with their motor vehicle division will receive a ballot in their mail before the election, a move the state estimates will add up to 300,000 voters to the rolls.
Listen, I think everyone who is legally entitled to vote should do so – but we also should have a choice in the matter. People skip voting for many reasons: unfamiliarity or dissatisfaction with those running, the feeling that their vote doesn’t matter, desire to avoid jury duty by not being registered, or a lack of time to do so seem to be the primary ones.
Obama’s main reason for wanting compulsory voting stems from his dislike of the Citizens United decision, saying “it would counteract (campaign) money more than anything.” Of course, the reason campaign money is being spent is to influence the voters and it’s quite likely those who would be dragged into voting because it’s the law would be the most susceptible to 30-second negative advertisements paid for by those very same PACs and SuperPACs Obama decries. In reality, the money would be more effective because the cost per vote would decrease.
More worrisome, though, is the Oregon initiative. The state already has mail-in balloting, but there are few safeguards against illegal voting practices when ballots are sent out in such a manner. This is how the state describes the process:
Oregon has the most convenient voting system in the country. Since adopting vote by mail, Oregon consistently ranks as one of the national leaders in voter turnout.
Registered voters receive a ballot two to three weeks before an election, giving them ample time to research issues or candidates.
Voters also receive an official ballot to complete and insert into the security envelope which is placed in the ballot return envelope and signed by the voter. The ballot return envelope can be stamped and mailed or simply dropped off at any official drop box across the state. If a voter casts his or her ballot after the Wednesday before an election, the ballot should be left at a drop box site to ensure it’s counted.
Now consider that they would send an extra 300,000 ballots to unregistered voters. Do you think they will check the signatures against the drivers’ license records? (That’s assuming they have a driver’s license.)
In essence, the state has full absentee balloting and that’s fine. But it’s the inclusion of those who preferred not to be in the system – or didn’t belong there based on non-citizenship, felony conviction, or other factors such as a different voter receiving the ballot at an incorrect address – that is troubling. Extend those issues out across the country with the mandatory voting Barack Obama desires and there’s abundant potential for fraud.
I simply find the timing on some of these ideas interesting, given that voter turnout was the lowest since World War II in the 2014 election and Democrats were blown out in most of the country. And while Oregon was one area Democrats did manage to hold serve, their Democratic governor recently resigned due to a criminal probe. Unlike most other states, John Kitzhaber was not succeeded by a lieutenant governor but by his secretary of state, Kate Brown. Brown is interesting in that she ran the electoral process in Oregon before becoming governor and was one of those backed by the Secretary of State Project led by far-left billionaire George Soros.
Apparently what goes around comes around, and Oregon will be a place to watch in 2016.
You know the other side has nothing in their bag of ideas when you see this recycled old chestnut of an appeal for cash:
This from the side with a President who regularly finds millionaires willing to fork over big bucks to get their slice of the government pie.
But I presume these guys are counting the Americans for Prosperity as part of the “hundreds of millions of dollars,” which is funny because while reports attempt to spin the news that the Koch brothers are raising up to $290 million to spend, it’s not like Democratic backers like Tom Steyer and the venerable George Soros are standing still.
Yet what do all these participants stand for? In the case of Soros, he’s donated millions over the years to reliably left-wing causes and opined after the 2010 election wipeout that Barack Obama didn’t fight hard enough for cherished progressive causes. Instead:
While Soros’s comment gave some attendees the impression that he’d cheer a primary challenge to the president, the point, sources say, was different. Rather, it is time to shuffle funds into a progressive infrastructure that will take on the tasks that the president can’t or won’t take on.
“People are determined to help build a progressive infrastructure and make sure it is there not just in the months ahead but one that will last in the long term,” said Anna Burger, the retired treasury secretary of SEIU. “Instead of being pushed over by this election it has empowered people to stand up in a bigger way.”
“There was frustration,” said one Democratic operative who attended the meetings. The main concern was about messaging. I think they are frustrated that the president isn’t being more direct. But I did not get the sense that anyone’s commitment to the progressive movement was wavering… The general consensus is that support has to move beyond being about one person and more about a movement. I don’t know if we’ve moved beyond there.”
