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Well, that's not true. Yet. - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Well, that's not true. Yet.

The other day, I was finally contacted about my signup a few weeks earlier to go to a battleground state to keep the Crazy Poll Watchers away from intimidating the unacceptable (i.e., non-white and unarmed) potential voters.  I was confirmed for an assignment in western Pennsylvania on Election Day, and was told to watch my email for login access to a system set up for training and appearance scheduling.

This effort, called LBJ (I've yet to see what it literally stands for, although the initials of course evoke various images), is run out of the Clinton campaign.  Mindful that I've never been one of her biggest fans, I waited to see how this effort would go.

The good: they're being very careful about who can access their servers and how.  The LBJ site sends out an email with a ""token" link you have to click to set up an account.  You then need a password, and they require strong ones. My first choice, "nastywoman," was rejected.  Once I finally came up with one with sufficient diddlybits, I was kicked out because the token had expired.  Sheesh, Hil- if only you'd been this careful with your email access all along, we might not have to be worrying about these wingnuts.

The bad: signing up for this effort gets you on The List. And it nags and begs and doesn't shut up.  You'd think she has the remotest chance of losing, the way these guilt-trip you.  I found a "less email" link and clicked it- which resulted in more email. So I chose a semi-hidden one to really "unsubscribe," hoping I won't lose LBJ emails in the process, and got this:

Pro tip: don't piss off your supporters. This is a good way to do that.  I unsubscribed anyway.  But Ima still going.


My plan is to head down to PA Points West- Erie and Pittsburgh are the most likely urban areas where help will be needed- after I've cast my own vote here at 6 a.m. on November 8.  It's frustrating, because I'm seeing posts from all over the country from friends who have already gotten to exercise their franchise through early voting.

Meanwhile, this bluer-than-blue paradise of a state refuses to extend that courtesy to its own voters.  New York allows absentee votes, but they are only available with an "excuse" (which I would have and could use, and which I have used once or twice in my voting life). Worse, though:  while they allow them to be cast, they are essentially treated as "outcast." Since they allow absentee voters to postmark their ballots as late as the day before Election Day wherever they may be, none of these ballots are counted in the Election Night returns, and are thus rendered irrelevant in 99-plus percent of contests. On the other hand, states which allow Early Voting do not need such post-election windows since, derp, they're early!, and so your vote not only counts but is included in the totals that are reported from the get-go.

Who's to blame for this?  Politicians, of course.  This recent piece talks about it, and notes that we really have no business here complaining about suppressive new techniques in other states when we've been completely repressive ourselves all along:

New York’s voting procedures have become a talking point for Republican-led states in defending their own regression on voting rights. In discussing their limitations on voting rights, North Carolina and Ohio have pointed to the New York rules. If other states can have restrictive policies, the argument goes, why can’t they? As John Kasich, the governor of Ohio, said when asked about his state’s decision to cut early voting from six weeks to four, “I do not know why you are picking on Ohio. Why don’t you go pick on New York?”

Various proposals for reform have floated around the New York state legislature, a notoriously corrupt and ineffective body, but nothing has happened. The reasons for the inaction seem clear. Incumbent politicians benefit from low-turnout, low-interest elections, in which few people muster the enthusiasm or effort to vote. The public rarely displays much interest in the mechanics of elections, so politicians can establish self-serving rules with political impunity. Thus, the status quo endures.

Other analysts have laid the blame specifically at the Republican-controlled (for now) New York State Senate, which refused to consider such a bill earlier this year- but not all of the blame:

This year, the Democratic-controlled State Assembly passed a series of voting reforms including making it easier for voters to register, and early voting.

"We've made big strides in the Assembly," said Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh. "Unfortunately the Senate has not put any of those bills on a committee agenda or moved them forward."

In addition, while Senate Republicans have not been very eager to work with Democrats to modernize voting procedures and protocols, some Assembly Democrats say neither was former Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver who was ousted last year by a corruption scandal after having served as Speaker for two decades.

"Some of these bills would move under the old Speaker," Assemblyman Kavanagh said. "We did pass an early voting bill in the past. But I think the package that we passed in the Assembly this year really was unprecedented. "

In a statement a spokesman for Governor Cuomo said:

"For years, the Governor has advanced a series of reforms to New York's election system. We welcome the Mayor to this effort."

Senate Republicans had no comment on the voting bills, although it is widely understood that with a severe enrollment disadvantage in New York State the last thing Republicans want is more people voting.

It's just another stinking thread on the shawl of incumbency- where the current elected officials of both parties shamelessly send out "constituent reports" at taxpayer expense before elections that look exactly like their campaign literature, and they time "tax rebate checks" so they arrive days before the election.  The only thing that will fix this kind of shit, from the local to state to federal level, is wholesale review and reform of the institutions themselves.  Once this 2016 sewage finally settles, I'll begin talking more, here and elsewhere, about the most important 2017 vote in New York. It's the one on whether to enable a bidecennial review of the whole state Constitution and, if approved to consider, to debate and ultimately let voters decide on changes.  Which could include term limits, limits on campaign shenanigans, and, yes, early and even online voting.

I may even make an effort to be in The Room Where It Happens- assuming I make it back from Pennsylvania two weeks from today.

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