Thursday, October 23, 2008

I probably shouldn't ...

Though I'm hurtling down a path I shouldn't traverse, this rant by local favorite Winfield J. Abbe is astounding ...

Wouldn't it be nice if our Georgia lawmakers would change the voting law to read: "No person is elected and no ballot or tax increase is passed unless a majority of the registered voters approve." This would end the tyranny of the minority that has dominated most elections for decadesin Athens and Georgia. Most of the time a majority of the registered voters does not even show up at the polls, let alone "elect" a candidate or "approve" a multi million or billion dollar tax increase for more "SPLOST" money for government does it? Also, in voting, there are three outcomes: One may vote "yes" or "no" or abstain. The abstention is just as fundamental a right as the right to vote "yes" or "no" on a candidate or issue. But the present prejudiced and unfair voting law tosses every abstention out the window and only favors those voters who have made up their minds. This is obviously done for the convenience of running government and nothing more. This is minority rule most of the time. Even in judicial bodies, one person cannot show up and dominiate the business of a meeting can they? Why should therefore a tiny minority (plurality) that happens to show up at the polls then dominate a multi million dollar tax increase just because they happen to show up at the polls while a large majority remained undecided for whatever reason? This is the tyranny of the minority. America was founded because of unfair taxation without representation. Yet, after over 2 centuries, the "best" our lawmakers could do was create a most unfair and tyrannical system not unlike the very system objected to by our ancestors that resulted in the Boston Tea Party and a violent revolution with England. All our officials care about is the ease which which government can be operated, not basic fairness. They learned nothing from history. Normally, if enough registered voters abstain or have not made up their minds, this prevents business from being transacted. This would be true majority rule, not the shame "rule of the majority who happen to show up at the polls", or tiny plurality, argument and law.

I don't even understand how this argument could be constructed. First off, registered voters have every right to go the poll and cast their ballots, so it would seem rather heavy-handed to pass legislation that would restrict how our government works based on voter apathy. Of course, by all accounts - and, yes, by even in the very story Abbe comments on - this election figures to have unprecedented turnout levels, which sort of makes such criticism seem silly.

Secondly, we operate under a representative democracy where we elect people to represent us at all levels of government. They may not do a bang-up job all the time, but that's what we've got. On other occasions, we have community-wide referendums that deal with things like SPLOST. Of course, that again goes back to the first point which is that, following his logic, Abbe's concern should be with apathetic voters and not a tyrannical government.


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