Thursday, October 21, 2004


Isn't it kind of weird that progressives fully expect the upcoming election to be tied up in the courts for some period of time after the election? I mean, we don't think it's a possibility - we expect it.

Not only do we expect court challenges (both campaigns already have legal teams on the ground in key states), we anticipate and expect voter disenfranchisement efforts by the GOP.

One thing that's struck me about this election cycle, and maybe I just never paid attention before, but the efforts that state and local governments will go through to bar people from voting, as opposed to doing everything possible to enable this democratic right, is nothing short of amazing. I'll give you an example.

A news report this morning on out of state college-aged voters from Pennsylvania caught my attention. Many university students who attend college outside of Pennsylvania receive grants from PHEAA, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. Yesterday, it came to light that if a student registers to vote in the state where they're going to school, they risk losing the Pa. state education grant.

Rather than encouraging the students to get involved and exercise their rights in whatever manner possible, again, the state throws up a roadblock to participation. Admittedly, it's not a real high roadblock - Pa. students can still be registered to vote in Pa. But if they're out of state, that then entails the addition burden of requesting absentee ballots, meeting deadlines, etc. etc.

The point is, I'm sure there are literally thousands of "gotcha" type of laws and regulations on the book just like the one from Pa. that are designed to suppress the vote. It's not a GOP-exclusive tactic. Politics is much more predictable and less subject to volatility when less people are enabled to vote. And that's the way that politicians of both major parties like it.

Just one more post-Nov. 2 reform to add to the list of things that need to be pursued...yikes, the list is growing very long...