Thursday, June 10, 2004

The smart thing to do if you're running for governor and the Secretary of State offers to help you in your election bid is to take him up on it. And that's exactly what Matt Blunt is doing. He knows most of those St. Louis city folks aren't voting for him, that's for sure. So when the Secretary of State (Matt Blunt himself) offers to nix a plan to make it easier for city residents to vote, the gubernatorial candidate (Matt Blunt) doesn't hesitate to accept the offer.
The new plan offers early voting opportunities in the city this November. In hopes of preventing the confusion and crowded polls of St. Louis on election night 2000, five polling places would be open for two weeks prior to the election. But Blunt and Mayor Slay disagree over the provision of the state election law that lays out the plan. Slay contends the law requires early voting. Blunt insists that early voting is just a proposed experiment--one that will occur only if the state funds it. The brouhaha may well end up in court, just as the fracas did over when the gay marriage amendment would appear on the ballot. In both cases, Blunt has dragged his feet in an effort to benefit Republicans.
And both cases involve doublethink. In the gay marriage case, Blunt lost his argument in the Missori Supreme Court and then accused liberals of manipulating justice by using activist judges--this despite his support for a Republican plank that recommends installing anti-abortion judges as often as possible. Doublethink. In the case of early voting, Blunt has been recommending it for several years. Now that it might work against him, however, he pretends that funding is the roadblock. Hardly. The city itself and the Election Board have set aside $75,000. Money isn't the problem. The problem is that Blunt has two opposite opinions about the same issue--depending on who benefits. And that's doublethink.
Even Paul DeGregorio, a Republican on the federal commission to improve voting procedures, advocates early voting. DeGregorio, a former St. Louis County elections director, worked as a consultant to the city Election Board after the 2000 mess. As long as we're stuck with a Republican for Secretary of State, it's too bad it can't be someone like DeGregorio.

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