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Thursday, November 04, 2004

Boss Hoggs For Bush

During the runup to the election, many Canadians asked me why the voting process seems to be so complicated in the United States. Like most other democratic nations, Canada has a uniform voting procedure throughout the country, whereas the polling process in America is a mixed bag. The following graphic from the Christian Science Monitor indicates the mosaic of voting procedures in the U.S.:

Why isn't there a national procedure in the U.S.? The answer is elusive, but part of the problem can be traced back to the Jim Crow laws in the American south. On any number of issues stretching back to the time of slavery, the issue has been framed as "State Control vs. Federal Control". Conservatives tend to be suspicious of any attempt to federalize matters originally conducted at the state level. When white southern politicans start talking about "State's Rights", African-Americans start to get worried. Republicans have traditionally thought of the federal government as "Big Brother" (at least when Democrats are in office--remember Ruby Ridge and Waco), while Democrats view local control as being synonymous with turning the government over to thousands of local "Boss Hoggs".

On the issue of elections, standardized federal election procedures would make it far less likely that minorities could be disenfranchised, which is exactly what has happened yet again in this election. There are currently hundreds of lawsuits alleging vote theft. I don't believe Americans elected Bush, I believe Boss Hogg won.

Consider the map above again. Is it merely a coincidence that many of the diebold electronic voting machines without a paper trail are used in states that were won by the president?

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