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By Rev. Lainie Dowell
Our country is going to Hell in a hand basket. Every part of the lives of citizens has been severely impacted. Is there any wonder so many people are expressing how fed up they are with the ongoing degradation of societal morals, mores, traditions, and values pushing them closer to the brink?
Past, and now, current policies and regs continue to be imposed on us by elected, unelected, and unvetted power-hungry men and women crammed into the inner circles of this government's crumbling infrastructure. They are helping to complete the long-term, unAmerican agenda of Barack Hussein Obama and Michelle and their many partnerships, designed to utterly destroy our constitution and nation. Moreover, this present administration had been instrumental in leading the down hill spiral even before Obama's name became known nationally in 2004, when he spoke at the Democratic National Convention. Indeed, he's still playing his blame and shame game and it does not seem to matter to him that the evidence from his own mouth and actions refute his allegations.
Despite its seriousness the hard won right to vote which is the mechanism used to ensure the freedoms "We the people" have enjoyed for decades, has become the underground joke of the day. Each election season has brought a whole host of ravishers who delight to game the system in order to achieve an unfair political advantage even when it is not merited. What's more, too many years have gone by without there being a resolution or redress to this pernicious problem.
VOTER FREEZE OUT HAPPENED TO ME IN THE FREE STATE
During the September 14, 2010, Primary Election held in Maryland, aka "The Free State," I got a heavy dose of what I call "the voter freeze out," which has been experienced by people all across this land and beamed on TV throughout the nation, as showing people in confusion and disarray when, in fact, the actual problem emanated from among the polling place workers where they showed up to cast their vote. As a result of my experience, I conducted a mere two-hour online search and found there are viable answers available to resolve many of these questionable actions that are sure to take place at the various polls rather than making voters wait and to possibly create the stuff that lawsuits are made of.
I had eagerly awaited the 2010 primary election date. When I arrived at the polling place, I immediately handed the registration verifier my drivers license. I also had my sample ballot in my hands. The man took my license and proceeded to punch the screen in front of him. While I waited, he took about five minutes doing I don't know what. Finally (with my license still in his hand), he asked my address and I told him. He asked my date of birth and I told him. But, I was puzzled, because that information was on my license in his hand. Finally, he asked my political affiliation and I told him. Lastly, he printed out a slip of paper and told me to "sign here." I did, and he gave me a card ballot and pointed me in the direction of another person to go cast my ballot.
The woman met me halfway, took my slip of paper, had me keep the card ballot and pointed me to the voter machine, number ZERO. Oddly enough, I felt like a ZERO as I approached that machine to cast (what I thought was) my ballot, which I placed in the machine. Unfortunately, although I then noticed the first page on the screen did not say the same as my sample ballot, I assumed it would continue onto the next screen so I checked off the names and hit "continue." Instead of seeing the rest of my ballot, the machine displayed a political affiliation that was not mine and showed my vote had been cast. I knew something was wrong and I immediately alerted the woman poll worker and the man at the registration table, also. And I was escorted over to the poll judge's table, where I explained the problem.
During that exchange I learned that the man I had given my license to had mistakenly printed out my mother-in-law's ballot and given it to me and that was what I had signed without first examining it. After my father-in-law died almost 10 years ago, we moved my mother-in-law to live together in the same house. My mother-in-law does not have the same political affiliation as I (nor the political proclivity as I), and she had not planned to vote in that Primary at all. But the more I pointed out the error and tried to get this issue corrected, the more the poll workers told me I had already voted, that the machine had registered my vote, and that they couldn't get it out of the machine or discard it. Instead, they told me I shouldn't have cast the vote since it wasn't my ballot card. That time turned out to not be a pleasant episode at the polls.
I told the poll workers they had to correct the matter, because it was not my ballot or my vote and the count would not be right for the polling place. Then (while still at the polls), I spoke via phone to the local election board, the state election board, and to the poll judge. They all acknowledged the mistake had been made by the poll worker and that they had specifically warned them against the possibility of such an occurrence during the previous night's training session of poll workers. They all insisted I could not get my ballot and that I would have to now cast my vote via a paper ballot -- a provisional ballot. I rejected that response at every turn. I told them my ballot was still in the registration files, uncast, and all they had to do was to give me my ballot so I could vote.
After about an hour at the polls without benefit, I made certain they had all indicated in their reports that I had strongly objected to not being able to have my ballot since the error was not mine and I had done all I was supposed to do. I told them, further, that I felt disenfranchised, and would not vote in the Primary. I told them I did not want to vote a provisional ballot, because if a more viable answer came later, then they would not be able to accuse me of incorrectly following an incorrect procedure that I had called wrong as they had accused me of (unknowingly) casting that wrong ballot handed to me by the poll worker. I went home and went online and, in less than two hours, I discovered evidence that I had been right about my not voting with a paper (provisional) ballot and the poll workers and officials had given me incorrect information. They were not helpful at all. And I was without a voice in the election.
