Monday, October 31, 2016

And I didn't even get the lousy sticker!

Because pretty much all I wear anymore is blue jeans....

So I voted on Sunday.

I didn't get my little "I Voted!" sticker; but then, I'm not a ten year old child, either.  (Although I still dress like I was ten years old; well, except for wearing sneakers.)

The line was long, but moved rapidly.  It was well organized and well-managed, and nobody tried to stand over my shoulder to be sure I was allowed to vote.  Then again, I'm not black or brown or speak with a foreign accent.  Truth be told I look like an elderly accountant, or at least the son of an accountant.  Have I told you the story about being mistaken for a Republican at a primary polling place many years ago?

Yeah, that's pretty much what I look like.

The only point of interest was the blonde white guy (crew cut, even!) in line well ahead of me, who stopped to snap a photo of the letter sized announcement detailing (accurately!) all the forms of ID acceptable to prove you were a registered voter.  I read the list shortly after him, and recognized it as the forms of ID acceptable in Texas until voter fraud became a GOP bugbear and "voter ID" became synonymous with saving the nation from Sharia Law and ISIS (and Black Lives Matter, but no one wants to say that out loud).  The list included a recent bank statement, a utility bill; things to prove you lived at the address shown on the voter rolls.

The one odd incident, to me, was when I presented my driver's license (they didn't want my voter registration card, as it has nothing scannable on it.  I thought this might be a suppression technique, but I think they urged us to get out our license just to keep the lines moving as rapidly as possible.  The bottleneck was really in getting our code to put into the voting machine; lots of machines stood empty around me.  They were doing the best they could, and it moved efficiently.  Still, the advice to present only a driver's license seemed a bit excessive.  I think the volunteer overseeing the line was a bit overwhelmed at the turnout.).  Anyway, my voter registration card lists my full name, my driver's license has only my middle initial.  I was asked if I wanted to correct that, so the two were the same.  Apparently someone with my name and face might vote under my full name, or something.  Seemed kind of stupid to me, but voter ID laws seem very stupid to me, so there you are.

Back to the guy in line.  He snapped a photo of the page detailing acceptable ID, and commented to someone in line that he could steal somebody's bank statement and vote.  He seemed to think this proved the system was broken, or at least rigged.  He really left me no doubt who he was voting for.  But I started thinking:  is there a huge uptick in people stealing bank statements?  From mail boxes (that's a federal crime), or just breaking into your house to get that valuable piece of paper so they can vote?

Voting, at least in Texas, is so computerized that the fact I voted is now recorded.  If somebody did steal my bank statement (they'd have to hack my bank to get it), and showed up to vote claiming to be me, they wouldn't be allowed to.  If they went to all that trouble before I voted, I'd have to ask:  why?  Cui bono?  I've been voting in Texas all my life, and if anyone has grounds to say their vote doesn't count, it would be me.  I've voted for the President who won more than once, but that's in spite of the state giving it's electoral votes to the loser.  I haven't elected the governor since Ann Richards ran (when she ran again, I was in another state; but she lost that time, so.....).  If someone is going to steal my identity by stealing my bank statement, what good does it do them?

Unless, of course, several million people steal bank statements across the state of Texas.  In Harris Count, over 200,000 voters have turned out to vote early so far.   If even 10% of those voters were victims of bank statement theft, it would surely be big news that so many bank statements had gone missing.  And yet, would 20,000 votes really sway the election in Texas?*  Would 20,000 people be so desperate to vote in a state with historically low voter turnout, that they would commit several crimes just for the opportunity to do so?  Again:  cui bono?

By and large, the people who think the process is "rigged" because they aren't going to like the outcome, that's who.  It benefits them to think that, if their world is changing, it's not their fault.

Privilege dies hard.

*If you pay attention to the list at the link you'll notice that despite carrying most of the largest metropolitan counties in Texas (Bexar, Harris, Travis, Dallas, El Paso), Obama lost Texas to Romney in 2012.  You'll also notice that 20,000 votes more for Obama wouldn't have made a difference, especially if they were spread out across just those 15 counties (out of 254).   We used to deride the thinking of the man in line as 'innumeracy.'  Now we hear it spouted by the Presidential candidate for the GOP

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