Wednesday, May 09, 2007

USA the Banana Republic

The right to elect is an old right for the white males, somewhat of a new right for the females and a new right for the blacks in the US. Since there is a tradition of holding elections since the first days of the republic, I am still amazed with the incompetence of the staff responsible for them. Even banana republics are capable of better processes.

Here is a news item from in Indianapolis where the primaries were held yesterday.

Handicapped Marine Veteran Kept From Voting

Voters In 5 Marion County Precincts Turned Away

POSTED: 9:54 am EDT May 9, 2007

UPDATED: 10:11 am EDT May 9, 2007

INDIANAPOLIS -- The first vote under a new Democratic regime at the Marion County Clerk's Office was wrought with problems during the primary election Tuesday, including the disenfranchising of numerous voters -- among them, a handicapped Marine veteran.

Republicans called the primary a travesty after as many as 100 precincts opened late and five didn't open at all, 6News' Norman Cox reported.

County clerk Beth White apologized profusely for the problems, but nothing was done to give those who didn't get a chance to vote at all another opportunity.
Jesus Quintana Jr., a Marine veteran who lost the use of his legs in Vietnam, drove his handicapped van to his polling place, only to find it locked. A voting machine was inside, but no one was there.

"It sucks. That's all I can say, you know?" Quintana said. "We come to vote and we vote all the time and this is where we come to vote at."

White said about 150 inspectors, the people legally required to open polling places, failed to show up.

There were also mechanical problems, such as keys that were not delivered to unlock machines.

"I cannot believe this. This is 2007, right?" said Linda Swanigan, who could not vote.

White took full responsibility for the problems and said she would do better in November. She suggested that any candidate can contest the election and that disenfranchised voters can file a civil suit. She decided not to keep polls open past 6 p.m.

"We feel terrible about that," White said. "I understand suing us is an empty remedy, but if they have a right of action, they can think about it."

Republicans did nothing to take a stand for disenfranchised voters, Cox reported. County chairman Tom John sharply criticized White, whom he called Mayor Bart Peterson's handpicked choice for clerk, but he said a move to allow the five precincts another day to vote would have to come from Peterson and White.

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