Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘voting’

Not The Onion: Young people explain why they don’t vote

Posted by Richard on October 30, 2018

Like all generations, millenials are a pretty diverse group. When it comes to voting, some of them fill out their absentee ballot at a forward operating base in Kandahar province after a day of locating IEDs, fighting off Taliban rebels, or helping villagers rebuild a bombed-out school. Others (probably living in their parents’ basement) can’t bring themselves to vote because mailing things causes them anxiety.

IMHO, this is a good thing. If you can’t deal with the post office or you need someone to print the registration form for you and provide you with stamps, then I’d rather you didn’t vote. Heck, I’d rather you didn’t drive a car or operate machinery.

But it’s only a matter of time until Schumer, Pelosi, Ocasio-Cortez, et al, complain that not allowing people to vote via Snapchat is another example of Republican voter suppression.

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Which is harder, voting or buying a gun?

Posted by Richard on October 29, 2018

Ho hum. Another anti-gun leftist betrays his abysmal ignorance of gun laws. And of voting.

Executive Director for Build the Wave, Nate Lerner, wants to make it as hard to buy a gun as it is to vote.

Huh.

We are totally good with making it as hard to buy a gun as it is to vote.

Totally.

EL OH EL.

I suppose a case could be made for flipping his argument around.

Suppose the opposite side of Nate’s tweet could work as well, maybe we do need to make it harder for some people to vote. Oh, don’t worry, just the illegal people … and the dumb ones.

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Voting is easier than reporting on Holder speech

Posted by Richard on July 11, 2012

Eric Holder spoke at the NAACP convention in Houston yesterday, and he railed against voter ID laws:

Attorney General Eric Holder pledged to aggressively fight new voter-identification laws during a speech Tuesday to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which has argued the policies make it harder for minorities to vote.

The Obama administration is arguing before a panel of three federal judges in Washington, D.C., this week that Texas’s new voter law is too restrictive and, under its identification requirements, will make it hard or impossible for poor people to vote.

Hypocrisy alert: In order to get into the convention to report on the speech, members of the media had to present not just press credentials, but a “government-issued photo I.D. (such as a driver’s license).”

The Obama administration has been aggressively fighting any and all state efforts to clean up voter registration rolls or require voters to identify themselves at the polls, arguing that these are efforts to “disenfranchise” people. Yes, they are — they disenfranchise dead people, felons, and non-citizens.

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Walker wins!

Posted by Richard on June 5, 2012

Much earlier than I had expected (less than 2 hours after the polls closed), Fox News projected that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker had survived his recall election. NBC,  CBS, and CNN soon followed. This is a tremendous victory for the Tea Party movement and a crushing defeat for organized labor and the Socialist Democrats.

Apparently, according to Fox News, earlier projections that the vote would be incredibly close were based on exit polling, and when the vote totals started coming it, it soon became clear that there was a significant difference between the actual votes and what the exit polls predicted. In other words, either many of the people being exit-polled lied, or (much more likely) the exit polling didn’t question a representative sample.

I’m thrilled, but cautiously so. With 55% reporting, Walker leads 57-42. That’s bound to tighten as more of Madison and Milwaukee come in. So I just hope Walker’s margin of victory ends up being big enough to avoid a recount or challenge. Because you know if it’s close, challenger Tom Barrett and the unions will try to pull an Al Franken.

UPDATE: Here’s the biggest laugh of the night. David Axelrod looked at the Obama-Romney numbers from the Wisconsin exit polls and tweeted that “WI raises big questions for Mitt” — shortly before the actual vote totals completely discredited the exit polls.

Axelrod must have also fashioned the Obama campaign’s response. According to Politico, they’re claiming that a “strong message” was sent to Walker. As Joshua Sharf tweeted, these are the folks who said a “strong majority” passed Obamacare. “I don’t think that word means what you think it means.”

UPDATE 2: According to the AP, with 97% of precincts reporting, it’s Walker 53%, Barrett 46%. So Walker’s margin of victory tonight is greater than the 5% margin he had in 2010. Woohoo! Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch also beat the recall with 53%.

