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Posts published in “Day: September 24, 2006”

One in a million

When we started voting in elections back in the mid-70s in Idaho, the procedure was that we'd walk into the polling place, announce our names, receive a ballot, vote, and drop the ballot into a box, at which point one of the poll workers would announce that we - by name - had voted. It was a simple process, and there wasn't a lot of special security attached to it, but it seemed to work. Hardly ever did you see a report of anyone casting a ballot who shouldn't have done.

In that, that's close to how it's still done, and it still works. In some places in recent years you're required to show some form of identification, but that's usually not too difficult a task - most of us have some sort of identifying paperwork.

The new Federal Election Integrity Act, on the other hand, is another in the long line of federal measures in recent years which is closer to the opposite of what its name portends, because elections of integrity are in no way being addressed and are actually being attacked. The more serious threats to election integrity involve such concerns as hackable voting machines and efforts to suppress voting; this bill does nothing to help in that area. On the other hand, this bill does its bit to suppress voting, by imposing ever more intensive document requirements ("are your papers in order?") to cast a vote. The effect is going to be a discouraging of people to vote.

It will have special impact on mail-voting places like Oregon, where voters will have to send copies of documents like birth certificates through the mail to cast a vote. (more…)

Linda Smith’s uncommon road

In the last decade, Linda Smith's travels as an activist conservative Christian took her into politics, successfully for a decade and a half, through the state legislature, to the U.S. House and finally to a ran for the U.S. Senate, for which she won a tough contested primary and lost the general, to Democat Patty Murray.

Linda SmithHer path as an activist conservative Christian then took an abruptly different direction. It might have led to a comfortable job lobbying or at a D.C. think tank. Instead, she visited places like the child sex depth of the red light district in Mumbai (Bombay) and the sex clubs of Tokyo.

At Bombay, she paused to try to communicate with one of the child prostitutes, and recalled, "It was as if God himself were whispering, 'Touch her for Me.' I reached out to touch her shoulder. In that moment, my life changed forever. She was so utterly unloved in the world that my simple gesture overwhelmed her. God used that desperate, foul-smelling little girl to send me down a remarkable path. Out of that experience came the birth of our ministry."

Smith apparently remains the conservative Christian she was back when, but now notes how she works with feminist organizations in mutual efforts. Her organization, Shared Home International - self-described as "Leading a worldwide effort to eradicate the
marketplaces of sexual life at a time" - evidently makes alliances wherever useful, something probably easier to do outside of the partisan political world. Her organization has an office in D.C., but is based in Vancouver.

All of this comes up in a fine profile piece in the Vancouver Columbian, recommended reading.