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How elections are won … subverting the will of the people

Progressives are trying to unseat conservative Democrat Blanche Lincoln in the primary runoff in Arkansas (Lincoln was one of the major obstacles standing in the way of better health care reform). And indeed, a recent survey shows Bill Halter ahead of Lincoln 49 to 45%. But now all that is in doubt. Why?

Garland County, which was the most populous county where Bill Halter won 3 weeks ago in the primary, has announced that instead of having their normal 42 polling places, will have only 2 open. In the primary, Halter got heavy support from rural voters, but now those voters will have to travel miles — some even across a mountain range — into a city in order to vote in the runoff on Tuesday. Many of them work and won’t be able to get enough time off to go vote.

Just to make matters worse the county announced that it would allow early voting on Saturday (yesterday), and this was reported by local newspapers and other media, so people who couldn’t get time off on a work day would still have a chance to vote. But when voters showed up at the county office to vote, there was a sign on the door saying that there would be no early voting that day after all — after it had already been publicized. So some people already made a wasted trip in order to try to vote. How many of them will make additional effort, just to vote in a runoff primary election?

I’m willing to bet not many. Such is the way elections are decided in America.

UPDATE: It worked. Blanche Lincoln won the runoff.



  1. starluna wrote:

    Another example of the rampant corruption in Louisiana. Even the threat of lawsuit doesn’t stop these people.

    Monday, June 7, 2010 at 8:03 am | Permalink
  2. ebdoug wrote:

    Interesting that AP news is not mentioning this.

    Monday, June 7, 2010 at 8:41 am | Permalink
  3. Chuck Makela wrote:

    Well, despite the fact this post was referring to politics in Arkansas and not Louisiana, the “will of the people” in this country is vastly overshadowed by politicians’ quest for money and power. The geographic location makes no difference. The term “American People” rarely comes up except at election time. Thereafter, the term is supplanted by other jargon such as “fundraising” and “special interest.” There will never be such a thing as “will of the people” so long as elected officials are allowed to remain paid whores. The framers of our Constitution wanted our election process totally free from special interest money. We all know how far they got with that idea. Throughout history, our lawmakers have either bent the law, misinterpreted the law for their own gain, or ignored the law completely. The prostitutes on the streets of DC earn their illegal pay every day of the week – they’re just a little less obvious than the folks on Capitol Hill.

    Monday, June 7, 2010 at 9:31 am | Permalink
  4. starluna wrote:

    Chuck – thanks for catching that. I really need to remember to drink coffee before writing in the morning. Big “duh” on my part.

    But along the lines of your comment, I’ve been doing some historical research about Boston (it’s a hobby) and thought the following would be of interest. In 1882, Patrick Collins was the first Irish American from Boston to be elected to Congress. He later wrote, “In practice, the Congressman is an errand boy. He must secure places for the men who gave him their support. …if we continue our present course, wealth will control all avenues to honest political distinction.”

    Monday, June 7, 2010 at 10:19 am | Permalink
  5. Rob wrote:

    Yet another argument for vote by mail as we have in Oregon. No polling places and time to make a decision.

    Monday, June 7, 2010 at 10:35 am | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    Yes, if done properly (as I think it is in Oregon) Vote By Mail works really really well. So how do we get it to spread to other places?

    By the way Rob, there actually are polling places in Oregon, for people who just want to be able to go some place to vote. Perhaps they want privacy from family members when they vote, or maybe they are too used to voting that way. Originally they were instituted because lawmakers were concerned that (for example) a voter might feel pressure from their spouse on how to vote. So you always have a private place where you can go to vote, if you want it.

    Also, while I love voting at home where I can look things up on the Internet or in the local newspapers or do other research, I never mail my ballot. My wife and I always drop our ballots off at the local library, where they have a big (locked) box for ballots during the election. I guess we feel safer doing that than just dropping our ballots off into the mail system. Besides, we live very close to a library and it saves us a couple of stamps. 🙂

    Monday, June 7, 2010 at 10:51 am | Permalink
  7. Sammy wrote:

    Here in Washington (the state, not the District) we have mandatory vote-by-mail now. I love it, but I know some people believe voting should be an “effort”. I love that I can read the booklet, do some research and vote incrementally. I have a few weeks to complete the ballot and then just drop it in the mail. I don’t have to wait in a line, risk forgetting that it’s election day, alter my plans, etc.

    I know there are those who would scold me for that attitude, but since this change, I’ve become a much more informed and invested voter. I see that ballot sitting in my kitchen every day and am reminded to look up this measure or that candidate.

    Monday, June 7, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Permalink