Monday, December 13, 2010


From time to time, I respond to an online poll, which covers various issues, some serious and some fatuous. Politics are always part of this. I'm asked if I'm a Republican, a Democrat, or an Independent. I truthfully respond that I am a Democrat. (I'm of an independent bent when it comes to voting, but I learned years ago that if I wanted to vote in a primary I needed to be a member of a party.) The next question is whether I'm a "strong" or "not-so-strong" Democrat, and I select the latter.

What I truly regret is the polarization of American politics. So I was delighted when Lisa Murkowski's campaign for write-in votes brought her success last week, long after polling day. Although her "official" Republican candidate (Joe Miller) still has a chance to appeal, the State judge who heard the case said that even if all Sen. Murkowski's challenged votes were tossed, she would still have a clear majority. Even in Sarah Palin's back yard, I really doubt that an appeal would get anywhere for Mr. Miller.

I understand that most of the challenged votes had simply mis-spelled "Murkowski". I do think it appropriate for election officials to support the clear intent of the voter.

However, I am shocked that so many voters, who must often have seen the name "Murkowski", can't spell her name correctly. Are they functionally illiterate?

The elitist in me sometimes wishes we had a simple rule to ensure that only those who can read and write have the right to vote. The egalitarian in me knows that isn't feasible, and that there are folk with (say) some physical disability that are quite capable of choosing for whom to vote, even though they could not pass such a test.

Welcome back, Senator Murkowski! You are now free to vote for what seems best for your constituents and your conscience.

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