Politicians interfere with process

Kevin Wilson

All things considered, the last 24 hours had been quite good. My baseball team was in the running to host a playoff series, I actually made a decent dinner and the movie I couldn’t find at the rental place was available for free online (no movie piracy took place).

But leave it to the political world to bring me back down. Depending on your perspective, we have a president who either has bad policies or is too in love with bipartisanship to actually put the policies he wants forward. And the people aiming to replace him are speaking to crowds who boo soldiers who admit they’re gay and cheer the notion of record death row executions (which kind of dulls the old, “Death penalty is a deterrent,” argument).

This election, and every one that follows, will always be to some degree about what we value as Americans — and I’m concerned there’s too much politician interference in who gets to take their case to the ballot box.

Take Tuesday revelations about Maine, where Gov. Paul LePage and numerous legislators successfully eliminated same-day voter registration.

A coalition hoping to reinstate the policy did a little research, and found quite a few people took advantage of same-day registration — including LePage, members of his staff, the state senator who sponsored the legislation and nine other legislators.

It’s noteworthy to see that the people who took advantage of the law want to kill it for other people. But that, “Do as I say and not as I do” mantra is so prevalent, it fails to resonate with me at times. If anything, I just think it will be good practice if they make it to Congress, where they can vote for or against debt ceiling increases based solely on the party that’s in the Oval Office.

I’d rather see some honesty in the process. Maybe there will be a real life Sen. Jay Bulworth, not played by Warren Beatty, who will have a moment of clarity and just admit, “We want to make these changes because the people affected are highly unlikely to vote for us.”

But that’s not what they say. It’s always the specious argument about protecting the integrity of the ballot.

“The only people I want anywhere near a ballot box are those who have demonstrated they are actually invested enough in the process that they want to vote,” wrote Republican strategist Matthew Gagnon, a former aide to Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. “That is the flaw with same-day voter registration: Most of the people it serves are unengaged in the process.”

Two things: First, it seems the same-day voter rolls full of engaged public servants beg to differ. Second, I hate the notion that I have to demonstrate my investment in the political process to meet the arbitrary standards of a Republican strategist. Or a Democratic strategist. Or to anybody who isn’t my county clerk or secretary of state, the people elected to determine my qualifications.

There, I’ve said what I needed to say. Maybe the next 24 hours will make up for it. Maybe there’s a good baseball game on.