Monday, September 15, 2003

Breaking news: October 7 Recall [may be] Postponed!

Story from Sacramento Bee - Story on Yahoo! News

The appeal of the appeal may still be appealed, but at this moment the campaign has been extended until March.

Why this is good:
  • The punch-card system used by much of the state is out-dated and leads to mis-counts. We all remember the problems that "hanging chad" caused in the presidential election, and that's just one of the problems with this system. Add to that the confusion of 135 candidates and the potential for voter error, and you realize why we need modern voting systems.
  • In the rush to get the election prepared in a time of budget cuts, poling places have been cut drastically in some areas. People will be going to their usual poling place, only to find that there's no election happening there.
  • Each of the above will lead to many Californians being dis-enfranchised, a violation of their basic civil rights.

Why this is bad:
  • A delay only favors those few major candidates with the resources to keep campaigning for another five or six months. The press will tire of, and the public will be bored with, learning about the other 130 candidates. Citizens who were excited about politics for the first time in years will be further dis-enchanted with the process and become more convinced of the futility of getting involved.
  • At the core of this election is a question of whether or not Gray Davis is fit to govern this state. Personally, I think the recall question is a sham; Davis may be a weasel, but his biggest crime is being unpopular. Fine. But, the point of a recall is that the public has lost confidence in the government, and that requires swift movement. It's not the type of question you put off until the next regularly scheduled election; it is deserving a special election ASAP.
  • While a delay will help ensure that every vote is counted, it will also ensure that far fewer votes are cast.

Touch choice. Possibly disnfranchise a few who try to vote, or unintentionally disinfranchise many through discouraging involvement. My opinion at this moment (and it could change) is that the lesser evil is to go ahead with a flawed election. That punch cards need to be replaced is not in question. Frankly, the problems with punch cards call into question the validity of many elections over the years. But, it's what we have now. Let's use it one last time.

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