Political Rants by Judy @ 5:10 PM

I have a cold again. What is this shit? So does #1 Son. At least we’re sick at the same time, instead of passing it back and forth like we usually do.

In other news, “terrorist chatter” is once again on the rise, we’re told. al-Qaida wants to attack the US, we’re told. They want to disrupt our elections, we’re told. We’re told these “facts” by the same people who said that Sadam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction; the same people who said that we would have terrorist attacks at Christmas, the Super Bowl, etc..; the same people who have raised and lowered the HS advisory terrorist warning level like a yoyo. (See the side blog for what it is today.)

Now DeForest B. Soaries, chairman of the new U.S. Election Assistance Commission, created by the Help America Vote Act of 2002, writes in a letter to Democrat and Republican leaders in The House and Senate, “There does not appear to be a clear process in place to suspend or reschedule voting during an election if there is a major terrorist attack.” He wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge that no Federal agency has the statutory authority to cancel or reschedule elections, and maybe it should be Homeland Security.

Has it occurred to Mr. Soaries that there might be a reason for this?

And now our “friends” at Homeland Security have sent an inquiry to the Justice Department on the same topic.

Since it is not prohibited by The Constitution, the States retain the right to move a local election if necessary. And our Presidential election is local in the sense that we do not actually vote for the President, but for an elector to represent us. The Constitution gives Congress the right to decide when the Electors meet to cast their ballots. It can be any time, as long as it’s the same day in every state. So it seems to me that any kind of “disruption,” which is likely to be fairly localized, is already covered by our existing system. And this power is held by officials duly elected by the populace, so they are a just a bit more concerned with keeping their noses clean than appointed officials are.

Why would we ever want to invest in any appointed official the ability to postpone or reschedule Federal elections? That sounds more like the act of a banana republic dictator than of a US President.

Oh… yeah… I get confused sometimes, too.

Some in the Bush Administration complain that a terrorist attack in Spain disrupted their elections. But from what I saw, what happened was that subsequent to a terrorist attack the ruling party lost power. This may have been an unexpected outcome, but it was hardly a “disrupted” election.

The Help America Vote Act was enacted to provide funds to states to update outmoded voting machines and to provide for some minimum requirements that states must meet during Federal elections. I’m sure that the intent was to prevent another fiasco like Florida 2000. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission is supposed to receive reports from the states and dole out the funds. I think it’s a stretch to include suggesting potentially unconstitutional legislation under the Commission’s bailiwick.

I am reminded of two quotes from our Founding Fathers, the first from Benjamin Franklin:

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither safety nor liberty.

And the second from Thomas Jefferson:

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.

Our election system may not be perfect, but for the most part it limps along fairly well. Let’s stop being scared and take back our country from the elected and appointed idiots that keep trying to take it away.

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