Less than a month ago, all any of them could talk about was the Florida election fiasco, how terrible it was and how something had to be done about it. Now, safely elected or not having to worry about another trip by the electorate to a possibly defective ballot box for another two years, it is back to what the politicians, instead of the public, believes to be important.
The other day, Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, in discussing his new budget, said he would include $200,000 in it for a study of the state's voting procedures. That's after Secretary of State Cathy Cox had asked him to include $200 million for a statewide modernizing and standardizing of voting machines so a Florida couldn't happen here. It's not like Georgia doesn't have the money. There's a $900 million surplus.
Not only that, but Barnes said the study would allow Georgia to make its case for funds for voting changes once the federal government makes them available.
Earth to governor: Voting mechanics is a state and county function. The federal government doesn't pay for it.
YES, THERE ARE some annoyed congressmen who are talking about making a few millions available to help expedite such reforms but they are Democrats. Given that President-elect George W. Bush hasn't said anything about a remedy for the vote-counting debacle being on his legislative agenda — indeed, he often acts as though he had won in a landslide — what are the chances?
That $200,000 is just hush-up-and-go-away money to pacify the masses, particularly the minorities who seem to be the most affected by the various flaws and failures. If Ms. Cox wants better voting machines, guess she'll have to wait until 2009 when she becomes governor after Barnes exhausts his terms in office — assuming, of course, that she can win with the national average of two out of every 100 votes not being counted for various reasons.
As usual, it would appear that the politicians are hoping the voters will have a short memory and are proceeding to tell the public how their money will be spent without regard to anything the people might actually find useful or desirable.
Maybe Ralph Nader was right after all — the Republicans and Democrats are really just two wings of the same party. In any case, both Barnes and Bush appear to dealing with the voting problem in much the same way. Hey, that's somebody else's worry and what's that got to do with the price of campaign contributions anyway