One of those “movement” ventures is an outside-government arm to match conservatives in the 2012 elections. For several weeks, discussions have been led by Media Matters for America founder David Brock about the need to create a group that will run advertisements, conduct opposition research and perform rapid response functions. (Emphasis mine.)
As an example of this concept, just look at the movement to increase the minimum wage. I don’t think the SEIU is doing this by themselves.
In Steyer’s case, he’s out pushing for the extinction of fossil fuels, despite being a major benefactor from them over the years. (This would be a fun debate to watch.) Imagine the increase in costs and decrease in living standards a wholesale overnight embrace of renewables would cause. Until we can make the sun shine and the wind blow steadily 24 hours a day, we have a problem. (In terms of naturally occurring energy gathering, it would seem hydroelectric would be the best choice, but that’s also climate-dependent: a drought would dry up supply.)
So consider what the Koch brothers have helped to create: the Cato Institute, a libertarian, small-government think tank and Americans for Prosperity (who would be against prosperity?) They also built up the family business and became billionaires in the process – isn’t that the American Dream writ large? (They also support other causes, as this tongue-in-cheek post notes.)
If the Democrats have to use the Koch brothers – who built a successful life for themselves with a minimum of government assistance and would like others to follow in their footsteps – as an example of evil because they support Republicans, we know they have nothing.
I have a veritable catch-all of little feature items best handled in a paragraph or two, so I’ll get cracking!
First of all is an important update from the state Board of Elections with the ballot language for the seven statewide issues as well as a number of local questions (including four from Wicomico County.)
At first read, it doesn’t appear there’s any effort to deceive people into voting in a counter-intuitive manner (e.g. voting for an issue to repeal a particular law.) It appears that those who want to repeal certain laws would indeed vote against them at the ballot box.
I am a little concerned about the way Question 6 is worded, though. Here’s how the same-sex marriage bill is presented:
Establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.
Of the seven questions the state presents to voters, this is the longest. Actually, if you removed the first clause it’s not a bad law but the part about gay and lesbian couples is a non-starter, which is probably why that language was added – people will say, oh, okay, the churches don’t have to participate. But that’s not the point, and the additional language obfuscates it.
I also wonder why the term “same-sex” wasn’t used. With the possible exception of Question 3, it’s just going to be down-the-line “against” for me. But on a local level, I’m all for two of the proposed changes – not quite sure about the last two questions quite yet.
I’m very disappointed, though, that the term limits proposal for the County Executive did not make it through County Council. Apparently several Republicans don’t have the spine to return the county to a citizen-based power structure, ensuring no individual would run the county for more than eight years. I guess we will have to primary them, won’t we?
Of course, last night the County Council heard testimony about the county’s redistricting plan for a work session today. I happen to think the plan put in place by the Redistricting Committee is quite sound and well thought out because it uses a number of significant natural and man-made boundaries (like U.S. 50) to define districts as well as making change easier in the future.
But scuttlebutt I’m hearing is that a second plan is in the works; one which will be more favorable to certain incumbents on County Council. While it’s true that about 1/4 of the county’s population is displaced by the Redistricting Committee’s plan, the goal is to establish more permanent district boundaries which won’t change as much in future years. One thing I like about the Redistricting Committee’s plan is how it keeps most of the communities together – obviously Salisbury has to be divided into at least two districts based on population and this map puts the heart of the city into either District 1 (the majority-minority district) or District 4. (Since I began work on this post last night, I have learned there is a second plan, drawn up by a county employee. While I haven’t seen it, my impression is that it’s closer to the old map.)
Speaking of elections, this tidbit came to me from Cathy Keim of Election Integrity Maryland. It’s “even better than being a poll watcher” and it goes right to the heart of the problem.
I asked Anthony Gutierrez, our local BOE head, if you have to be registered in the county that you serve as an election judge. He said no. As long as you are a Maryland registered voter, you can be an election judge in any county that hires you. He also stated that Baltimore has a terrible time recruiting enough Republican and non-partisan election judges. The goal is to have one chief judge from each major party at each polling place. If they cannot do that, then they try to get a non-partisan judge. If they can’t do that……then it just has to be two of the same party! This holds for regular judges also.
