Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Inflammatory Ignorance: Shouting 'Disenfranchised' in a Crowded Polling Place

I ran across a disturbing post at the 'Uncommon Courage' blog entitled 'The Disenfranchised Voters in Grandview (Missouri).'

What I found disturbing was the blog owner states she's an attorney, yet the sophomoric level of 'awareness' concerning our local election laws, ballots,  and the boards which administer them didn't strike me as observations from a post-graduate, let alone someone who passed the Missouri Bar.

But most troubling was her inflammatory ignorance about the word disenfranchised.

For example:
"I experienced wonderful moments watching citizens proudly vote. I also watched heartbreaking disappointment when citizens of Jackson County were being disenfranchised by stupid rules."
 Or this gem:
"I observed that most of these disenfranchised voters were African American. They voted last time and no one told them that there were crazy rules they had to follow."
Dang rules. Sign me up for anarchy.

The post's author was 'distressed' that there are 2 entities in the county of Jackson which manage elections:
" Residents of Jackson County don't know that need to re-register if they move between Kansas City and other parts of Jackson County. "
My response, as posted on her website: 

An interesting article and thank you for participating in this election.

I, too, worked the polls, but as an election judge, and have done so for the previous 4 years. As such, if you'll permit, I must point out a few flaws in your observations:

1) Your title. 'Disenfranchised' is used improperly. The definition of that word includes official efforts to exclude individuals from participating in a duty or event via extraordinary or illegal means. No such official effort was made to 'disenfranchise' anyone.

2) Your term 'stupid rules.' These rules exist for a reason. The primary reason being an orderly and fair election. It is incumbent upon the citizen to participate on the most basic level, which includes registering to vote and notifying the appropriate board of any change in address. If citizens do not properly register or update their records with the appropriate election board, that board cannot read their mind, or in good conscience, allow whomever to simply stroll up to any voting booth, in any precinct, and cast a ballot.

3) The Kansas City Election Board VS the Jackson County Election Board.

The State govt. established the two entities. Why? Because an election in KCMO will not have the exact same candidates or issues on its ballot as one in Raytown or Grain Valley or Independence. The ballots are different just as the voter rolls are different.

But there's further distinctions called precincts, even within the same city or town. You MUST live in the precinct where you vote. This is why it is incumbent upon each citizen to update their records with KCEB or JCEB. Improper registration or an attempt to vote at the wrong poll is not 'disenfranchisement.' It is poor planning upon the citizen who desires to vote on election day.

I hope this helps.

Honestly, I do.

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