2008 Election Guide: Three Things to Remember about the Voting Process

The issues in this election are pretty clear cut, but here are three things to remember about the voting process.

One, please vote. Even if you live in a state where the presidential race isn’t close, there are congressional, state, and local elections—and also ballot initiatives—that could be up for grabs. Barack Obama might win the presidential vote but, without significant gains in the House and especially the Senate, he’ll have a tough time reversing George W. Bush’s policies. Twenty-three of the thirty-five senators up for re-election this year are Republicans, so this is your best shot in years to send Bush’s Capitol Hill flunkies into early retirement.

Two, don’t let the exit polls or early returns keep you from voting. In 2004, media polls on Election Day had John Kerry doing quite well and some people didn’t vote because they figured he had it in the bag. President McCain will thank you if you do that this year. Likewise, thanks to GOP vote suppression, you never know which states’ returns will hold up after the official count, which brings me to . . .

Three, protect your vote. You may be familiar with Razorcake‘s coverage of Republican election theft. Reporter Greg Palast has dealt with this issue more than anyone else and he has offered tips on fighting the dirty tricks of Bush’s henchmen and henchwomen (/archive-greg-palast-voter-guide-link-general-election-2008). Here are some of the pointers provided by Palast and election-law specialist Robert Kennedy Jr. First, don’t mail your vote: election authorities can reject mail-in ballots on a number of technicalities. Also, if your right to vote is challenged, insist on a decision by the election supervisor rather than accepting a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots often go in the trash. If you experience problems, a number of election-watchdog groups are available to help, such as the ACLU (www.aclu.org/) and the Brennan Center for Justice (www.brennancenter.org/). Finally, if the Republicans’ effort to steal the election appears to be working, demand that the votes be counted. Call or e-mail the Obama campaign and tell them not to concede. Join a protest. Be ready to make your voice heard after Election Day

Happy democracy!