Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Counting votes -- a primer

By Carol Gee

Your vote counts -- or does it?
Remember that the 2000 U.S. presidential election was not honest. Many questioned the results of the 2004 elections. Congress wants to see to it that Election 2008 is different. Legislators remembered that vulnerable voters are not yet guaranteed their franchise unless there is an actual recorded vote.

Next year's election is not yet safe for even the most
informed voters. Freedom of information is not easy for the average voter. My first information about voting came from the League of Women Voters. Today's post hearkens back to my days of moderating LWV candidate forums, linking voters and candidates running for election. Only this time (beginning with this paragraph) I am linking my readers to tried and true political reference pages on the Internet. I encourage you to click on them. Many are guaranteed to become your favorites and bookmarks.

Leaders in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives must be able to count their votes. Remember it takes 67 Senate votes to to override a presidential veto. Democrats are not yet safe from a veto by our current president (OCP). Remember that Senators and Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have their votes counted very differently.

Staying informed -- I watch C-SPAN and listen to NPR to see the outcomes of key votes. Every week I get an AOL Government Guide e-mail from VoteNote letting me know how my senators and representative voted on various congressional bills. Contacting Congress is an important adjunct to casting a formal ballot in an election. It is another way of making your vote count.

Keeping up with what is going on on The Hill can be daunting. Following politics nationwide can be even more demanding. Learning what is happening at the state (line) level is interesting to some, but not to others. More federal statistical information is available than many of us can digest. So, if you get lost in all this, start with the best central portal, USAgov. Happy clicking, voters!

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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