An Equal Hazard - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1880534

An Equal Hazard

To my fellow Westhampton resident Mike Anthony, who disagreed with my sense of fairness over voting rules [“Make It Easier,” Letters, February 3]: I actually agree with your criticism of the unfairness of inefficient and slow vote casting in any district. I wouldn’t want to spend hours on a line waiting my turn.

But this is not what the voting law reformers are really looking for, because more sites open on Election Day would be amenable to Republicans. I’d even be strongly for Election Day being a national holiday. Problem solved.

The rest of the early absentee voting and identification argument is a charade designed to create the gross potential for abuse. Again, if it is difficult for the Democrat voter, it is equally uncomfortable for their Republican counterpart. Uninspired voters are an equal hazard to both parties.

In news you may have missed, our 1st Congressional District was strategically reconfigured on January 31 by Democrat state legislators [“New Congressional Districting Could Load NY-1 In Favor Of Democrats, Carve Out East Quogue, Westhampton Into New District,”, February 1]. So, what did this accomplish? It took our district and three other Republican-held districts and changed their confines so that voting patterns that had been favorable to Republican candidates would be reallocated to assist Democrats in winning those seats.

Gerrymandering is the term for this election rigging, and it happens in red states as well as blue ones. Here in New York, of the 26 seats held, eight are currently Republican. Faced with a midterm election that will likely be a harsh rebuke of Democrat governance, Democrats are desperate to hold on to power. The newly contrived Democrat configuration will likely eliminate half of the eight Republican districts.

The original purpose for gerrymandering was to reformulate districts so that the opposing parties were more or less at parity. This, in theory, would lead to the election of the best candidate from either side and conceivably make it possible to vote out an unwanted official. But politics and politicians have turned it into a strictly partisan effort to guarantee their perpetual hold of their coveted offices. Note how many of our most powerful politicians have been serving outlandishly long terms.

Also note how brazenly they can behave when denouncing opposing legislation or opponents. This is directly attributable to their confidence in not being voted out of their office. This invincibility has contributed to the partisanship we see at work in our government. It is far too easy to retreat from compromise when politicians are unafraid of voters turning on them.

This self-serving insulation from voter accountability has inevitably led to the careerism and elitism that we suffer with today.

Ed Surgan