Sunday, October 19, 2008

What does voting change?

Yesterday I presented some questions about the current problems with the voting system. Because the government wanted to improve the voting system, they now require that voter registration be centralized in each state. On its face, this would seem to simplify the system by taking several disparate lists and putting them together. However, if you believe that government is inefficient and corrupt, then the problems associated with this move are predictable.

Politicians and appointed government officials on both sides are engaging in everything from questionable to blatantly unlawful tactics to purge voters who might disagree with their party's candidate from the roles. Many voters are receiving letters in the mail informing them that they have lost their right to vote, and even when they are later informed that it was in error, either through their own actions or when the “mistake” is realized, many will probably still be discouraged from voting. And in an era when certain swing vote blocks, such as middle aged white women, could win the election for one candidate or the other, controlling turnout at the polls is essential.

Even the FBI investigation into voter fraud by the group ACORN is now being called into question by the Obama campaign. His campaign's insinuation that the administration is trying to, “sap the American people of confidence in the voting process,” would seem to imply that the government can't be trusted. Maybe its just this government he doesn't think you can trust. I'm sure you can trust his government.

In reality however, this investigation may have to be taken out of the FBI's hands. Since 9/11 more and more of the FBI's resources have been diverted away from their traditional role in domestic law enforcement and towards terrorism related investigations. As a result, they are now scrambling to investigate “possible frauds of millions of dollars” in relation to the current financial crisis. With so few resources available for investigating domestic crimes, the FBI has had to rely on private investigators to do much of their legwork, including investigation, and even setting up sting operations so authorities can make arrests. So while they would like you to believe that in the absence of the state there would be unsuppressed violence and no remedy for fraud, in practice they turn to the very private solution they decry.

They will tell you that your vote can change the course of the world. Yet, with so much being done by both sides to suppress, obfuscate, and discourage the vote, is it the future of the world they're interested in, or just the future of their power structure? In the face of an increasingly confused and corrupt voting system, the state would like you to believe that the coming election is the most important in recent history. But that's what they always say, and we seem to have the same problems we've always had.

It would seem that elections have little in common with change.

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