ACT Right You Nasty People

News & Politics

With two weeks to election day, the Californians are really pouring in. America Coming Together, Nevada State Labor 2004, Voices for Working Families, and a host of other groups have a get-out-the-vote effort that the Valley has never seen before.

But wait, there is something else the Nevada Valley hasn't seen on such a high level – I'm talking beyond orange level threat alert. Nasty campaigning on the local front has hit an all-new high (or low). It appears that the strategy to win in Nevada is showing no mercy. Destroy perfectly acceptable voter registration forms if you don't like what party the person registered as and/or cause so much drama and distraction that those UNLV slackers just won't vote.

Political consultants and their firms have crossed the line of decency. Even our beloved attorney general, Brian Sandoval, who serves as the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign chairman for Nevada has crossed the lines of good judgment. In a state with elected officials plagued by not removing themselves from situations that are clear conflicts of interests and where indictments and violations of ethics laws are part of the daily news cycle, citizens are even more less trusting of our elected officials. Ahh yes, citizens ...

The Election is for Whom?

As Nevadans we have endured more mail than Nicolas Cage and Bridgett Fonda in the last scene of "It Could Happen to You," seen more half-truths than any reality show currently airing on TV (come on, pick one, any one), yet they still can show up to an early voting site and not be able to vote. I say forget picture IDs and water bills, I believe if you can furnish 4 or more pieces of political mail with your address on it you can vote. Let's go a few steps further: If you have your ticket stub from viewing "Fahrenheit 9/11" or a printout from you local video store that shows you rented "The Fog of War" or "Outfoxed" in the last 90 days, that is proof you are registered to vote. Because no matter if you liked them or hated them you felt compelled to take action.

If this election is for the people to choose their leaders, then let the people choose! Provisional ballots are just another way to steal the election from the people. Case in point: On Oct. 16, the first day of early voting in Nevada, people in Clark County were turned away from the polls for various reasons and were not given provisional ballots. According to Clark County Registrar Larry Lomax, starting Oct. 17, voters who are not permitted to vote using a regular ballot will be provided with the opportunity to vote using a provisional ballot. This will be a paper ballot and under Nevada law will be only for the federal offices.

Partners (mostly the labor unions) of America Votes (the real one) are extremely concerned because most poll workers have never done this before. According to Larry Lomax they will be trained prior to the polls opening again on Oct. 17. But keep in mind no provisional ballot will be counted until the defect that kept the individual from voting using a regular ballot in the first place is fixed. Which means the process of voting that should only take less than 20 minutes becomes a process that lasts a couple of days. How does this effect the first time voter who is a single mother that voted on the weekend or the first time voter who doesn't own a car and can't get to the county clerk to show their proof of registration? What happens when the paper provisional ballots run out at a polling location? What happens when ... hmm. I must pause and just make my point of the day.

When do we get to hold the powers that be accountable? Nevada, just like many other states, is so vulnerable because there is a lack of urgency to fix the problem until the last minute. In addition, there is an under-funding of many states' election departments. Clark County, Nev. continues to have record growth, and its election department has managed very well under the circumstances. But until a clear model of excellence is unveiled that every state adheres to, we will continue to have the election process hijacked by lack of laws, lack of enforcement of laws, lack of an efficient process and lack of capacity.

Questions of the Day

Why is it that Gov. Kenny Guinn sits idle as the election process in Nevada is hijacked?

Why is it that only one group found it necessary – in fact, a priority – to have attorneys on the ground in Clark County during early voting? (Thanks, SEIU)

If 54% of those who will vote will vote early, doesn't it make sense to have more eyes on the ground to identify problems during the two weeks before election day – especially in light of the fraud and illegal actions as documented in countless news reports? Or how about because it is unjust to have folks who are registered to vote not being allowed to?

Personal Prediction:

You heard it here first; even with the pure chaos in Nevada John Kerry will win by 2 or 3 points. The get-out-the-vote operations from the 527's, the unions etc., will be helpful, but it's simply pissed-off people that will make the difference in this election.

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