Wednesday, June 16, 2010

One Man, One Vote?

From AP, via Yahoo:

Voters in Port Chester, 25 miles northeast of New York City, are electing village trustees for the first time since the federal government alleged in 2006 that the existing election system was unfair. The election ends Tuesday and results are expected late Tuesday.

Although the village of about 30,000 residents is nearly half Hispanic, no Latino had ever been elected to any of the six trustee seats, which until now were chosen in a conventional at-large election. Most voters were white, and white candidates always won.

The "remedy" imposed by the judge in this case was to give each voter six votes, instead of just one. Presumably, the small number of Hispanic voters would concentrate their votes on the few Hispanic candidates, boosting their chances at the polls. But, to me, this sounds like "proxy" voting: giving Hispanic voters the right to cast "proxy" votes on behalf of non-citizens.

Now, I should point out that ALL of the voters in this election were given six votes, not just Hispanic voters. But the court's underlying assumption seems to be that non-Hispanic voters would spread their votes out pretty much evenly over the candidates running for office, while the Hispanic voters would tend to concentrate their votes on Hispanic candidates. Unlike most "at-large" elections, where voters can, for example, vote for any six candidates from a slate of twenty, here voters may vote for the same candidate six times.

But how can one audit such a process when the total ballots cast exceeds the number of voters six-fold? And the winning candidates could receive more votes than the number of voters in the election?

Sounds like the voting process in some dictatorial hell-hole, like North Korea or Iran or Paraguay.

Maybe we should add Port Chester, New York to the Axis Of Evil. You got my vote! All six of 'em!

I wonder if it ever occurred to the judge in this case that the reason that no Hispanic had ever won is that so many of them are non-citizens and can't vote.

Perhaps we should consider ourselves fortunate that the judge didn't decide to make them all citizens under some sort of judicial fiat.

But we are all going to face this challenge, nationally, when the results of the 2010 Census are in. No doubt it will show that the number of Hispanic officeholders is far, far below their proportion of the population. And there is also no doubt that "multi-vote" and other wacky and un-democratic "remedies" are going to be proposed on a national scale.

h/t Rustmeister's Alehouse.

1 comment:

Crucis said...

I saw this item as well. It's a direct attack against "One man, One Vote." AFAIK, there has never been such a require limiting one vote per voter and I seem to remember a number of cases where votes were not balanced (property owners having more votes than non-property owners.)

Still, it seems to be a blow to equal representation. Even though Hispanics are half the population, some at least, don't vote (their fault) or vote for non-Hispanics. So,again, what's unfair about that?

This is a pure example of judicial activism that's completely unwarranted.