Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Just how fucked up is America?

Well, The US presidential election is here again, and this time round the bruh-ha-ha will be in Ohio. But in reading some of the coverage on various sites, I've encountered something I find deeply offensive. It's a practise that seems to have no purpose but to try and ensure that those likely to vote for the opponent can't vote.

Apparently in some states the parties are allowed to have challengers at election sites. The role of these challengers seems to be to convince those running the election sites that certain people are ineligable to vote. Just what the fuck is going on with that? Having grown up in a country with mandatory voting I'm offended by this. I feel that it is morally wrong to have people standing by with the intention of claiming that people aren't entitled to vote.

The people doing this aren't neutral, uninvolved parties. If there were some restrictions on who could vote, such as people with volkswagons couldn't vote, and this were enforced by neutral parties, I could perhaps accept this. But the people doing this are members of the two big parties, and just what are they meant to be doing anyway? Do they tell the people running the polling booth that someone who looks like that already voted somewhere else today? How can they honestly expect to make a reasonable claim that someone shouldn't vote.

And that's another thing about American elections. They're not run by neutral parties. They're run by the parties, depending on whose in charge in each state. And that's why you get shit like what happened in Florida last time going on where the person in charge of announcing the official result was the person who ran Bush's campaign in Florida. Surely I don't have to point out that in no sane, rational society that should be acceptable.

Now, I acknowledge that no system of electing a government is going to be perfect, the more I see crazy stuff like this, the more I like the way the Australian system works. Firstly, elections are held on a Saturday, so everyone should be able to get to a polling booth to vote, which is just as well, cause we get fined if we don't. None of this "don't blame me, I didn't vote" bullshit, you had your say and if more people disagree than agree with you, well that's democracy for you. And then theres the ballots. A nice column of boxes, with the candidates neatly aligned so that one can easily and without doubt tell which box is for which candidate. You number the boxes one through to the number of candidates, with the one going to your prefered candidate. No computers, no punchcards, no hanging chads, just paper and pencil. And we manage to get most of the counting done by midnight the day of the election. Counting is done by scrutineers, who while being designated by the parties, everyone on a ballot can appoint a scrutineer, and it's a lot harder to get up to shenanigans with ballots when the enemy is sitting next to you watching. I may not agree with who got voted in, but the system seems better than most.

And now it appears that Howard with his majority in the senate may be planning to mess it up, just so he can keep going. Fuck he's a retard. Just what the fuck does it take to have an electorate turn against you. Last election he rustled up a scare campaign based on outright lies. Snce then he's gotten us involved in a war the most of us didn't support, agreed to a free trade agreement that mainly consists of Australia bending over to be fucked by America, lies to the people on many occasions, and then has the gall to run a campaign based on trust.

At the moment, the fate of the American presidency lies in Ohio, which currently is too close to call. The BBC puts Bush ahead by 150000 votes, as does CNN. FOX has decided that that is enough to give it to old George, but I think I'm going to go with the foreigners with this one. All we can do now is wait.

Well this went on a bit more than I thought it would. I really just wanted to express outrage at the concept of challengers at the polling booths. By god, just who do they think they are? If someone stopped me outside the polling booth and tried to tell me I couldn't vote, just cause they didn't like the look of me, there would be shit to pay. I'd probably have an assault charge against me, but I'd have voted by the time the cops arrived. Even after all this ranting, I want to find someone to bitchslap. Home of democracy, land of the free. What a fucking joke.

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