Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dinkytown Citizens Denied Right to Vote

In another shocking and unanticipated turn in the 2008 U.S. Senate race for Minnesota, the City of Minneapolis announced yesterday that it would abandon the search for 133 missing ballots of citizens in the Dinkytown neighborhood. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie commented in the Minnesota Daily that, "In 3 million ballots, we're just happy there was such a very, very, very high and smooth rate of sorting everything out. We wish we could find this one packet in the 3 million but Minnesota also has really excellent election laws."

Obviously, Mr. Ritchie is shrinking from his responsibility to make sure that every vote is counted, regardless of the total amount of votes cast in the state. Out of over 2,000 votes casted in Dinkytown, the missing ballots would make up nearly 7% of the precinct's total. Moreover, in a Democratic stronghold, these unconstitutionally slashed votes could uphold Republican Norm Coleman's slim 192 vote lead and maintain his seat in the Senate.

There is no excuse for public officials to simply "misplace" or "lose" ballots. Instead of taking fault for this disastrous end to Dinkytown's precinct vote count, Ritchie has passed it off as a slight coincidence, with little effect on the outcome and that it is not so bad that only 133 votes were lost and the voters denied their rights as United States citizens. Secretary of State Ritchie claims that, "It doesn't seem like a big problem, it just seems too bad." Well, it is clear that he is wrong, and it is a big problem. Ritchie's nonchalant attitude about losing votes, adding and replacing them here and there is highly dubious. The citizenry of Dinkytown and Minneapolis should be in an outroar; in any normal circumstances, it would be proper to ask Ritchie to resign.

It is up to the People to ensure fair elections, not our bought and paid for elected officials. If this time it is "ok" to take away citizen rights from 133, mostly college students, then won't it be "ok" to take away rights from 1,000 next time, or even 10,000? Ritchie's logic is completely inexcusable. It is simply unacceptable to believe his position and marginialize, even demonize voters who merely want their voice heard. After all, isn't this a republic?

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