Monday, November 03, 2008
Pre-election day random thoughts:

1) The Virginia State Board of Elections. So, suddenly, for the first time, the SBE is interpreting the rule that prohibits electioneering inside the 40' perimeter to mean that voters can't wear buttons or Tshirts with their candidates' names on them? Election officials are being told to have jackets and trashbags on hand for those who come to the polls wearing tshirts that need to be covered up in order to comply with the rule. Well, that's a wonderful thing to task election officials with on a day when the polls are going to be jammed! And, what about that little thing called the First Amendment? Uh, doesn't it kinda trump state election laws? I've been told that election officials, if they choose, can eject voters refusing to remove their flair without allowing them to vote, and even arrest them (tho at least several jurisdictions are saying they will allow them to vote but take down their names). Several organizations say they will take this ruling to court, after the election. But you know, all it really would take, it seems to me, is a few courageous folk who insist on being able to vote without covering up, and are willing to be charged (uh, please, vote first, then open your jacket to reveal...). Will the law be enforced? Martinsville and Henry county prosecutors say they won't enforce this law by charging anyone; our local prosecutors say they will. But that's great--maybe they're doing it intentionally so someone will be charged and challenge the Constitutionality?

2) Democrats=Democracy. Hey, we're Democrats, people. Although, yes, that means some disorganization that can be frustrating, it doesn't mean hierarchical, top-down bullshit. Though I've heard a few people, frustrated with the Dems' lack of electoral success in the past few elections, express that what we need is our own Karl Rove, we really don't. (I must confess that even I voiced this thought a few years ago, but no--we must learn to win on our own terms, not by borrowing from our enemies' Machiavellian playbooks--after all, Machiavelli was a republican (well, but, to be fair, with a small r).

3) The poll numbers, or, will we win? Everyone keeps asking me this. Do I think we'll really win? Is it really possible? Could the polls be right? It's kind of heart-rending, the desperation behind the questions. I understand the fear, and the desperation, the pain of previously dashed hopes. Hey, I cried my eyes out for hours in 2004. It shows how damaging to our psyches the 2000 election debacle was, as well the subsequent 2004 loss (in the movies, the underdog always wins after the first defeat... what happened?). Well, we'll know for sure on Tuesday (I hope! please no Floridas or Ohios!). But, here are some thoughts about the accuracy of the polls--first, the massive numbers of newly-registered voters. Here in Virginia, at least, these are not just 18-yr-olds, or people newly moved in. These are people who have never bothered to register before. Polls don't count these people, because they have no voting history, thus they are not "likely voters" based on statistical probability. But, who are they? Many are those who have felt disenfranchised by the political process, so much so that they've never bothered to vote before, like this Albemarle county voter.

At this point, I'm afraid to be too excited about Virginia's chances... but I'm cautiously optimistic. I'm excited to be casting a vote in a presidential election in which, for the first time in my life, that vote will actually count. I think my faith in the American people is about to be vindicated... and that I'll be crying tears of joy this time.

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