Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Go Big Red (And Screw You Blue)

Oh, Nebraska, the state of my birth.  How far will the GOP go in Huskers territory to prevent President Obama from splitting one of five electoral votes off like he did in 2008?   Changing the rules back to winner-take-all failed.  Changing Voter ID laws failed.  So, we're down to plan C.  Why do you have to go there?

But it is recent changes implemented by Douglas County Election Commissioner Dave Phipps, an appointee of Republican Gov. Dave Heineman, that are really raising eyebrows.

Last month, Phipps' plans to close 150 polling places_ more than half of the previous 357 _ in and around Omaha surfaced. That led to complaints that the state's poorest voters with limited access to transportation would be, at best, discouraged from voting and, at worst, unable to get to a polling place.

Within days, Phipps confirmed that his office had knowingly sent out polling place cards to nearly 2,000 north Omaha voters _ a precinct of mostly low-income Democratic voters _ with the wrong polling place information on them.

Phipps defended his actions, saying that the county's voter information cards were already being printed when he honored a request from the area's Democratic representatives to reopen a closed polling place.

"Trying to find 1,745 cards out of 315,000 cards, when they're not printed precinct by precinct, was almost certain to fail," Phipps said. "It's like finding a needle in a haystack."

"We knew we could send out a correction," he said. "We send these types of corrections all the time, and we've never had calls about being confused."

He said he closed polling places because of the combination of redistricting, a state law passed last year that requires larger precincts and his desire to save money.

And why shut down nearly half the precincts in and around Omaha, Nebraska's largest city?

"They're attempting to suppress north Omaha voting," said state Democratic Party Chairman Vic Covalt, who has called for Phipps to be removed from office. "I think it's most material that the precinct that was confused was 82 percent Democrat and a minority population location."

Poor urban minorities don't need "convenient polling places" or anything for something that only really might matter one day out of every four years.  Time to put em in their place.

Way to go, Big Red.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails