I’m relieved Obama won the election so handily without needing Florida, which took a few more days to sort out its votes. I’m overjoyed the whole thing was settled so quickly on election night -- when I think few of us, on either side, would have been surprised by a long, drawn-out, screaming litigious slugfest post-election.
All the same, I am upset at the statements I’ve seen on some political sites talking down Florida as if it was some kind of third-world country and didn’t matter. I want to celebrate the voters there, the people who fought back against suppression, forced polls to re-open when they arbitrarily closed, stood in enormously long lines for hours, up to 9 hours for some people. Some of them were still standing in line to vote at 2 a.m. when the President gave his acceptance speech. These are people who insisted on their right to play their part in their democracy, and who realized the importance of their votes even if, as it happened, this particular time, the Presidential election didn’t turn on them. They are all heroes to me, every one of them, they deserve a Medal of Valor. Many people in Ohio had to deal with similar suppression too.
And they should never have to go through that again. Elections are a horrifying, undemocratic, untrustworthy mess in this country. State governors apparently are petty dictators who can arbitrarily set whatever voting rules they want, and in certain states, that means stop the Democrats at all costs. There should be at least a minimum national standard all the states have to live up to, in every precinct, regarding the times polls are open, the length of wait time for voting, the quality of the voting equipment, the training of poll workers, and the counting of votes, among other points. And of course there must be an untamperable, verifiable paper trail for all votes, and voting machine software cannot be proprietary. (What on earth kind of mentality would create a voting machine that can easily be tampered with, that can’t be inspected by the people it’s supposed to serve, and which has no voter-verified hard-copy paper trail? Gee... the honesty of a system like that is right out there on the surface, isn’t it.)
Yet with all the efforts at skewing the vote, Obama still won a second term and both the House and Senate added more Democratic seats. If it weren’t for the gerrymandering of districts, he might have had a Democratic majority House as well – there were more Democratic votes given in total in all the House races, but they still added up to a considerable majority of Republicans.
And they are not of any mind to listen to the will of the country, and will keep trying to stuff their reactionary agenda down all of our throats (to use an expression they’re so fond of applying to the rest of us).