I got my absentee ballot, and I’m ready to vote! November 8 is right around the corner and–thank God!–this election cycle will soon be over.
I say this with a mixture of relief and regret. Relief, because this has been nasty, truly bringing out the worst in many of us. And yet, at the same time, I think we’ve also seen the best in some people, some strange political bedfellows that might be working to change the system, or at least raise serious questions about it that might lead to change.
What do I mean? Well, for starters, if you’re an American reading this, and even if you’re not, you’ve probably heard much hand-wringing from both presidential candidates about rigged voting. One has whined more than the other, but they’ve both gotten into the game.
(And yes, I know that there are technically four presidential candidates, maybe five in some states. But only two of them have a realistic chance.)
Before we all start pig-piling on political whiners, let’s make something clear: VOTER FRAUD IS AN INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT ISSUE THAT SHOULD BE TALKED ABOUT.
I’m not hear to talk about politics though. I’m hear to talk about voting as a concept in a system that has a high probability of being rigged.
Let’s assume arguendo that the system is rigged. Would you still vote?
I would, for four very important reasons:
- Voting is a really good habit to get into;
- Voting is one of the few really powerful rights that we still do have;
- If you vote and the election is rigged, you have a powerfully legitimate grievance that needs to be addressed; and
- Screw the man.
In a republic with democratically elected representatives with a winner-take-all election system, like we have here in the United States, those who show up, win.
Let’s talk about rigging for a second. It’s incredibly naive to think that American politics aren’t rigged. Voter fraud is an American tradition going back at least 100 years. Dead people vote, illegal aliens and other non-citizens vote, some people–dead or otherwise–vote twice (or more), there is voter intimidation, voter suppression, and all other kinds of nasty stuff going on.
In other words, the chances that your vote is negated by some form of fraud is incredibly high.
This is why turnout is even more important than the conventional wisdom would have you believe.
And I’m not just being cynical here, either (remember, I’m an optimistic cynic). Elections are like sports in a way. If I may borrow from Scott Adams here, this is how I’m nearly one-hundred percent certain that elections are rigged in some way, shape, or form:
- The stakes and potential gains for rigging an election are astronomically high
- There are several ways to rig an election
- The chances of getting caught rigging an election are relatively low
You see the sports analogy now? In sports, you can be sure things are rigged because there’s too much money, there are too many ways to influence a game, and the ways to influence a game don’t seem that shady. The referee maybe just made a bad call, or one that could be open to interpretation . . . maybe that 95% free-throw shooter just had an off night . . . maybe that boxer with the iron jaw got hit in just the right place . . . you see what I mean? Now extrapolate to politics.
“Alex, this is depressing!” you say. “Why bother then if it’s all a sham?”
Like I said, voting is one of the rights that haven’t been stripped from us yet. And the best way to make sure it never is is to keep voting.
To negate any fraud, you have to show up and vote in droves.
And I am, for one, incredibly glad that a certain loudmouthed robber baron with bad hair and a strange complexion has forced this issue into the national conversation because, as much as you might loathe the guy or find talking about voter fraud distasteful, we’re about one-hundred years overdue for this conversation.
And anyway, it’s always best to go down fighting.
So I have a simple solution to voter fraud, really. Want to hear it? Here goes:
Don’t make voter ID laws mandatory (because that’s racist, or something, according to idiots). BUT, if you do have an ID and can prove that you are:
- A citizen of these United States,
- Actually who you purport to be, and
- Registered to vote,
your vote should count two, five, or even ten more times than somebody who is unwilling or unable to prove these four things.
Simple. Elegant. Effective. Where’s my Nobel Prize?
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