My not being able to vote in the Maryland Primary because of unchecked poll worker error is not pretty. It is not funny. It is not the American way. So, why haven't our constitutionally elected House of Representatives and the Senate (as the Legislative Branch), fought harder to ensure that the rule of law is not finagled with to suit anybody's personal tastes and ideologies but remains true to the intent and content of the United States Constitution? After all, Article I of the Constitution places that branch of government before the Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch.
Who Are Watching People Who Are Supposed to Watch Out For Us?
As I was working to resolve the poll situation about my ballot, a woman came in and told the poll judge she was an "evaluator," and she had a clipboard. The poll judge told her she had to wait. I asked if she was an evaluator and she said she was. Then when I said I wanted to speak with her, the poll judge and his (apparently) assistant, nixed that idea quick and wouldn't let me speak with her! I don't know her name or where she came from or where she went after she left my polling place.
How many times have we heard that our elected leaders and others act as if they are above the law? Our country has been turned upside down, and so many people have fallen through the cracks. Or should that be, by crack?, because somebody must be smoking something that's not a name brand. And, what about the citizens held captive in their falling down, blighted neighborhoods where elected leaders have literally stolen our taxpayer money they received to be expended toward shoring up their communities? Instead, cronyism and nepotism have led to nationwide corruption of monumental proportions from the top down while our local, state, and national leaders have closed themselves away from the dreaded sights that they have created. Yet, they remain in office? Based on what?! Voter Apathy? Complacency? Ignorance? No! It is state-operated disenfranchisement, and to whom do we complain?
I'm also not that thrilled about how the Howard County GOP office responded, when I called to report what had happened at the poll in my district and precinct. It sounded as if the woman who answered the phone was consulting an attorney while I was on the other end of the line. They, also, had insisted my only recourse was to fill out a paper (provisional) ballot. And when I said I would not vote in the Primary, it didn't help to have the impression of an attitude coming through the telephone which may as well have been, "So what! After all, what's one vote?!" Well, with my online research I also discovered that one source reports that "over one million votes have been lost due to poll worker error." I am suspect of that study and the recommendations to specifically get young college students to volunteer to be poll workers. The language (to me) mirrors what we know of the Obama ACORN poll watcher trainees and that is not going to help lift declining confidence in how government is conducting their business (or not) these days.
Instead of their introducing so many "creative" ways for people to vote, this nation had better get the voter process straightened out first. We have people coming out of the woodwork who have identified so many flaws in the system that can aid them to squeak through with their agendas to overturn this nation. How do you suppose Obama was able to lead the way and show them how to get over with his Saul Alinsky methodology? Americans had better pay attention and call government employees to accountability. There must be no more free rides for any of them to remain comfortably in their seats of responsibility without carrying out their responsibilities in a responsible way. We need to continue to hold them accountable, ask questions, expect viable answers, and live free from fear of our government and forces from without and within.
In Howard County, Maryland, we pay too much money to live here and we get too little to no services or support from our local and state government. And as for our United States congresspersons and Senators, too, you can forget about it unless you know prominent Clergy or business people who can help those officials and cover for them. It's time to draw all of their do-nothing days and do-nothing ways to a close! We are losing respect for them faster with each passing day and we are demonstrating that we are getting tired of trying to protect their persona by keeping (relatively) quiet about their lack of paying attention to their constituent needs on the domestic side. So, before they take up Obama's global, one-world lifestyle, they need to look inward and turn back to promoting what has made America great! God. Family. Country. Patriotism.
What's more, there are too many reporters hiding throughout the monopolistic news media who refuse to even answer their phone calls unless they can be assured the callers will show the kinds of dregs of society which will draw high ratings and readership or viewership for their bureaus. Then they will milk the matter dry before they drop the callers from off their radar screen and leave them cold and without any resolution to their problem. They need to use every resource available to them on their job to investigate toward cleaning up the outrageous lack of accountability of "the government of the people, by the people, and for the people."
Special thanks to K. Woodhouse, reporter. Read the account in the Columbia Flier, (9/14/10). She reported what happened to me at the polls during the September 14, 2010, Primary. The Article is entitled, "Election Update: Mother-in-law Issues at Ballot Box"
Direct url: www.explorehoward.com/news/74810/mother-in-law-issues-ballot-box/
Provisional Ballot Policy Links Which Can Help Other Voters
Election Assistance Commission, U.S., -- Provisional Voting
Howard County Board of Election (MD)
Election Protection Election 101 -- Provisional Balloting (see No. 12)
Maryland Atty General Website Election Info -- Provisional Voting (MD)
Maryland State Board of Elections - Minutes, April 29, 2010.