Voters’ Pamphlet: We’re in trouble

It's nice that they mail you the Voters' Pamphlet. Too bad about the contents.

It's nice that they mail you the Voters' Pamphlet. Too bad about the contents.

As if to spoil a perfectly fine and pleasantly warm spring day, the Oregon Voters’ Pamphlet arrived on Tuesday, a reminder of the dismal state of our long-running experiment with self-government.

There on the pages, smiling at us, are some of the same people who have been in federal office for more than 30 years and are still calling for various reforms such as closing loopholes for job-exporting corporations (Wyden) or making higher incomes subject to Social Security taxes (DeFazio). As though electing them one more time will enable them to do something they haven’t managed to do since the 1980s.

And there, on other pages, are the same challengers who have tried more than once to unseat our delegates in Washington, D.C.  They were unable to do so before, for various reasons. And this time is going to be different why?

The pamphlet is full of platitudes but almost no information. It would be far more useful to many voters if candidates were required to disclose some actual data about themselves, such as age, address, and main sources of income. (Hillary lists her occupation as a “former secretary of state and presidential candidate;” that’s an occupation?)

I did discover one info-nugget: You don’t have to provide any identification when registering to vote by mail or online. You’re supposed to, of course, and you can do so by supplying a driver’s license or ID or permit number or part of your Social Security number. But if you don’t have any of those, you can substitute something else, like a copy of a utility bill or a paycheck stub.  If you can’t produce even that, you can still register. Says the pamphlet: “If you do not provide valid identification, you will not be eligible to vote for federal races. You will, however, still be eligible to vote for state and local contests.”

Once ballots are removed from their return envelopes back at the election office, they are secret. Which makes me wonder how they inspect the ballots of non-ID’d voters to check that they didn’t cast a federal vote. (hh)

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