FILE PHOTO Tony Farkas
By Tony Farkas
I remember with pride the first time I was able to vote.
Like most first-timers, I was pretty scared going into the booth, as back then, it was the old-timey lever models that looked like a mad scientist’s workstation. (Although it wasn’t too awful long before they were replaced by fill-in-the-blank style cards.)
It wasn’t so much that I was powerful, but that I was actually participating in a process that truly made our country unique. I wasn’t too naïve to believe that my one vote made all that much difference, but I did believe that mine, along with a whole lot of others, sent a message to our officials.
There actually wasn’t any resemblance to “Swing Vote,” a silly little movie starring Kevin Costner. (I’m fond of this movie it because it was set in a town that was 8 miles from where I lived — Texico, N.M.)
In that movie, the future of the presidency came down to one vote needing to be recast, and the hilarity that ensues when the press, the candidates and the world turns its attention to this sleepy little border town.
While dumb in the extreme, and incredibly implausible, it did serve to highlight the importance of voting.
Our republic was founded on a principle: of the people, by the people, for the people. We get that from the ballots we cast. Somewhere along the way, though, our officials, particularly at the federal level (as well as plenty of states), have determined that we are governed by consent, not ruled by edict, fiat, or executive order.
That’s what the vote protects, and serves, and now, it’s coming under fire — wrapped up in the guise of making elections safe and fair and wholesome and puppies and such.
H.R. 1, which has been passed by the House and is being considered in the Senate, and is monumentally misnamed the For the People Act, is supposed to correct voting irregularities and make things uniform across the country.
Instead, it will for all intents and purposes give the federal government control of what is enshrined in the constitution as something that belongs to the states. This is accomplished by oversight committees, and require states to comply with regulations designed to allow more people to vote.
Certain things, like not requiring signatures, same-day voter registration, internet registration, curbside voting, and other ridiculous ideas will be required. Given the federal government’s history, once it gets its claws into something, it never lets it go. Ever.
And since the government thinks that it is entitled to all the money, it also thinks that money is a club, and so states will lose funding for things because the government will hold up payments unless its edicts are followed.
This has happened with just about everything; the one that sticks out in my mind is during the Clinton administration. States had to adopt a .08 BAC presumption of intoxication or risk losing highway construction funds.
These are our rights , and this is our money, and our government threatens them regularly and with gusto, and it is done under the guise of doing what’s right (or, if you prefer, what’s best for us).
Whether there was any immediate and glaring proof of election fraud or inequality, there was enough credible, albeit anecdotal, evidence that a full-scale investigation should have been done. Only now is one of many states reporting irregularities conducting an audit — Arizona — which is facing stiff opposition by the feds to leave things be.
By extension, if that turns out to be the case, then it is imperative that signatures and ID be required during elections, since, as Scotty says, the more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain (meaning, technology is easy to tamper with.)
The upshot is, the government needs to follow, not lead, and not try to rig the game in its favor, and there’s only one way to correct the ship.