Over the last few weeks, the New York Times suddenly began running a series of stories about the horrible long waits faced by voters at the polls. Radio host Rush Limbaugh very accurately predicted that the reason this issue was suddenly being pushed onto the national radar screen – months after the last election, years before the next one – was because Obama decided he wanted to hammer it at the State of the Union address. He speculated this was all, in part, a ploy to influence the Supreme Court in upcoming rulings on the Voting Rights Act. How could the Act be compromised by the high court, if people of color are still having so much trouble voting?
You might be wondering why people who don’t want to stand in line to vote don’t simply take advantage of the generous absentee ballot provisions made by just about every district in the land. This most definitely includes the region of Florida that President Obama complained about in his State of the Union address. The answer is shut up shut up shut up.
Personally, I never use absentee ballots because (1) given my current line of work, I want to hang out in line and chat with my fellow voters, and (2) even before I became a political writer, I just had this old-fashioned notion that voting is something you’re supposed to go and do, and it should involve a certain degree of effort. I’m not really all that crazy about early voting, because it’s hard to maintain ballot integrity as the voting window expands, but it’s all over the place now. Voting is almost absurdly more convenient than it used to be.
Which is not to say that some areas didn’t have problems, but these are local issues, and everyone in the affected localities is well aware of them. Turning it into a national crusade with presidential muscle behind it is rather fishy. What does Obama want, some kind of bipartisan federal commission to recommend “best practices” to the states?
As a matter of fact, we already have one of those. It’s called the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. It’s been around since 2002. But as election watchdog Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation notes, it’s essentially a “non-functioning agency” at the moment.
Because Barack Obama never appointed anyone to fill the seats.
“Obama???s commission may just be a stalking horse to implement liberals??? latest partisan fantasies of automatic and election day voter registration – so-called reforms that will stifle real improvements and endanger the integrity of our elections,” von Spakovsy theorizes. That’s as good an explanation as any. After all, Obama’s Justice Department has resolutely done battle with any state measure that would improve the efficiency and effectiveness of proper voter identification.