Friday, May 02, 2008

Operation Chaos In Trouble?

Richard Hasen writes briefly and coherently in Slate on the quirky Indiana voting law that could affect Tuesday's primary.

I caught a caller to Rush Limbaugh today informing Rush that an Indiana law professor had been in the local media claiming Republicans could be prosecuted for voting in the upcoming Indiana Democratic primary. It piqued my interest as it seems I wasn't getting the whole story and after some searching, this story here seemed to be the most descriptive. The deal is, Indiana has an open primary system, however, thanks to this somewhat obscure law, primary voters are permitted to vote in a particular party's primary only if they had voted for a majority of that party's candidates the last time around or if they were new voters intent on voting for that party in the fall. Of course, because we have a system of secret ballots, there's no real way to determine what an individual's past voting record was. This law deals with enforceability by allowing questionable voters to be challenged into signing an affidavit that they do in fact meet one of the requirements.

As Richard Hasen notes, it would be next to impossible to prosecute people for this. Even if you thought someone lied on their affidavit, how would you possibly prove- beyond a reasonable doubt- that they were lying about their past voting record when their past voting record is not just secret, but literally untraceable.

I hadn't blogged about it yet, but I'd been meaning to blog about Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" for a few weeks now. For those who may not know, Rush has been pushing this operation for over a month, urging all Republicans and independents who will listen to go out and vote for Hillary Clinton in order to extend the Democratic race and, so goes the mantra, send the party into chaos. Politically, it's brilliant, even if the effects may be overstated a bit. And Limbaugh's never really said this directly, but it has to be more than a bit of his form of revenge for the crossover Democrats and independents who helped to win John McCain the Republican nomination. Personally, I love it, but I'm just a big softy for anything connecting chaos with our ridiculous political process.

The truth is, these primaries are a big scam- private organizational elections where the costs are pushed onto taxpayers. Why should I have to pay for anything the Democrats or the Republicans do? Let them spend their own money in selecting a presidential candidate. It's all about the appearance of democracy and the institutionalization of the two party system. Needless to say, I've got no problem with chaos.

Updated 5/2/08 @ 4:20 PM : I should note that both the Democrat and Republican parties control their own destiny. Given that they hold elections on the public dime, they are bound by each state's laws regarding open or closed primaries. But there's nothing to say that a primary even has to be held in the first place- the libertarians don't hold a primary, nor does any other minor party. So if you're a Democrat, don't go blame Republicans for being evil, just take a look in the mirror and realize this is the system your party has accepted.


Anonymous b.rose said...

He hasn't stated it's a revenge thing, but I've heard him call democrats out on the hypocrisy of the whole thing considering how much McCain was helped by non-republicans, specifically in Vermont I believe.

7:36 PM  

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