Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Here is a pdf of our "voter rights" as described and disseminated by the DNC. I received it in my email today. This is what the email said:

Dear Jerry,

We are on track for historic turnout in this election. America is coming out in record numbers for John Kerry.

And that has the Republicans scared. They have no plan, no hope, no way to win this election except to stop people from voting. Their strategy is simple:

Discourage Democratic voters from going to the polls by filling the airwaves with predictions of doom and gloom. Delay voting and create lines at polls by challenging voters and election officials. Deny voters the opportunity to cast their votes and have them counted.

But their strategy won't work. We will stop their attempts to deny our rights by using the best weapons in our arsenal: information and education.

It's vital that you know your voting rights. Take a minute today to make sure that others know their rights, too. Download our guide to voting rights:


Make sure to print out multiple copies and help us spread the word by distributing them as widely as you can.

For information about finding your polling place, use our polling place locator at Democrats.org:


Remember: Voting is your right, and you are protected under the law. Exercise your right by voting for John Kerry, John Edwards, and all our Democratic candidates on November 2!

Vincent Fry
Executive Director
DNC Voting Rights Institute

So after reading this I thought, why not check it out, there actually may be some serious, comprehensive info within this voting "guide". After downloading it and then reviewing it, which took all but 40 seconds, I must say I was quite disappointed. None of the information was anything shockingly new and really, should be what any average voting citizen should already know. Not to mention, when expressing that the elderly or disabled have a "right" to have help and accessibility to the polling place, they don't express exactly what kind of help or accessibility they mean. Not only that but what resources are available, i.e. phone numbers, websites, etc. can be accessed to find out what is available for me if I happen to be elderly or handicap?

There is a lot of other things I find disturbing about this as well, such as the fact that this is the first and only email I have received regarding voting rights, why wait until the day of the election to inform me of my so called rights to vote? Also, in the email they state that I am protected by law, well, what law? State it, at least in brief. Cite the code and section. In addition, all of the claims of voter tampering being made against the RNC just don't seem to add up. I just finished voting and did not stand in any long line, as a matter of fact, there was no line at all. Nor did I have any problems with filling out the provisional ballet, as I have moved since the last election. Nor did anyone give me problems when my name did not appear on the list. I did not need instructions on using the ballot box as they were clearly spelled out right in front of me in the voting booth, with little black and white illustrations to boot.

You know, it is funny, just yesterday Lashawn Barber of Lashawn Barbers Corner commented about how Dems view blacks as children, I agreed and added that many liberal minded blacks see themselves as children as well. Yet, I would go further and state that not only is this true about blacks, but I believe Dems view all of their constituents as children or child-like and this voter bill of rights crap is a perfect example of that fact.

I end with this one question, is voting a right or duty?


Michael_the_Archangel said...

I would say voting is a right, not a duty. To back that statement I would say that if you don't do what you need to do on a duty, there is a viable and visable penalty. Example - even though we don't have a draft (we will if Kerry is voted in), you have to register for it when you turn eighteen. The penalty for not registering is you will be turned down for certain loans and grants for college if you are not registered. There are certain jobs (government) that you can be refused for, if you are not registered.

By the same token, driving is a right. You do not have to learn how to drive or get a driver's license. If you don't get a license, it is not held against you, there are no penalties because you've decided to not use your right.

In a like manner, if you do not choose to vote, no one is going to punish you. Therefore, I submit that voting is a right, not a duty.

Jerry McClellan said...

Thank you for reading and commenting. Welcome.

Very interesting points made. I always hear that driving is a priviledge and not a right. If you equate voting with driving, then is voting a priviledge as well?

I would disagree with your implication comparing voting to driving as a right in that, while there aren't immediate consequences, there are still long term ones to consider, especially in regards to voting for our nations leader. Does duty always involve coercion through legalities, i.e. your example concerning the draft? Can one have a duty to something or someone without legalities involved?

Using your driving example, if I don't get licensed to drive and a car then I may not be able to serve my family effectively, especially if I live a long distance away or if my particular job is a certain distance from home. While these may seem arbitrary in that we do have public transportation there is still those with special needs that may need an automobile in order to travel. There are other factors as well in regards to cost of driving self vs. public transit. All of these things can add up to me being obligated to purchase a car and be licensed to drive, fulfillng a duty to family, self or other. Couldn't voting be construed in the same light, especially in regards to shaping public policies? Could someone be morally obligated to vote a certain way in hopes of establishing a desired outcome by the majority group of affiliation, hence, fulfilling their duty as member of that affiliation?

Michael_the_Archangel said...

First, thanks for dropping by my blog, hope you enjoyed it - I know you enjoyed the one entry -grin-.

Back to the discussion. I've always found it useful to go to the dictionary when discussing/defining a term. In this case, we need to define the word 'duty'. Webster defines this word as follows:
2 a : obligatory tasks, conduct, service, or functions that arise from one's position (as in life or in a group).
3 a : a moral or legal obligation b : the force of moral obligation.

Using the second definition shown, a moral obligation, especially when put in light of your assertion regarding, " while there aren't immediate consequences, there are still long term ones to consider,' - true, but what I consider to be a moral obligation wouldn't necessiarily pass for what Michael Moore might consider a moral obligation (my strong guess is that the two of us don't share the same view of the world). So, I'm not so sure you could advance the argument of moral obligation, since different people have different morals.

You tried to make the argument -"All of these things can add up to me being obligated to purchase a car and be licensed to drive, fulfillng a duty to family, self or other" - I disagree, let's assume you have the scenario you set up, but there is absolutely no way that you can afford to buy a car, its insurance, the maintenance on it, etc. Let's say that there just isn't any way that you can do it; yet the same obligations. You would find a way, you might have to move, you might have to make arraignments with friends, neighbors, relatives. You would do what you had to do, but that is (to most people) a much different sense of duty than voting is.

What is voting? Who gives it to us and why do we have it? It's a matter of freedom, NOT a matter of duty. You are free to vote or not vote for whatever reasons you feel are correct. THAT is why voting is a right to me, not a duty.

Jerry McClellan said...

Very compelling argument. I would be forced to agree with you except one point is brought to mind. The moral implications of not voting vs. voting. As has been demonstratrf with the recent election of our President, those conservative Christians coming out to vote and support a conservative, Christian President was essential to his victory. A big reason why these people were motivated to vote was due to being compelled by moral obligation. While I would agree that voting in and of itself is a right afforded to us through the Constitution, the actual act of voting, I believe, should be considered a duty to an ideal greater than self. This was the overall and underlying premise for both sides of the political spectrum, used to get people to vote.