Being an election judge is even better than being a poll watcher as you are actually running the election. Please bring this up to the GOP that they need to be filling these positions in Baltimore and PG County and maybe other counties. I know that this is a regular problem, so the GOP should already be aware of it, but it never hurts to get people working on a solution sooner rather than later.
In Wicomico County we only have about 38 precincts, so presumably they only need 38 election judges from each party. But if you’re armed with the poll watcher training and are an election judge in a “problem” county it’s indeed possible to give the Democrats fits by insisting the letter of the law be followed.
Apparently they’re not going to follow the letter of the law in Tampa during the Republican convention. If you believe the Accuracy in Media group and writer Tina Trent, agitators funded by radical left-wingers including George Soros are plotting to disrupt the proceedings – of course, they’ll get plenty of press coverage if they succeed. Meanwhile, during the next week there are going to be protests in Charlotte at the Democrats’ shindig (some by unions bitterly disappointed the convention is being held in a right-to-work state) but you won’t hear a peep.
The President’s campaign also has the laughable idea that seeing five years of Mitt Romney’s tax returns are enough. This is part of a missive from Obama For Against America’s Jim Messina:
Friday morning, I sent a letter to Mitt Romney’s campaign manager, asking that Romney release just five years of tax returns. And I made a commitment that, if he does, this campaign would not demand more.
You should add your name. Here’s why:
Right now, our opponent is proposing a $2,000 tax increase on middle-class families with kids in order to pay for tax breaks for millionaires like him.
He’s asking Americans to put him in charge of their taxes, while refusing to come clean about his own.
This isn’t going away because voters deserve better, and everyone but the Romney campaign seems to recognize that.
Romney’s refusal to release his returns is raising more questions than he’s been willing to answer.
According to the one full year of returns he has released, Romney paid 13.9% in taxes on his income. Thursday, he said he went back and looked, and has never paid less than 13% over the last ten years.
Now we’re asking him to put his money where his mouth is.
It is absolutely relevant for us to ask how much a presidential candidate paid in taxes, if he sheltered his money or tried to get out of paying taxes at all, why he started — and continues to own — a corporation offshore in Bermuda, why he keeps his finances offshore in the Cayman Islands, and why he opened a Swiss bank account.
This issue isn’t going away, and for good reason. Tell Romney to follow 30 years of precedent and release his tax returns.
Next thing you know, they’ll be asking for ten years’ worth. Meanwhile, we don’t have any of Obama’s college records, never mind the whole birth certificate thing. Of course, anyone can Photoshop any sort of “fake but accurate” documents they want, but that’s not the point, either.
I truly don’t give a damn whether Mitt Romney has a Swiss bank account or money in the Cayman Islands. It’s his money and he can do as he pleases with it. And paying almost 14% of his taxes on his income? Just ask an average American who scores a big tax refund check, complete with earned income credit, what rate he or she paid and I’ll bet the answer may surprise you. Sorry, Jim Messina, that class warfare card is no good here.
That’s Obama’s America. And to that effect a movie will be shown locally beginning Friday – showtimes are here, and the trailer is below.
I may have to go see this one, and I am not a movie buff.
I’m going to close with a little encouragement from a fellow blogger – Marianne (aka Zilla of the Resistance) has been through a lot with her late stage Lyme Disease. Well, not only has she found improvement with some of her most painful symptoms of late, she’s also received some cheering news from the Mitt Romney camp as he’s making what Marianne terms a “bold stand” against those medical professionals skeptical of some possible treatments for the disease. (Maryland is one area affected more heavily than most.) Perhaps there’s light at the end of the tunnel for her, and it’s not an oncoming train.
The light at the end of this post is also here, but it’s only the next post down. I encourage you to keep reading.
As I mentioned last night, I added a few new websites to my sidebar links. One interesting add was a site called Zilla of the Resistance, which I had originally run across via a link from The Other McCain. But what sparked my interest again was a link to her from another Maryland-based site called The Vail Spot, which I also link to. Both Vail and Zilla have something in common which I’m sure they aren’t proud of, but has been an issue: the writers have had recent financial hardships, for various reasons, and both were assisted by the generosity of their reader base.