There are many famous quotes about voting; from my personal favorite:
“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”~ John Quincy Adams
“Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).”~ Ayn Rand
to two of the truest:
“If Voting Changed Anything, They’d Make It Illegal”~ Emma Goldman
“The people who cast the votes don’t decide an election, the people who count the votes do.”~ Joseph Stalin
But, what happens when those who count the votes, refuse to do so? That’s exactly what is happening in DC. The District of Columbia Board of Elections, along with many others, has refused to count write-in votes from the 2008 Presidential election. What sets DC apart from Alabama and Pennsylvania in this respect? DC, as opposed to Alabama and Pennsylvania, has official write-in declaration forms to be filed in order for one to be recognized as a write-in candidate. Yet, the DCBOE is refusing to count write-in votes stating in a brief, “Because tabulation of all write-in votes would need to be done by hand, the increased personal costs would be a substantial burden on the Board’s limited resources…Requiring the Board to tabulate all write-in results would cause a significant delay in the reporting of election results because all write-in votes need to be tabulated by hand.”
This is akin to the lame Congressional excuses for not reading bills before voting on them. But, I digress.
On a least two occasions, (to my knowledge, maybe more) my vote wasn’t counted because I dared vote for someone other than a ballot listed candidate, granted I’ve only voted in Alabama and Pennsylvania. I’ve also been told by friends that election poll workers have informed them that “write-in votes were not allowed”; possibly because the volunteers didn’t want to count them. I can not even begin to imagine the uproar from the “vote counters” if the same voting practices from the early to mid-1800’s were continued today; The voter would go to the polling place, identify themselves to the Elections Clerk and state their preference for each office. How about the voting method after the invention of the “secret ballot”? The law permitted the printing and distribution of ballots to the voters both by candidates and by political organizations. There was no government printed ballot in the United States of America until Massachusetts began using them in 1888.
Richard Winger of Ballot Access News reports, “The U.S. Supreme Court said in Dunn v Blumstein, 405 U.S. 330 (1972), “The right to vote cannot be abridged to save the state money or inconvenience.” In Tashjian v Republican Party of Connecticut, 479 U.S. 208 (1986), the Court said, “The cost of administering the election system is not a sufficient basis here for infringing appellees’ First Amendment rights.” And in Gray v Sanders, 372 U.S. 368, the Court said, “Every voter’s vote is entitled to be counted once. It must be correctly counted and reported”.”
In some places there are no third-party candidates to choose from and the voters are getting tired of having to choose between two Republicrats and the write-ins are a way of showing displeasure. “Vote counters” should stop complaining and do their job.