Friday, October 22, 2004

Sometimes the conspiracy is real
This election is going to be a mess. Just get used to the idea. We've all done our best to categorize the mess. Attempts to suppress registration. Late mailing of absentee ballots. Dirty tricks involving the date and location of voting. Attempts to disenfranchise minority voters. Impossible to meet standards for registration, absentee voting, and provisional voting. Democratic candidates left off the ballot. And so on. And so on. Some of this is even happening outside Florida.* If you're not a conspiracy nut by now, you're not paying attention.

I can't prove that the chaos is being intentionally stirred up for the sole purpose of creating openings for lawsuits. I suspect some, at least, is. But I can guarantee that opportunities for lawsuits will be ruthlessly exploited by Karl and the RNC (despite the sound, that is not the name of a beloved Philadelphia doo wop group). Wednesday morning after the election, they will be holding press conferences in front of half the state capitals in the country to cry foul and sue their way into office.

Bush's appointment to office in 2000 has essentially guaranteed that recount demands and lawsuits will become a permanent feature of our elections. That one decision did more to undermine confidence in our system than any dirty tricks, scandals, or decade of declining reporting standards combined. Confidence in the system is a necessary requirement for the survival of any democracy. So, is the democracy doomed? Not yet. But if it is to survive, people of good faith in both parties will need to make some changes in how we do things. It is time for the federal government to establish some procedures and standards of openness for the welter of states and municipalities that actually conduct our elections.

However, that can't happen until after the election. In the meantime all we can do is work to give Kerry a Florida-proof majority.

* Jeb, we're not laughing with you; we're laughing at you.

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