Big Apple Mayor Bill de Blasio is a busy guy. He’s got more than enough on his plate already, needing to deal with his city’s skyrocketing crime rate, crushing poverty in the areas that the TV cameras don’t cover and a police force which doesn’t much care for him. Still, he took time out of his busy day on Sunday to talk to John Dickerson on Face the Nation. Strangely, he wasn’t there to talk about Gotham, but rather about Hillary Clinton and her recent calls for expanded early voting around the nation.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said on Sunday that Americans would benefit from reformed national voting laws.
“We have a democracy problem,” de Blasio told host John Dickerson on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“Our elections are governed by state law and for a long time I’ve believed we need to make a fundamental series of reforms,” he said.
“Let’s face it, a lot of the people in the political class have tried to discourage voter involvement and a lot of incumbents prefer a very small electorate,” he added.
I can see how de Blasio would feel that we have “a democracy problem” because not all Democrats in New York City are big fans of democracy, at least from what I’ve observed. It’s also interesting that he would opine on how a lot of incumbents prefer a very small electorate. He’s referring, of course, to places without early voting and limited hours when the polls are open. So would he count himself among the “lot of incumbents” since he was the victor in an election where the polls were open for a grand total of fourteen hours?
This is the new meme coming out of the DNC this season and Hillary wasn’t the first one to roll it out… just the most high profile one to date. The emerging theme is that any state which trims down the number of early voting days is trying to “suppress the vote” or keep certain people from the polls because… racism, of course. And God forbid you pass a voter ID law, because then you may as well just put on a white hood and a bed sheet and go chase minority voters away from the ballot box on horseback. It’s all become rather boring.
What these fact free sound bites which pass for “analysis” all seem to miss is two of the fundamental truths about voting in America. The first is that whatever rules the state passes in terms of voting apply to everyone. If minorities, women or whoever only have fourteen hours to vote, then all of the evil white men only have the same fourteen hours. Nobody, at least to my knowledge, has proposed a rule where the white men get a month to vote and everyone else can only go to the polls between 2:00 and 4:00 on Tuesday.
The second reality is that the voting laws, for the most part, are put in place at the state level, not the federal. They reflect the will of the people who elect the legislators who then pass or amend those laws. Not every state winds up going for the same methods, but that’s all part of that “democracy” thing which de Blasio seems to have so much trouble with. People in Washington decided they wanted to vote by mail and to have a whole month to do so. In the state where the Mayor and I live, the voters settled long ago on the idea of doing all the voting on a single Tuesday, with the polls opening before the crack of dawn and not closing until after dusk. Is that the best way? Beats me, but it’s what we’ve got. And the rules apply to everyone equally.
The other DNC idea being pushed by Hillary Clinton and Mayor de Blasio is that there should be automatic voter registration for everyone, taking effect the moment they turn 18. I suppose if the voters really wanted to do that there’s nothing stopping them… at least on paper. But in reality, how do you plan on implementing this? We live in a fluid, mobile society. People move all the time. It would be hard enough tracking the residence of each and every resident of each and every state even if they lived in the same county for their entire lives, but what about the family who moves from New York to Pennsylvania to escape the outrageous taxes and lack of opportunity? Who would be responsible for identifying the precinct where they settled down and adding them to the rolls? Does that responsibility fall on the voters themselves? And what if they don’t do it? Are you going to fine them or toss them in jail?
Boy Howdy, this is just sounding more and more democratic all the time!
Voting is a right for law abiding citizens but it is not a responsibility. And if you don’t feel like registering and taking part, you basically submit yourself to the will of the rest of your fellow residents… but that’s your choice. Having a generous list of rights such as the ones we enjoy in America includes the right to be stupid.