Voting is the essential element of democracy. We all vote, and whoever gets the most votes wins the election. Right?
Well, let me be more specific. Whoever gets the most votes of every vote cast wins the election. You don’t need a majority of people to like you in a democracy. You just need a majority of people who voice their opinion on you to like you.
Okay, let me be even more specific, because not everyone gets to vote, at least not in our sort of democracy. Whoever gets the most votes (1) of every vote cast (2) by non-felons (3) over the age of 18 (4) who can prove residency within the precinct wins the election.
If you’re a politician, you see that paragraph through a uniquely political lens:
There’s more than one way to win.
It’s in my best interest to make sure people who won’t like me either cannot or will not vote at all.
If 100 people vote, and you get 49 votes to Low Energy Bob’s 51 votes…you lose.
BUT…if you can disqualify one of Bob’s voters, and maybe convince two of his voters to stay home on Tuesday, the numbers change.
Now only 97 people voted. You still got 49 votes. But Bob got 48. You win without getting a single extra vote. DEMOCRACY, BABY! You’re a crafty bugger!
There are plenty of ways to make people less likely to vote.
You can hold the election at a day or time that is inconvenient, like maybe a Tuesday in November from 7 am to 7 pm. The cold, wet weather tends to aid the cause, especially in places like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and the like. It’s easy to convince yourself that one vote won’t change things when it’s 40 degrees and raining.
Plenty of construction workers, nurses, teachers, working moms and dads, and blue-collar folks have unforgiving schedules over which they have minimal control. One mix-up, and voting becomes understandably dispensable.
Of course, none of that is a problem if you have a nanny. You can vote while she forgoes voting to watch your kids! We all know she wasn’t going to vote for your guy, anyway. It’s a win-win. ¡DEMOCRACIA!¡Muchas gracias, Consuela!
You can cut off voter registration two, three, or four weeks before the election. This way, as people who are less informed become aware that the election is approaching, it’ll already be too late for them to vote. And it’s especially effective against people like renters, college students, and people working multiple jobs.
If you’ve been living in the McMansion you’ve owned for 12 years, you aren’t affected by a rule like this. You registered to vote in 2005, and you haven’t moved, so you’re still registered! Get out and vote!
If you don’t, we could have the horror of your kids’ daycare workers having health insurance forced upon us. Don’t worry, though. Contagious daycare workers aren’t that big of a problem if you vaccinated your kids against the better advice of Jenny McCarthy and your yoga instructor. And if the potential victory is lower taxes, this is a gamble worth taking!
You can require ID to vote. You’ll dissuade people with out-of-state ID’s who haven’t updated theirs yet. You’ll scare off people with warrants. You’ll avoid immigrants who steer clear of documented interactions with the government as a default setting. You’ll probably stop a few people at the booth who just didn’t bring their ID’s, too.
Of course, if you’re in Texas, just whip out your concealed carry license and you’re good to go…but don’t even think about showing your university ID. Those don’t count.
Sure, if the unwashed, un-ID’d masses show up, they’ll each get a provisional ballot. But if they don’t submit proof of their residency by a few days after the election, BAM! Their ballot gets shredded. They might as well have stayed at their apartments, worked an extra shift, or gone shopping at el supermercado that night.
Bonus tip: Try adding a law that requires exact matches between a person’s name on their ID and the voter registration roll. When I say “exact,” I mean “look to see if there’s an accent or apostrophe on one and not the other.”
Sorry Jose or José…I’m not sure which one of you is able to vote and which one isn’t.
Same goes for you, D’Angelo.
You can make voting take a ridiculous amount of time by limiting the number of polling places. It’s hard to stand in a four-hour line to cast your vote if you only have 30 minutes between your shifts. It’s tough to stand with your kids outside in the November weather because you don’t have the money to pay a babysitter. And if you’re young, you can only handle a line for as long as your phone has a charge. Once your phone dies, your patience is over. The so-called “prescient” Framers of the Constitution really messed up when they failed to account for cell phone battery life when they were building our democracy.It’s hard to stand in a four-hour line to cast your vote if you only have 30 minutes between your shifts. #democracy #voting Click To Tweet
Fortunately, there is a class of people who have nothing better to do than wait in a line all day: the elderly. Want to motivate them to get out and vote? Run commercials that convince them an El Salvadorian gang is literally going to rob and murder them any minute. Old people are gullible, and they don’t understand confirmation bias, so this strategy is a slam-dunk.
Remember the historic election of you versus Bob? Scroll up – it was in the early part of the ground-shaking treatise you’re currently reading.
Imagine a world where you have no morals, and exist only to feed your own ego. If you are a politician, you probably don’t have to imagine. But for everyone else, think of what it would be like if you valued winning over everything else.
Now imagine you’re a member of a party of like-minded people.
Want to win? Let’s pass a few laws.Imagine a world where you have no morals, and exist only to feed your own ego. If you are a politician, you probably don’t have to imagine. Click To Tweet
We don’t need too much early voting, and most people should be able to get their voting done by 7 pm. Let’s save money by closing a few polling stations. People don’t mind driving an extra five or ten miles to fulfill the obligations of democracy. Or taking the bus on routes they’ve never taken. Or paying $20+ each way for an Uber.
Sure, the lines will be longer this way, but the troops fought and died for your right to stand in line for half the day to vote. You don’t want to disrespect the troops, do you?
We should make everyone register at least a month, maybe two months, before the election. That way we can be sure that your vote isn’t tainted by any fraudulent votes by felons, illegal aliens, people with extraneous or missing accents over letters, people who’ve registered in two places (like the place they used to live and the place they live now – filthy transients), or people whose names are the same as any of those people.
Do you know how many José Garcias there are in this precinct? The part-time private investigator/son-in-law of the County Clerk we hired found 47 Jose Garcias. And can you believe one of them stole a car 22 years ago when he was 17? Sure, he served five years in prison and has been working, paying taxes, and living a quiet, productive life ever since. But just to keep our democracy secure, we’ve eliminated him and all other José Garcias from the roll.
We need to require ID to vote, and limit the kinds of ID we’ll accept. Don’t have a car? That’s going to make getting to the DMV that’s 47 miles away pretty tough. If you want to participate in our democracy, you should probably look into taking out an 84-month note on an F-150 at 27% interest, it makes things like voting a lot easier.
If we play our cards right, maybe do a little of the old “appeal to their racist, misogynist, and homophobic tendencies” shtick, and smear Bob as a out-of-touch liberal who has two French Bulldogs named “Nancy” and “Pelosi,” we should be able to win this election. And we’ll do it without convincing a single person that we actually have any good, workable ideas.
That’s super-important, because we really don’t.
Want to read more of my work right now? Try this one: California Is Hella Stoked It’s Not Mississippi. Or maybe this one: Halloween Costumes For Snarky Bastards Like You. This one’s not bad, either: The American Messiah.