Oh, and as for the four Republican state senators facing recall — they all won, with 55-61% of the vote.

Does it get any better than this?

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Stimulating the dead

Posted by Richard on May 15, 2009

Some people in Chicago are upset because the government is mailing $250 stimulus checks to dead people — not the recently deceased, mind you, but people who died in the 1960s and 70s.

It doesn't sound all that unusual to me.  I mean, isn't this just another way for Democrats to reward their loyal voters? <rimshot />

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Ballotpedia says we may be number one

Posted by Richard on August 8, 2008

It looks like Colorado may lead the nation with the most initiatives and referenda on the ballot this fall. With the August 4 deadline for submitting petitions passed, we have 4 initiatives already certified for the ballot and 15 more that have turned in signatures. If all the pending ones are certified, the total of 19 will be the most since 1912. In addition, there are 4 measures referred to the citizens by the legislature. 

California, always a hotbed of ballot proposition activity and usually the leader, has 12 measures on the ballot, but no more pending.

I learned this at Ballotpedia, your one-stop source of information about ballot initiatives, petition drives, recall elections, ballot access, school bond elections, and related matters. Ballotpedia is sponsored by the Sam Adams Alliance. It features breaking ballot news, related legal news, state-by-state information on past, current, and future ballot issues, and a ton of other tools and resources related to "citizen-powered democracy." If you're at all a political junkie, you've got to bookmark Ballotpedia.

Ballotpedia is a wiki (in fact, it uses the same MediaWiki software that powers Wikipedia), so registered users can add or edit information. Got interesting info about a local ballot issue or related matter? Sign up and share it! See a goof or error you think should be corrected? Well, you can! (I'm going to resist my urge to compulsively fix typos, correct grammar, change punctuation, …)

You'll find all the Colorado news and information here. Or go here for links to all state portal pages. Thanks to the Sam Adams Alliance for sponsoring this great resource!

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Erin go bragh!

Posted by Richard on June 14, 2008

Before I forget, congratulations to the plucky citizens of Ireland for rejecting the Lisbon Treaty. This was the European Union's new attempt to concentrate power in the hands of the Eurocrats in Brussels.

Dutch and French voters rejected the similar EU constitution in 2005. This time, all the other EU member states agreed to bypass their citizens and let the legislators decide. But in Ireland, a referendum was required to approve the treaty.

Even though the Irish government and all the opposition parties backed the treaty, 53.4% of Irish voters rejected the idea of relinquishing their independence to a bunch of elitist technocrats — who would undoubtedly undermine Ireland's "economic miracle" (the consequence of adopting low-tax, low-regulation, pro-growth policies that are anathema to the Eurocrats).

Since the treaty had to be approved unanimously by all EU states, the Irish thumbs-down kills it. Of course, that was the situation in 2005, too. But the Eurocrats don't give up easily and don't let democratic elections stand in their way. The Lisbon Treaty was a repackaging of the rejected EU constitution; I suspect they'll be back in a couple of years with the same wine (or rather, vinegar) in a new bottle. Meanwhile, they'll try to figure out how to get rid of that pesky "will of the people" obstacle completely.

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GOP leadership vote now is wrong

Posted by Richard on November 15, 2006

About a bazillion bloggers, myself included, have expressed dissatisfaction with the current GOP congressional leadership and with its effort to hurry a vote so it can maintain its control of the House Republican Conference for the next Congress.

The vote is currently scheduled for this Friday, and a number of big hitters, including Hugh Hewitt and Captain Ed, have expressed displeasure with what Hugh called "the arrogance of a defeated leadership doing a bum’s rush" when what’s called for is reasoned debate, agreement on a set of "First Principles," and then the selection of leaders.

