Some Minnesota politicians this week began considering whether to change Minnesota’s candidate-winnowing process from a caucus to a primary system, a process that mostly involves coming up with reasons not to.
It’s an insider’s game that makes it difficult for people to participate.
My daughter reports she gave up trying to vote at a U of M caucus. Arrived 20 minutes early, waited 2 hours…was on verge of frostbite.
— Tom Hauser (@thauserkstp) March 2, 2016
There was a big turnout at the caucuses earlier this month, but plenty of people didn’t bother to show up and some of those who did gave up.
There’s no guarantee that a primary would make things much different. Voting is an inconvenience at any hour of the day for too many people.
But then you hear about the people of Arizona.
This is a picture an acquaintance of mine posted on Facebook at mid-afternoon yesterday in Chandler, Ariz., just outside of Phoenix.
The line, obviously, was out the door and down the street. If you wanted to vote, you had an hour-and-a-half wait.
That was the express line, judging by this amazing story from NPR today in which people waited hours longer, hours after the media had already declared a winner.
Need a little hope? Listen to the people who voted despite the inconvenience.
“It’s just the principle,” one man said when asked why he was still in line when the race had already been called and after his wife had called him and said, “come home.”
Unfortunately, there’s another part of the story. One of the reasons the line was long was because supporters of Bernie Sanders had switched their affiliation to Democrat last month, but many of their names were not on the list of eligible voters.
So when my acquaintance’s wife presented her ballot, it went into the “provisional” box even though she had presented a valid ID and voter card, and she went home convinced her vote didn’t count.
The story was the same all over the area, the Arizona Republic reports. Check out this amazing video.
In the largest county — Maricopa — officials decided to open only 60 polling places in order to save money, they said.
“It seems reasonable to think that the results of this primary will be seriously skewed by the fact that some people have the luxury and take the time to stand in line and other people don’t, simply because of the circumstances of their lives,” said Ben Hurlbut.
He went to the polls three times to find a line that wasn’t hours long, “so I think one can ask serious questions about the outcome and indeed the legitimacy of this process given the failure of the state to provide the adequate means for people to exercise their right of political participation.”
There’s a lot to be proud of when you stand in line to exercise a right to vote. The reward shouldn’t be that you feel the system is gamed.
Related: Dear Arizona: Seriously? (Washington Post)