What is Disenfranchisement?

I found this atrocious disenfranchisement scenario on BlogforAmerica.com:

Imagine arriving at your polling place on November 2nd to find a long line snaking out of the local middle school. It’s your lunch hour and you may not be able to make it back to the office in time, but voting is important—it’s your civic duty—so you wait.

Forty-five minutes later, a polling station opens up. You race over and cast your ballot, hoping to grab a burger on the way back to work. You feel triumphant—you have cast your vote for what you feel is right.

Guess what? You may have just wasted your time and lost your voice in this democracy. In your haste, you stood in the wrong corner of the middle school gym to cast your ballot. You voted with district twelve, two blocks away from your own district, and the Republicans would like to throw out your vote.

This scenario is happening in Westchester County right now. The race for New York State Senate between Senator Nicholas Spano and his Democratic challenger, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, is so close that Republicans are looking for any way to widen their 102-vote lead. They seek to throw out otherwise-legitimate ballots that were accidentally cast in the wrong district, focusing on Democratic voters who made minor errors. With 1,000 votes yet to be tallied, this action also serves to stall the final count until after the new year.

If you were that voter, accidentally standing in the wrong line, would you prefer that election officials toss out your technically-incorrect ballot or focus on uncovering and correcting intentional voter fraud? Is the current Election Day system so flawed that it needs to be reformed from our gymnasiums up?

[Via Blog for America]

Now, I’ll accept that having multiple districts voting in the same building can be confusing. During the last election, my polling place had two districts in the same auditorium. Yeah, I had to ask the officials to clarify where I should stand. However, I can’t say that this confusion is the same as disenfranchisement.

Are you saying that that Republicans follow orders better than Democrats? (No Nazi jokes here please) Are your voters so stupid and timid that they can’t deduce where to go to vote? This smacks of the same intelligence that said that Florida voters are so stupid as to not be able to process simple geometry.

But even if you answer those questions with an affirmative, why on Earth should these votes be counted in the first place. Consider it a simple civics test. Can you figure out what line to stand in? If so you can vote. If you can’t figure out this simple concept then you probably don’t have enough innate intelligence to make a rational voting decision in the first place.

Ballot stuffing is disenfranchisement. Armed intimidation of voters is disenfranchisement. Assuming the simple intelligence of the voter is not. To bandy about the term disenfranchisement in such a loose manner is to reduce the word to absurdity.

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