Posted on November 19, 2000


Thwarting the Will of the Stupid

Ballot culturally biased against Democrats


Daniel Clark


As we've seen from this year's election, Democrats are very easily confused. In fact, confusion is their natural state. It must be, in order for them to believe the things that they do. After all, it is Democrats who believe that high taxes are good for the economy, that gun buy-back programs prevent crime, and that promoting abstinence causes teen pregnancy.

A democrat, exercising its brain

It should come as no surprise, then, that Democrats found the ballot used in Palm Beach County to be extremely confusing. For starters, there were far too many candidates on the ballot. Democrats believed that this election was a decision between good and evil. Since they could see that the candidate at the top of the ballot, Gov. Bush, was evil, they naturally assumed that the dot directly beneath Bush's evil dot would be for the good candidate. Who knew all those other pesky dots would get in the way?

W: Amazingly, the smart one

As it turned out, the dot for Pat Buchanan, also evil, appeared between the Bush and Gore dots. Many Democrats, not anticipating that more than two candidates might be running, went to the polls prepared to vote for the first candidate who was not named Bush, assuming that, by the process of elimination, they would be voting for Gore. In order to be fair to Democrats, the county should have provided ballots featuring only the two major party candidates, perhaps with helpful captions like, "Our hero," or, "No, not him. He's the dumb one, remember?"

Then there were all those confusing arrows, connecting the candidates' names with the corresponding dots. A good Democrat could immediately tell that something was amiss, because the number by his candidate's name was exactly the same as the number of the dot at the other end of the arrow. I mean, what are the odds? It's almost like a triple number hitting in the lottery, which Democrats know is impossible, so if it ever happens, they know it was fixed. So by the law of lottery averages, it's actually more likely that dot number 4, and not dot number 5, would belong to candidate number 5, Al Gore. This bit of reverse psychology tricked thousands of Democrats into voting for candidate 4, Buchanan, instead of Gore, as they somehow realized on their way to their cars after casting their votes.

What remains a mystery is how many Gore supporters actually voted for Bush. Curiously, there were no candidates numbered 1 or 2 on the ballot. Bush, who appeared at the top, was designated the number 3, but Gore was the third candidate listed. Naturally, lots of Democrats, already distrustful of the arrows, punched out dot number 3, thinking they were voting for Gore.

Republicans, on the other hand, did not find the ballot confusing at all. Because of their simplistic, black-and-white view of the world, they believed the arrows, and cast their votes for Bush by punching out the corresponding dot, labeled with the same number. The fact that the tallying of the votes, which obeyed the arrows and numbers, fell in line with Republicans' assumptions indicates a cultural bias against Democrats, which must be addressed if we are to ever discern "the will of the people."

The first step toward making our electoral process more inclusive is for Republicans to empathize with Democrats by seeing things from their confused point of view. To that end, here are a few tips on how to be a Democrat in public, so that you can live their experience, in much the same way that they lie on the pavement for an hour in order to experience homelessness.

Try going to a restaurant, and making the waitress read the menu for you. Say something like, "I don't get it. This number, "8.99," appears right next to the words "spaghetti and meatballs." What in the world is that supposed to mean?

Or go to a gas station, and stand staring at the pump, scratching your head, for as long as it takes until somebody comes along to offer assistance. Then say, "Um ... which button do I press to get regular-unleaded?"

Or you could pull over on the highway and turn your blinkers on, and wait until a patrolman comes to see what the problem is. Then explain, "I think I'm lost, officer. That big green sign says Chicago ... but look where the arrow is pointing. I don't see anything over there but a bunch of cows."

Not only will experiments such as these teach you what it feels like to be a confused Democrat, but they will also help you understand why Democrats think so many people are mean-spirited and hateful. This only serves to compound the confusion, since Democrats take it upon themselves to speak for "the people," but they really don't like or trust them very much.

Having gotten a taste of the Democrat experience, you will easily be able to imagine how difficult it must be for them to vote without assistance. That's why our government has made the whole process easier, by making voter registration as involuntary as possible through the motor-voter law, before which registering to vote was as trying an ordeal as applying for a library card. There are also lots of senior citizen groups, labor unions, and race-based activist groups which will actually pick up Democrats and drive them to the polls (sparing them literally minutes of strenuous walking), and tell them precisely what lever to pull, box to check, or chad to punch out. But it isn't enough.

If you have been successful in learning to think as a Democrat, you must know that the best way to remedy a cultural bias is to lower the standards for the disenfranchised group. For example, every polling place in America should have a separate stack of ballots for Democrats than for Republicans, independents, or members of minor parties. The Democrat ballots would have larger print, color-coded by party to avoid confusion. They would also have the candidates' pictures, embedded with sound chips that say things like, "Hi, I'm Ralph Nader of the Green Party. Please don't throw your vote away." That way, Democrats would be much more likely to punch out the correct chads from the ballot.

But even if they didn't, it wouldn't matter, because the section of the ballot with the punch holes would be torn off and discarded anyway. Unbeknownst to Democrat voters, this would actually be an ordinary checkbox ballot with the Democrat boxes pre-checked, to assure that the clarity of the voters' intent is not blurred by their own erroneous voting.

Next, every Republican who arrives at the polls should be denied entry until he brings along a Democrat to vote with him, for balance. Call it the Voters' Fairness Doctrine. The Democrats, being the disenfranchised group, would not have to bring Republicans along for balance, because the burden of that requirement would be inhibiting.

Finally, to ensure that no confused Democrats are using the ballots intended for the other voters, those other ballots would include the final question, "Are you sure you're not a Democrat?" Rather than checkboxes, there would be a write-in space. Every ballot which does not clearly say "yes" would be discarded. Then an additional ten percent of the remaining ballots would be thrown out, under the assumption that a similar percentage of the voters were Democrats who had misread the question.

Only through the implementation of reforms such as these can we assure the election of as many Democrats as possible.

...Wait a minute, you might say, I thought this was about "fairness." I thought it was about seeing to it that "every vote is counted." I thought it was about reflecting "the will of the people" -- not about producing a desired result for one party or the other. If that is what you think, you are undoubtedly confused. Not surprisingly, it also means that you believed Al Gore.



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