Friday, February 12, 2016

"By the way we have to fix that"

"By the way we have to fix that"


I guess President Obama's victory was the headline coming out of yesterday (barely beating out this story) but the most interesting comment was this off-hand remark by the current and future leader of the free world:

As he spoke in Chicago, he thanked everyone who cast a ballot "whether you voted for the first time, or waited in line for a very long time" -- then he quickly added, in an evident ad lib, "by the way we have to fix that."

By "that," the president was referring to long lines, confusion over early voting and other issues, thousands of voters who should have been on the books but weren't (full disclosure: including my 18-year-old son casting his first ballot, although he was able to vote eventually), and a slew of recent laws aimed at making it harder for people to vote instead of easier. The resulting chaos made a mockery of American exceptionalism, unless "exceptionalism" is now synonymous with "what you might find in a faraway banana republic."

Now, three things about the president's comment:

1) "By the way", you've been president for the last almost four years -- this is just occurring to you now? Amazing. It's almost like that Ragu commercial..."I wonder what other bad decisions I've made.."

2) If he's serious, Step 1 is to roll back all the voter suppression laws -- like Pennsylvania's outrageous voter ID measure -- that have passed in the last couple of years.

3) More importantly, I hope America can think outside the box for real solutions to encourage as close to universal voting as we can get. That means things like day-of-voting registration, early voting in every state (including, gasp, Pennsylvania), and moving the final Election Day from Tuesday to Saturday. I heard on the radio yesterday that Tuesday elections were to coordinate with farmers' trips to market. I don't think we'd be crushing too many succotash growers by moving the vote to the weekend.

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Will Bunch
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