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Exquisite Corpse
Issue 8A Journal of Letters and Life

Mexico: Poll Control
by Randall G. Arnold
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I only recently became aware of a recurring atrocity committed in Mexico that makes my blood burn.
      There's an absurd policy that seriously impacts every Mexican citizen, whether they own a firearm or not.  I'm sorry, but I have to speak out against this outrageous assault on the rights of those hapless victims.
      I'm ranting, of course, about the 3-day vote-counting waiting period.
      Ostensibly implemented to reduce the risk of electoral fraud (and "rage voting", no doubt) by locking the ballot boxes for a few days, this sort of infringement is just more ugly icing on an already tasteless cake.  It's not as if a crime will be committed by allowing immediate access to the ballot boxes!  Gee, you'd think they suspect a correlation between crime and elections.
      Proponents are eager to point to recent elections in Mexico as their basis in fact.  The upsetting of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) after 71 years in power is supposedly an indication that the prescribed gap between the closing of the polls and escrutinio de votos (1) serves a purpose.  I'm sure if we polled Mr. Ernesto Zedillo, outgoing Mexican presidenté, he might have a different take on its effects.  After decades of automatically dismissing the very idea of impugnados (2), the PRI may very well want to rifle through and recount a few ballots of their own.  That'll put a stop to some of those knee-jerking lever-pullers!
      Now, I could care less what asinine procedures are instituted in other countries.  My fear is that some crusading political aspirant in the United States is going to see some merit in the concept of pausing for a few days of voteless, anticlimactic dawdling, and try to get it put in place here.  You know it's going to happen.  Some liberal do-gooder is going to take out television ads warning about the dangers of concealed votes, disposable votes and juvenile voting. Then politicians will take up the cause, debating the merits of punch-card locks and voter competency tests. And rather than help, these tactics would only drive law-abiding voters away from the polls, ensuring that only criminals would kill time by voting.
      In this era of rapidly-eroding individual rights and diminished accountability, it would be hard for this nation of rugged individuals to swallow the necessity of a vote-count waiting period.  Besides a 3-day respite from boring political updates, what's to be gained?  Nothing.  The scary part is, the vote-control agenda wouldn't stop there: next is voter registration.  Oh, sure, they'll make it sound good; isn't that the way with every new regulation?  What they conveniently omit is that the ultimate goal is to make votes completely illegal, hence leaving votes solely in the hands of white-collar criminals.  When this happens, drive-by vote fraud will only increase.  Gangs of vote-toting thugs will cruise from poll station to poll station, stuffing ballot boxes with their ill-gotten gains and voting down any opposition.  Votes will circulate rapid-fire through the gray and black markets, used in assassin fashion against upstanding politicians.  As a result, Voting Under the Influence (VUI) will surely be banned.
      Support for this sort of insanity is political suicide, as Mr. Zedillo can testify.  I'm sure right now the PRI is gunning for those responsible for its loss to Vincente Fox, targeting them with renewed vigor in order to restore some semblance of sense to the electoral process.  I suspect the first order of business for the new Mexican leadership is abolition of the very policy that allegedly helped get them into office.  The last thing they want is for their own weapon to be used against them!  We could certainly learn a lesson from their mistake.

I've personally never seen any conclusive proof presented that the Mexican electoral process was corrupt to begin with, nor evidence shown to favor making people wait to hear the results.  So what if exit polls keep people from the voting booth?  It's a hollow point: if that's all it takes, they probably shouldn't be voting in the first place!  Responsible voters aren't influenced by public opinion anyway, and the few criminals who vote don't really affect the outcome.  Besides, we should be getting tougher on those who abuse their suffrage, not creating more unnecessary regulations!  There are already enough statutes on the books to handle the vote banditos.  Passing ever-stricter rules will only make criminals out of law-abiding citizens who simply want to make their voices, and choices, heard.  Remember; votes don't elect people; people with votes elect people.
      Today a waiting period; tomorrow, illegal votes.  I suggest that all US citizens load up on votes now, while they can still be purchased over the counter!
      You never know when you'll need one in your pocket.

1. escrutinio de votos: review and counting of ballots.

2. impugnados: corrupt ballots. 
: much thanks to Steve Berven for his help in fixing what was wrong with the original article. In addition to the suggestions I liberally sprinkled into the rewrite, here is Steve's hilarious description of voting tactics:

1st Degree - Premeditated, willful voting with intent to alter the outcome of an election.

2nd Degree - Sudden, unplanned voting, usually arising from a brief, irrational feeling of intense political or social responsibility.

3rd Degree - Accidental or negligent voting. You didn't mean to do it. You thought  you were buying a lotto ticket. Or maybe you got drunk the night before, and woke up with an 'I Voted' button on your lapel, and have no idea how it got there.

      Steve, you need a job?

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