A friend of mine has been waiting for an absentee ballot to arrive, having sent in an application 2-3 weeks ago. Normally this process takes a few days at best.
On calling the Board of Elections in her county, she was told that the absentee ballots hadn't been sent out yet. She was silent, in a state of mild confusion. Her silence spurred the woman she was speaking to, to say, "it's because of the Nader thing."
The light came on.
Here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, there's a court case pending, regarding whether or not Ralph Nader will be allowed on the ballot here.
Meanwhile, the county Boards of Election in Pennsylvania are faced with the choice of whether or not they will send out ballots containing Nader's name without knowing whether he will be allowed to run here.
No decision has been made regarding his legitimacy as a candidate in the state yet, and the court battle(s) could go on for a long time.
The problem facing county election officials is one of potential confusion among the voters.
If Nader's name is on the ballot, and he's disqualified, there may still be people who assume that since his name is on an official government form, he will be getting their vote if he's the candidate of their choice.
The vote for president is null and void in that case.
Some counties have sent the ballots out for fear too many people may not have adequate time to get them filed before the deadline, which is October 29, 2004.
The last date the ballots may be mailed to the voters is October 19, 2004. Since many people request absentee voting due to travel plans, in the short time allotted the voter has raised some concern. Justifiably so.
The Commonwealth has stringent requirements for issuing an absentee ballot. Either one is unavailable due to being out of the area (military personnel, people who travel for business, vacationers…it encompasses a lot of voters)or infirm individuals.
Tight, but also a large enough group.
My friend is severely disabled. She depends on others to bring her mail to her, and then also, to mail letters out. Needless to say, she's somewhat concerned. I am also concerned. Time is of the essence.
The Commonwealth is now making it more difficult than is reasonable, to vote. There are new requirements for two forms of identification (perhaps only for first time voters---am foggy on this---sorry) which many elderly or poverty stricken people might not have. There are alternatives to this, but those people may have difficulty understanding them. A protest is fomenting, especially within "minority" communities, which is where the greatest backlash of all the new complications are most likely to be felt.
In the year when the most important election of my lifetime is taking place, all this razzmatazz really makes me sick. I'm already untrusting, and paranoid enough. Need I ramp that part of my nature up a notch or two?