What I haven’t seen is a more fundamental criticism of this hurried vote. Regarding the Congressional leadership, the Dirksen Congressional Center says this (emphasis added):

At the beginning of each two-year congressional session, members of the House of Representatives and the Senate meet separately to organize and select their leaders. The Republicans call their internal party organization the "Conference" while Democrats call their party organization the "Caucus."

Both parties in each chamber hold organizational meetings where their members elect their own leadership, adopt internal rules for how their party will operate, and draft their version of the institutional rules for either the House or the Senate. These meetings are closed to the public and to the press.

Excuse me, Republican leaders, but this Friday is not the beginning of the congressional session. And unless I’m very confused, the members of the House Republican Conference who will vote this Friday are the current members. At least 29 of those voting (probably more, since 8 races are undecided and I think there are some retirements) won’t be members of the next Congress. What business do they have helping to elect the party’s leadership for the next Congress? Most of them are part of the reason that the next House Republican Conference will be in the minority!

This "hurry up and vote" business is a bunch of BS, and Republicans with any guts and integrity at all ought to stand up and say so.
 

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Almost finished counting

Posted by Richard on November 15, 2006

One week after the election, the Denver Election Commission is almost finished counting ballots. That means we may soon get official results for two state-wide races and a local referendum that have been up in the air.

The referendum is Mayor Hickenlooper’s "kiddie tax" to fund pre-school, about which columnist Peter Blake said, "you know they won’t finish counting until John Hickenlooper’s pre-school tax passes." It looks like Blake was right — it trailed after election day, it continued to trail all week, but lo and behold, as we approach the end of the count, it’s miraculously surged ahead by a thousand votes.

The statewide races are at-large Univ. of Colorado Regent and Secretary of State. Actually, the candidates for the latter didn’t wait for the official results — today, Democrat Ken Gordon conceded to Republican Mike Coffman, and the two pledged to work together to prevent future recurrences of this year’s voting fiascos, of which there were plenty. In Douglas County, the people who stuck it out didn’t finish voting until after midnight. In Denver, the wait was up to five hours because it took poll workers on laptops up to 20 minutes to connect to a central server and validate each voter.

Denver’s counting problems were largely the result of misprinted bar codes on 70,000 absentee ballots, requiring them to be sorted by hand. Pueblo reportedly also isn’t finished counting, but no one there offered an explanation. Denver had a host of other problems, including multiple ballot errors discovered before the election and the incorrect postage amount printed on absentee return envelopes. Then there were thousands of ballots that the Commission said "weren’t filled out right," so they’re being "copied" to new ballots to be scanned. Yeah, right…

Denver’s Clerk and Recorder, who is the appointed member of the three-person election commission, resigned today. He was supposed to be the "technology chief" to guide the two elected commissioners, but it turned out he’d padded his resume.

The ballot errors, bar code problems, and dysfunctional software are all courtesy of Sequoia Voting Systems. Nope, they’re not associated in any way with Diebold. They’re apparently closely connected to the government of Venezuela. That’s right, moonbat conspiracy theorists — if anyone screwed with Colorado’s elections, it was your commie hero, Chavez.
 

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Good election news

Posted by Richard on November 8, 2006

As regular reades no doubt could guess, I’m not exactly cheerful about spending the next two years hearing about Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Ways and Means Chair Charles Rangel, and Judiciary Chair John Conyers. And I’m disappointed by the departure of Rumsfeld. Nevertheless, I’m basically a "glass half-full" sort of guy, and I think there’s some good news related to yesterday’s elections.

One big bright spot: the property rights protection movement racked up an impressive string of victories. Ten of twelve ballot measures passed, and eight of them are constitutional amendments (one victory, Louisiana, was in September). Only California and Idaho defeated citizen initiatives dealing with eminent domain. They were thrilled yesterday at the Institute for Justice:

“Election Day usually reveals how polarized public opinion can be as campaigns focus on highly divisive issues.  Today, however, the vast majority of voters across the country all agreed that the fundamental right to property must be protected,” said Chip Mellor, president and general counsel of the Institute for Justice, which represented the homeowners in Kelo before the Supreme Court.  “Citizens around the nation agree that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo was wrong.  As we’re seeing tonight’s results, this issue cuts across party lines, state borders and socioeconomic levels.”

