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Friday, January 18, 2008

Disenfranchisement in Nevada

Much is being made of the scheduling of Nevada's presidential caucuses on a Saturday, which affects observant Jews as well as Seventh Day Adventists. I can't begin to imagine a scheduling conflict like this ever occurring in a state with a sizable population of observant Jewish voters such as New York or Florida, in contrast to the state of Nevada, whose numbers of observant Jews is relatively tiny - and if it did happen in one of those states, I'm quite sure the Orthodox groups would have sued or initiated some action over being flat-out precluded from voting. The real problem here is that the caucus system of voting, in contrast to the primary system most states utilize, precludes any voting not done in person at the designated time. So whereas Sabbath-observant voters in states with Saturday primaries can either vote by absentee ballot or get to the polls after sundown, in Nevada Sabbath-observant voters are completely disenfranchised. Certainly an upsetting development for those who actually prefer to have their voice heard as citizens.

There seem to be some other complaints about the Saturday choice for the caucuses, from casino workers who quite obviously need to be at work during the entertainment industry's peak weekend shifts. This concern led to the establishment of special voting stations to accommodate casino workers and allow them to vote. This in turn drew calls from Clinton supporters that these special voting stations unfairly favored Obama as he had been endorsed by the influential culinary workers union, many of whose members work in casinos. A lawsuit to put an end to the voting stations was filed (and lost). Interestingly, the group who mounted the failed challenge to the special voting stations is comprised of members who are least disenfranchised by the Saturday caucus - a teachers' union who generally have weekends free and clear. Obama and some of his supporters, in turn, are criticizing the Clinton camp for attempting to effectively disenfranchise voters with this legal challenge - a challenge that would seem to have had far more potential to affect the vote than the Orthodox/Seventh Day Adventist issue will have.

Sounds like a lot if controversy over voters' rights in Nevada - not a pretty way to start off what looks like it promises to be a contentious election season.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was debating with myself last night whether or not to delete you from my favorites. You narrowly won a reprieve.

Congratulations on returning, but I must warn you if you try to skip out again for an extended time (and leave us to that disgusting meshumid) it will be curtains when we next leave the voting booth on the issue.

11:59 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Ah, real life. How DARE it intrude on my blogging...

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Three posts in two months? Further, why no mention of anything Five Towns since the lawsuit? You did win, didn’t you?

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Win what? You lost the busing appeal.

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that you have to ask about "winning" in the 5 towns is pathetic. It is a town for all people of all races and religions. We aren't talking about the West bank here. Its not about trying to control territory. Its that winning/losing mentality that makes you people pathetic.

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least it is not a general election in Nevada. THAT would be a legal problem. As for a caucus, I'd let it slide. The BIG one that counts is the general election.

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Its not about trying to control territory"

I don't mean to correct you, but in this town, with the Orthodox population, it is exactly about trying to control a territory.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

What's most interesting about that Clinton lawsuit is the basis: That it would unfairly help Obama by ALLOWING people to vote more easily. It's a strange argument, if you think about it: We don't want to change the rules, because currently they restrict a certain group from voting, and easing those restrictions would hurt us. While obviously they're only approaching it from a selfish point of view, what's the argument exactly? They're trying to put forward an argument that's completely anti-democratic.

The more typical ID requirement fight at least has some kind of validity on both sides - not forcing ID allows for fraud, forcing ID some people claim discourages citizens from voting. This one is so weak, it's no surprise they lost.

1:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well..they aint going to control shit!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it wouldn't be a problem in a primary state because people can vote absentee. in a caucus state you must be present to vote-- so if you are working late, can't leave the kids alone, are going to be out of town... too bad.

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I'm glad that we have an extensive Early Voting program here in Illinois. I've already taken advantage of it in order to support the intrepid candidacy of Ron Paul. He is fighting to restore the constitutional values of our Republic. I urge you to do the same!

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Ron Paul really DOES have trolls everywhere! Wow, they weren't kidding over at Orcinus.

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