Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The duopoly strikes again

While I was out and about today I had a conversation with an acquaintance who told me that last year she had tried to vote at the First Ward polling place in Tarentum. She was a registered voter who had registered as an independent, not selecting a party. She said that last year the people working the poll told her that she could not vote because she was neither a Republican nor a Democrat.

I was incredulous. I asked her if she was positive that she had not tried to vote in a primary. She was sure it was the November election when they had turned her away.

I encouraged her to go vote today, and to insist on her right to vote if people tried to tell her she could not.

Would you believe it, the workers at First Ward actually tried the same scam on her this year! But this time the constable came to ensure that she was permitted to vote.

I am relieved that that there was a way for law enforcement to step in and protect her right. But I am shocked to think that it was even necessary for her to have to call on assistance to be able to vote.

My mind is not made up on whether the new electronic voting machines are a boon or a bane. As long as petty local tyrants can deter registered voters from participating in the democratic process we have a long way to go to improve how we elect.

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