“The American people are furious their property rights are up for grabs to the highest bidder,” said senior attorney Scott Bullock, who argued the Kelo case for the Institute.  “They understand that the U.S. Supreme Court declared open season on everyone’s property and the resulting momentum for eminent domain reform shows no sign of slowing.  The significant margins in the votes today show just how wrong a narrow majority of the Supreme Court was.”

The margins were truly significant, typically three or four to one.

Here’s another bit of good news: Dennis Hastert won’t run for minority leader. I’ve made clear my low opinion of Hastert. I think he bears much of the blame for the Republican losses. Hastert helped create the "culture of corruption" by dismantling the 1994 ethics and accountability reforms. His lack of principles, inarticulateness, and focus on wielding the levers of power helped create the widespread distrust of the Republican Party.

If the Republicans really have been chastened and want to mend their ways, in January they’ll follow Human Events’ advice and elect Mike Pence minority leader. Furthermore, they should correct a mistake they made when DeLay departed and pick John Shadegg over Roy Blunt for the number two post, minority whip.

More good news came via Josh Poulson, who argued that the GOP lost because it "abandoned its libertarian wing," and cited a couple of interesting related items. One is this post at Economist.com about the growing clout of Libertarians:

GLUM Republicans might turn their attention to the Libertarian Party to vent their anger. Libertarians are a generally Republican-leaning constituency, but over the last few years, their discontent has grown plain. It isn’t just the war, which some libertarians supported, but the corruption and insider dealing, and particularly the massive expansion of spending. Mr Bush’s much-vaunted prescription drug benefit for seniors, they fume, has opened up another gaping hole in America’s fiscal situation, while the only issue that really seemed to energise congress was passing special laws to keep a brain-damaged woman on life support.

In two of the seats where control looks likely to switch, Missouri and Montana, the Libertarian party pulled more votes than the Democratic margin of victory. Considerably more, in Montana. If the Libertarian party hadn’t been on the ballot, and the three percent of voters who pulled the "Libertarian" lever had broken only moderately Republican, Mr Burns would now be in office.

The other item is Sen. Tom Coburn’s statement on the elections:

“The overriding theme of this election, however, is that voters are more interested in changing the culture in Washington than changing course in Washington, D.C. This election was not a rejection of conservative principles per se, but a rejection of corrupt, complacent and incompetent government.

“A recent CNN poll found that 54 percent of Americans believe government is doing too much while only 37 percent want government to do more. The results of this election reflect that … the Democrats who won or who ran competitive races sounded more like Ronald Reagan than Lyndon Johnson.

“This election does not show that voters have abandoned their belief in limited government; it shows that the Republican Party has abandoned them. In fact, these results represent the total failure of big government Republicanism.

“The Republican Party now has an opportunity to rediscover its identity as a party for limited government, free enterprise and individual responsibility. Most Americans still believe in these ideals, which reflect not merely the spirit of 1994 or the Reagan Revolution, but the vision of our founders. If Republicans present real ideas and solutions based on these principles we will do well in the future.

Read the whole thing. If you’re a discouraged limited-government type, libertarian or conservative, you’ll feel better — and you’ll be glad there are people like Tom Coburn in politics.
 

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Kinsley embarrassed by Democrat plan

Posted by Richard on November 7, 2006

Captain Ed pointed to a remarkable column by Michael Kinsley posted last night in Slate and appearing this morning in the Washington Post. Kinsley did what apparently alrmost no one in the country bothered to do: to get a sense of what a Pelosi-led House would be like, he read the 31-page "manifesto" issued by House Democrats in June, "A New Direction for America." His critique, coming from a bona fide liberal with no love for Republicans, is devastating.

