Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Long lines = injustice

So I voted in CT where I live this morning, then drove to Pennsylvania -- the swing state where I actually spend most of my time during the semester. Everything went fine. I even remembered to bring a passport, in case anyone there wanted to challenge my right to be there (it wasn't a problem).

But this afternoon I spoke to two people (in Pennsylvania) who went to vote and found the line so long they had to leave before they got to pull the lever. They're both employees of Lehigh's food service, and a) have such long shifts that they'll miss the evening voting hours and b) can't get their bosses to let them come in a little late.

You see the class issues here. A lot of people work in jobs where they can't be late because they wanted to vote; they'll be fired. The same people often live in the areas of highest population density, which are also the areas that are most dependent on social and governmental services that the Republicans like to cut. And needless to say, on a day like today, those are also the areas with the longest lines to vote.

It's a vicious cycle.

[UPDATE: I'm told that it's against the law for employers to punish or fire employees who take time off to vote. I've also been given this link, with state-by-state provisions for 'time off to vote.' Notably, Pennsylvania doesn't have a law on the books on this subject.]

3 comments:

Kenya A. Hudson said...

There were long lines in many cities based on my anecdotal experiences. This is an old trick that county supervisors use to influence the vote at the margins. BTW, I don't know if this assumes parochialism, but Bobby Jindal (from Louisiana) has been projected as the first Indian-American Congressional representative.

Amardeep said...

Kenya, Thanks for the tip on Jindal. It is kind of interesting for the Indian-American community -- though I find it hard to get too excited about him because of his politics. Still, an Indian American in the House of Reps. and an African American in the Senate -- last night wasn't a total loss.

Incidentally, there was another Desi in the House, back in the late 1950s (1958-62, I believe). His name was Dalip Singh Saund; he was in a district in central California where Punjabis have been settled since the early 1910s.

Rob Breymaier said...

Well, I guess it wasnt a joyous night. I guess the silver liing for me is that Illinois is firmly Democratic. But, it's a huge setback.