How to vote early and often — legally!

My Recommendations for Election 2006
By John J. Fitzgerald

One of the most patriotic things that anyone, who loves this country, can do in the next few weeks has to be focused on voting. (I know that voting is not the only road for activists, but it does have some value.)

I would like to make a few recommendations to enlarge the effect of voting in 2006.

I make them because I believe that 2006 is a crucial election that will determine whether this country slides further down the slope toward fascism and authoritarian rule under Bush and his clique, or whether we give him a vote of no confidence that sends him trembling to the basement of the White House for the next 2 years.

We need to send a message to our fellow citizens, to the world and to Bush.

The message is simple.

“We are a democratic country and we are disgusted with the lies and the violence of this Republican administration. We are opposed to this immoral and dishonest war in Iraq. We are voting for a Democratic Senate and a Democratic House in order to preserve our democracy.”

In order to get the message across, I have a few recommendations.

First,
Arrange to take Election Day off from work. Call in sick or else take a personal day. You are going to volunteer to help elect Democrats on Election Day. Spend part of the day offering and giving rides to the polls to elderly family members or neighbors. Make sure they know what the issues are before offering them a ride.

Second,
Vote by absentee ballot as soon as possible. Absentee ballots are paper and they can’t be “lost.” You can vote in person at your town hall or city hall. This will free you for campaign work on Election Day. We need a massive turnout to defeat the Republicans. They will be using negative campaigns to attack the Democratic candidate and, more importantly, to lower voter participation. They want to sicken people about politics, so they can govern by a minority. This is their very real strategy. Smear tactics and character assassination offend people and sensitive people do not vote as a result. This is a Karl Rove tactic. Anyone who tells you not to vote is probably an agent of Karl Rove.

Third,
Make a modest financial contribution to your local candidates. Volunteer to help hold signs, make phone calls or whatever. Contact Council for a Livable World or the American Friends Service Committee (FCNL) for advice on specific candidates. If you are a labor union member make sure that you know whom your union has endorsed.

Fourth,
Contact all your friends on the Internet and urge them to vote. Do some research and find the candidates who support your values. Most of the candidates will be Democrats, if you are opposed to Bush and his war in Iraq. If you live in Connecticut, do not vote for Lieberman. Vote for Lamont. In Vermont, vote for Bernie Sanders for Senate. The name of the game is take control of Congress away from Bush and the Republicans.

Fifth,
On the weekend before the election, make up some flyers and/or leaflets and distribute at least 25 of them to the people on your street. (You can download a lot of them from the Internet.) Better yet! Make up your own! Knock on the door of your neighbor and introduce yourself, hand them the leaflet and urge them to vote. Try to get into a conversation with them. We need to break down the barriers that cut us off from each other. This simple face-to-face work will win votes and help you to meet your neighbors.

If you do all of these things, then we will win on the 7th of November. If you don’t do any of this good stuff, we might win anyway, but it will be a bit harder to do so.

[Addendum:

I would like to make three additional suggestions for Massachusetts.

One, vote for Deval Patrick for Governor on the Democratic Party line. This will defeat Healey and send a vote of no confidence to Romney who supports the Iraq War and who dreams of becoming the next President.

Two, vote for Jill Stein for Secretary of State on the Green/Rainbow Party line. This will probably not elect her, but it will help the Green/Rainbow Party keep a ballot position in Massachusetts.

Three, vote “Yes” on Question #2. This will allow “fusion” voting in Massachusetts. This is what they have in New York. A minor party can place a major party candidate on its ballot line and this will allow people to vote for the candidate and support their party as well. Example, John Jones is nominated by the Democrats and the Greens. But, there are two separate places to vote for Jones. John Jones on the Democratic Party line gets 45% of the vote and John Jones gets 10% of the vote on the Green/Rainbow Party line. Result? Jones wins with 55% of the vote under the fusion approach. Without fusion, Jones would have lost to the other major party candidate. Fusion ends the policy of having to vote for the lesser of two evils and/or throwing away your vote for a hopeless candidacy.]