Kinsley noted that the Pelosi plan is heavy on bromides, promises of tax credits, misleading nonsense like calling for an end to the "Disabled Veterans’ Tax," and lots of new spending, but it’s light on fiscal responsibility (emphasis added):

Honesty is not just therapeutic. Fiscal honesty is a practical necessity. "New Direction" quite rightly denounces the staggering fiscal irresponsibility of Republican leaders and duly promises "Pay As You Go" spending. But in the entire document there is not one explicit revenue-raiser to balance the many specific and enormous new spending programs and tax credits.

But Kinsley put a dagger in the Democrats’ heart — remember, this is an anti-war liberal — when he looked at their "New Direction" for Iraq (emphasis added):

… For national security in general, the Democrats’ plan is so according-to-type that you cringe with embarrassment: It’s mostly about new cash benefits for veterans. Regarding Iraq specifically, the Democrats’ plan has two parts. First, they want Iraqis to take on "primary responsibility for securing and governing their country." Then they want "responsible redeployment" (great euphemism) of American forces.

Older readers may recognize this formula. It’s Vietnamization — the Nixon-Kissinger plan for extracting us from a previous mistake. But Vietnamization was not a plan for victory. It was a plan for what was called "peace with honor" and is now known as "defeat."

Maybe "A New Direction for America" is just a campaign document — although it seems to have had no effect at all on the campaign. My fear is that the House Democrats might try to use it as a basis for governing.

Read the whole thing. Read Captain Ed’s comments. Then go vote.
 

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Maybe Rove is right

Posted by Richard on October 18, 2006

The polls all predict disaster for the Republicans, and everybody from the mainstream media to conservative commenters and bloggers seems to believe them. It’s a done deal. Glenn Reynolds even offered a much-discussed "pre-mortem" explaining all the reasons (and they’re good ones!) why voters are likely to punish the Republicans severely come November (see also Glenn’s follow-up).

Prognosticators are so certain of a crushing GOP defeat that the Washington Post seemed genuinely puzzled that this belief isn’t shared by the White House:

Amid widespread panic in the Republican establishment about the coming midterm elections, there are two people whose confidence about GOP prospects strikes even their closest allies as almost inexplicably upbeat: President Bush and his top political adviser, Karl Rove.

The question is whether this is a case of justified confidence — based on Bush’s and Rove’s electoral record and knowledge of the money, technology and other assets at their command — or of self-delusion. Even many Republicans suspect the latter.

Today in The Corner, Rich Lowry quoted a White House bulletin that suggested viewing all the recent polling data with skepticism (emphasis in The Corner):

A spate of recent polls paints a very gloomy electoral outlook for GOP candidates in next month’s elections. One reason for that, possibly, is a set of samples in recent polls that do not mirror the historical norm for party ID. A memo circulating among Republicans on the Hill, authored by GOP pollster David Winston, takes a look at the historical spread between Democrats and Republicans in House elections and polling over the last 14 years. According to Winston’s analysis, there is a material discrepancy between the party identification listed by people in exit polls (people who actually voted) between 1992 and 2004, and those used over the last few weeks.

Since 1992, the party ID differentials have ranged from +4% Democratic (1998) to +2% Republican (2002). Winston looked at the October polling samples from 8 different polling organizations. The smallest party ID differential was +5% Democratic by CBS/NYT. CNN didn’t provide party ID data. The other six ranged from +7% Democratic (Pew) to +11% Democratic (Newsweek).

Can you say "wishful thinking"? Or "attempting to create a self-fulfilling prophecy"? I wouldn’t bet against Karl Rove just yet.

My take? Glenn and other critics are absolutely correct regarding the failings, betrayals, malfeasance, and incompetence of far too many congressional Republicans. They richly deserve to be punished. But Rush is right when he says that they may deserve to lose, but we don’t deserve the higher taxes, slowing economy, increased federal spending, decreased national security, and other consequences that are sure to follow if Nancy Pelosi becomes Speaker of the House and Charles Rangel chairs the Ways and Means Committee.

