To differentiate, to make a distinction
Before I get started in what I hope will be a fine diatribe, let me say that I hold nothing against people who don’t vote, pretty much no matter what the reason. I have thought about it long and hard and I don’t blame you. However, I am not among you. Over the course of my life, the two birthdays I looked forward to the most were when I would turn 21 (the day I could drink legally) and when I would turn 18 (and could vote). Since then, I have never missed voting in a national or state election, although I cannot say the same of stand alone local elections.
Texas House Bill 25, which would end straight ticket voting, has passed a preliminary vote by the Texas Senate. A final vote is still needed and may have already been taken by the time this blog post is published.
Those who are against it say it discriminates against minorities. In all meanings of the word “discriminate” in English the foundation is to differentiate, to make a distinction. If something affects everybody then it isn’t differentiating. All people who vote are forced to go along with this change. So how is this discriminating?
According to James Barragan a reporter for the Dallas Morning News (May 18, 2017) in the Austin Bureau, opponents argue the bill “disenfranchises minorities, the elderly and those who need assistance to vote, such as deaf and blind people many of whom often use straight-ticket voting.” If you are elderly or need assistance to vote, how does this bill change any of that? As a senior citizen I can assure you that keeping the law the way it is, is not going to make you any younger nor cure what ails you. If people are motivated enough to vote, an extra ten minutes (if even that) in the voting booth is not going to stop them from voting. Hey Senators, I can afford an extra ten minutes every two years to vote.
I have no idea what the argument is behind “disenfranchises minorities.” If they were disenfranchised before they will be disenfranchised after and conversely. Disenfranchisement, what nonsense! It sounds like the same paternalistic racism that the political establishment has practiced for fifty years.
I feel discriminated against by straight ticket voting. The Libertarian Candidate for The so called Texas Railroad Commission (Mark Miller) got the endorsement of five major Texas newspapers and was certainly better qualified than the major party candidates. Kvetch, kvetch, kvetch – the Republican was elected.
According to the above cited article, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has told lawmakers that implementation of the law would cost the county $885,000 to implement in 2018 and would increase after that. Balderdash! I have experience with cost estimates that originate with government entities. We called them SWAGs. If you know what SWAG stands for then you will know they are not to be trusted and are either high or low depending on what the preparer is really going for.
And I have to say to Mr. Jenkins – Apparently we have decided that the conducting of elections is a primary function of state and local government. This means you have to do it but, of course cost is always a consideration. You are to be applauded for trying to save each person in Dallas County 35 cents every two years (that is what it works out to). Or another option would be to find something that Dallas County is doing which is not a primary function of government and cut it out.
Texas is only one of ten states that have straight ticket voting. Apparently the world will end if we join the other thirty-nine. Just like Great Britain ceased to exist after the Brexit vote.