The River

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Super Tuesday: Why I voted for Kucinich

By Kéllia Ramares
Online Journal Associate Editor

Feb 8, 2008, 00:12

On January 22, the registration deadline for the California Presidential Primary, I changed my party affiliation from Green to "decline to state" so that I could vote in the Democratic primary. I wanted to vote for Dennis Kucinich. Two days later, he quit the presidential race. But, on February 5, his name was still on the ballot, so I voted for him anyway.

Some people would call this a wasted vote. But I don't think so. I voted for the person I thought was best fit to be president. That's what you are supposed to do in an election: vote for the person you think is best qualified. If all I wanted to do was to pick the winner, I would have done better to seek out a bookie and place a wager rather than cast a ballot. At least that way, if I picked the winner, I would have gotten some money.

My Kucinich vote was more than an act of idealism. It was a protest against the way elections are conducted in this country. Specifically, it was a protest against the way the corporate media, with the complicity of the leading candidates, can ignore some people who are running, and stop the momentum of their ideas and campaigns, by denying them news coverage or much time in debates, and then finally barring their participation in debates because they have not met criteria for gaining entrance, viz. poll numbers that the candidate might have gotten if he'd gotten any decent amount of coverage. In Kucinich's case, the situation was even worse. He met the criteria for participating in the January 15 debate but then two days later, the criteria were rewritten specifically to exclude him. And I didn't hear Edwards, Obama, or Clinton yell, "Foul! That's not the way elections in a democracy are supposed to work!"

(Republicans: do you know that Ron Paul is still in the race?)

I refuse to let the corporations tell me who my candidates are. Think about it, how different really is that from the Communist Party's electoral dictates in Cuba, China or the former Soviet Union? That we might have two or three candidates on the ballot to the Communists' one is only a cosmetic difference. We are still steered to whom we are supposed to vote for, and if enough of us still get it “wrong,” the power elites have ways to steal the elections. Florida 2000, Ohio 2004, and now there are reports of irregularities in the primary voting in New Hampshire and California.

How is it that pre-election polling showed Obama in the lead in critical New Hampshire and California yet he lost, but the pre-election polling was accurate for other races and other states?

I'm troubled by the fact that I don't know that my vote was counted for Kucinich and not for someone else. The ballot was slipped into an optical scanning machine; we have proof that electronic voting machines can be easily compromised. How do I know that votes for Kucinch, Edwards, Gravel, etc., were not turned into votes for Obama and (especially) Clinton?

We need paper ballots counted publicly by hand.


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