Voters who are pro-free-market, limited-government conservatives or libertarians should exercise some discretion. If you’re looking at a House or Senate race that’s got an absolute shoe-in incumbent of either major party (and that’s most districts), by all means use your vote in a way that sends the best message — vote Libertarian, Constitution, write-in, or not at all (don’t add to a big-government liberal’s vote total for any reason — that sends entirely the wrong message).

But if you’re in a competitive district or state, don’t just blindly punish a less-than-ideal Republican or tell yourself that this particular Democrat’s pretty moderate, doesn’t support tax increases, etc. — helping to elect that Democrat, no matter how decent and harmless, helps to put Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and friends back in control. What do you suppose the consequences will be for taxes, spending, regulation, national security, judgeships, … ?
 

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Paper ballots

Posted by Richard on September 25, 2006

Bizzyblog noted that concern about electronic voting machines cuts across party lines, citing Maryland as the latest example:

The state’s governor and paper-ballot advocate is Republican Bob Ehrlich; the people who want to stick with the troubled e-voting systems, which had significant problems (link is to one blogger’s detailed in-person observations; HT Techdirt) in Maryland’s most recent primary, are Democrats.

Those who believe e-voting can still be used and trusted have to pretend that the Princeton IT study, which demonstrated that an easily installed virus can alter vote totals without being detected, and e-voting vendor Diebold’s incredibly weak response to it don’t exist. Oh, and besides that, you can get into the voting machine with a hotel mini-bar key.

This ought to disabuse anyone that the credibility and integrity, or lack thereof, of e-voting is a partisan issue, but it probably won’t.

Here in Colorado, a judge just ruled that the e-voting machines have serious security flaws, but we’re stuck with them anyway:

A Denver district judge ruled Friday that the secretary of state did an "abysmal" job of security testing on new computerized voting machines, but it’s too late to bar them from the Nov. 7 election.

Unable to be certain the machines’ software is safe from tampering that could distort the vote, Judge Lawrence Manzanares ordered the state to immediately devise detailed rules for counties to ensure that no one can get to the machines to reprogram them.

Plaintiffs showed malicious software could be installed with a screwdriver and a flash drive in as little as one minute on some machines, Manzanares noted.

He said the widely used voting machines, where voters cast ballots on a computer screen, "are certainly not perfect or immune from tampering." But he ruled that barring them roughly six weeks before the election, and four weeks before early voting, "could create more problems than it would solve."

Legitimate concerns about e-voting have been overshadowed by the moonbat left conspiracy theories — researching the political donations and affiliations of Diebold executives, repeating absurd, baseless claims about Ohio being stolen, and so forth. It’s good to see that reasonably sane people of varied political persuasions are making reasonable arguments against e-voting.

In Colorado, both the Republican and Democratic candidates for Secretary of State suggested using absentee ballots — paper — for in-person as well as absentee voting (the Libertarians aren’t running anyone for that office, and I can’t be bothered looking up the other parties). I thought that was a great idea, and I don’t understand the judge’s contention that it’s "too late" — I’m sure the printers getting ready to print absentee ballots would be happy to increase the print runs, and there’s plenty of time to do so.

Here’s how to make elections much more fraud-resistant:

  • Stop this trend toward giant voting-centers. Decentralize voting back to many small neighborhood precincts, each with only a few hundred registered voters. If necessary to staff them with sufficient poll workers and observers, pay an attractive fee. And/or arm-twist the political parties.
  • Require each voter to present a valid picture ID or be vouched for by two neighbors (living within a block) as to the voter’s name and address. The neighbors must be there in person and must sign a statement (with penalties for lying) before witnesses. And the neighbors must have previously established their identities in one of the same two ways.
  • Record all votes on paper ballots.
  • Immediately upon poll closing, have the poll workers count the votes at the precinct, with representatives of all parties free to observe. If there are only a couple or three hundred, they should be done about as quickly — maybe more quickly — than with today’s system.

Elections are an excellent example of a process that could benefit from application of the KISS principle — "Keep it simple, stupid!" Low-tech is the way to go.
 

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