Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Handcuffed at the polls

Did you vote yet today? I did, and I need to vent a bit. I have No Party Affiliation -- a "lower-case independent." I make no declaration to either the Republican Party or the Democrats. I vote for the candidate, for their platforms, and on individual issues.

And it concerns me that I can’t have a voice in the Florida presidential primary. Multiply that by all the other NPA independents, registered Independents and -– because of an early calendar date -– every Democratic vote in Florida.

As our lead story says today, Florida is the most diverse, largest swing state about to declare its residents’ verdict on the presidency and politics.

Well, make that the Republicans are about to render a verdict. Sure, the Democratic outcome will provide huge momentum to the victor. But those votes should count.

When I went into my polling place this morning, a couple who moved to Florida last year were there to vote for the first time. They were taken by surprise that they could vote only on the property tax amendment.

"Seems to me that I just lost a bit of my American rights," the gentleman politely told the polling volunteer. "But we'll still weigh in where we can."

The turnout has been steady this morning, according to our reporters canvassing polling places throughout Manatee and Sarasota. We'll provide updates and color throughout the day in BREAKING NEWS here on Bradenton.com.

And you can find interactive content and results later today on our Florida Primary presidential election page.

Who knows what those results would be if every voter could have that constitutionally guaranteed voice.



Paul Gaiptman said...

I wanted to thank you for the information published Sunday regarding the candidates.  From my perspective, the politics of Cuba has no importance when compared to education (which wasn't mentioned).

However, the rest of the comparison information is very helpful to those who "Pledge Allegiance" to a "Political Party."
I didn't!  I'm a registered Independent, whose grandparents immigrated from Russia to Ellis Island in 1915.  They spoke no English.  My father was a WW11 veteran, who was on the beach with the 94th Division at Normandy.

I've always paid my taxes, contributed to pro-active community efforts and feel democracy should be extended to ALL REGISTERED VOTERS.  Unfortunately, it isn't! 
As an American who would fight to retain the right to democracy, I don't have the opportunity to vote for any candidate. Being an Independent voter means that "other people" get to choose who I will vote for.  What if I don't agree with their choice and my candidate loses by one vote?
I haven't read anywhere in the Constitution that the Republican or Democratic Party determines who votes in Florida.  Yet, they do! In other states, my vote matters.  In Florida, it doesn't.  I shouldn't have to wear a "party brand" to be afforded basic voting rights.   Our forefathers fought for the right for me to be independent.  Yet, that's a right I don't have on Tuesday.

Roger Houston said...

No one’s Constitutional rights are being violated. Every registered American voter will have the opportunity to vote for whichever presidential candidate they choose. They will have this opportunity in November in the general election. What is transpiring right now is the process that the two major political parties engage in to pick their candidate. It is their business and no one else’s. The Democrats are in the process of picking their candidate, and the Republicans are in the process of picking theirs. If you are not a Democrat, you have no business helping them pick their candidate. If you are not a Republican, you have no business helping them pick theirs either.

Right now, or soon, the American Communist Party, the Green Party, various Socialist parties, the Libertarian Party, and others, are or will be picking their candidates. It is no one’s business who they pick. They are, like the Republicans and Democrats, political parties who have their own members, and those members will pick the candidate that they choose to represent THEIR party to the greater voting population.

Once the major and minor parties have chosen THEIR candidates, then the rest of us will be able to cast our votes either for them or against them in the general election.

Worried in Weeki-Wachee said...

Wow, this is the most excitement and enthusiasm I've seen on here since ...... well, since ever!
What's the Herald's policy on news employees voting in primary elections?

Joan Krauter said...

Voting is a guaranteed individual right for most U.S. citizens, and the Herald’s newsroom employees are no exception. But we discourage contributing to or participating in any political campaigns. Here’s the wording in our newsroom ethics policy:

"Public political activity is not encouraged, and not allowed without prior approval from your supervisor."