You often don’t know you’ve missed it until its gone.
So today’s news that Sara Kyle won’t seek the office of Governor, seems in a lot of ways like a missed opportunity…for a lot of people, and not just Mrs. Kyle.
Let me first say, I don’t begrudge Kyle her decision. She has real-world things to deal with…and that’s something everyone involved knew from the beginning. Its also not surprising because as the proprietor of the Draft Sara Kyle website, I hadn’t heard a thing from any of the folks that motivated me to spend my time or energy on the project since September.
I’m not begrudging them either…just sayin’.
But it does give Democrats a teachable moment…if nothing else, and that is “Don’t wait your turn”. Because time moves fast. Faster than you think. And opportunity moves faster…especially when you’re sitting still.
And the unfortunate thing about Kyle’s potential but not realized entrance into the Gubernatorial race is that for many people (but not all), the opportunity to mount a challenge has passed them by.
That doesn’t mean Democrats won’t have a candidate. It just means it will be harder for them to get organized in time.
I met Terry in September at Jackson Day.
He’s a young, successful guy that has ties to all three divisions in the state.
And even though, back in September, the odds of him having a chance against Lamar! looked long, he did it anyway. He built a door.
See, back then all folks could think about was that Lamar!, a former Governor of Tennessee, US Dept. of Education Secretary, and two term Senator was too well loved by the state to warrant a challenge.
Then in early December, a Vanderbilt University Poll found that Lamar!’s approval rating sat at just 49%.
Now, if Adams had waited for his opportunity, it might have whizzed by. He built a door.
It still remains to be seen if Adams can mount a full throttle challenge to Lamar!. As of Sept. 30th, Lamar! had some $2.8m in his campaign coffers. But the point is, Adams wouldn’t even have a prayer if he had waited for his opportunity.
He has one now, and I hope that you will consider supporting him in his campaign.
Too often I hear people talk about “waiting their turn”. This is a notion based on the old days of politics when bosses ran things. There might be bosses in the GOP, but the Democratic party is a free for all right now in dire need of leadership, and with lots of opportunity for fresh faces.
There’s no reason you can’t be one of them.
Friday, January 3rd is the first day you can pull a petition for state or federal office. There are 99 State House seats, 17 State Senate Seats, 1 Gubernatorial, 1 Senatorial, and 9 US Congressional races that are waiting for people to file. And don’t get me started on all the local races that will be open statewide this year. For many of them, you can already pull a petition!
Filing is easy. Just 25 signatures from registered voters in the district you seek to represent. Click the link for a more detailed description of the requirements.
But it doesn’t happen if you don’t decide to build a door and take your opportunity.
Democrats in Tennessee have got to stop waiting and start building doors if we want to find our way out of the woods. That may make some of the old guard uncomfortable…but then, you’re not likely to move when you’ve made a permanent indention in your cushiony seat now, are you?
At that time I linked to a lot of things…including the intention to cut the number of precincts to 150 from 236.
Last year’s precinct consolidation meant many voters didn’t get cards with their new location until the day of the election. It can’t have helped that the decision was made just a month before early voting was to begin…or that the body was so far behind on their redistricting procedure they fouled up the August state primary…leading to threats from the State Election Commission, a rebuke from the state Comptroller for shoddy management, two overturned elections, a further fouled up November election, and yet another rebuke…this time from the County.
Quite a resume, no?
So its probably easy to understand why someone might look at the current move with a skeptical eye.
The Election Commission is reportedly meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, October 15th at the Election Operations Center at 980 Nixon. I have no idea what’s on the agenda because it doesn’t appear on the website, nor does a meeting notice. Normal time for meetings is 4:30, but I recommend you call ahead…just to be sure. The number is 222-1200.
As you can see, transparency is highly valued at the Election Commission…even the minutes are months behind.
But according to sources this list of precinct consolidations will be up for discussion.
The 58,000 voters in the precincts that would be shut down, are 74% Democratic voters. That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise considering the partisan breakdown of the Election Commission, and the general partisan leanings of the county (which is at least 70% Democratic in November elections).
But the partisan leanings of the precincts, isn’t really the issue…its the disclosure to the voters.
There hasn’t been any…again.
If you’re concerned about these, or any other actions of the Election Commission, I recommend you go to one of their meetings. Maybe even ask a question or two. Public meetings aren’t sexy, but they are where things get done. If you don’t like what’s happened and what’s happening, you owe it to yourself to go. Nothing happens for people who don’t show up.
Here’s the information again.
Election Operations Center
Wednesday, October 14th, 4:30PM.
The meeting is open to the public.
Ed. Note:Corrected issue of appointment to fill Reginald Porter’s seat.The morning’s announcement of a decision in the contested election results of School Board Dist. 4 brings up a lot of issues just weeks before the School Board is set to shift from 23 members to 7.
The first issue is the now upcoming election. When will it be and what assurances will be made that the same problems will not mar the upcoming election?
Despite the assurances that the November election would be trouble free, a report from February showed that more than 400 voters in one precinct received the wrong ballot in one precinct that either mistakenly had, or didn’t have the City’s gas tax referendum.
But the upcoming election may not be the biggest fish to fry, or knot to untangle, and the questions could come before Judge Mays to decide.
The first question: Who, if anyone, will occupy the seat after the school board contracts to seven districts on September 1st.
Judge Mays has already determined that one seat could be left vacant until next year…the seat formerly held by Reginald Porter. Updated:The County Commission is set to appoint someone to fill the seat of Reginald Porter on September 9th…assuming it doesn’t get delayed. Will the Judge change course and allow an election on that seat at the same time? If the election is held in conjunction with the City sales tax referendum on Pre-K funding, ganging up those two seats might not be a bad idea, and would save some money for sure.
The second question, and perhaps more thorny, is that of decisions made by the school board since the certification of the August 2012 election. As Leftwingcracker points out, many of the decisions were narrow, by one vote. Will those decisions stand now that the election has been deemed irrevocably damaged or will the Judge call them into question? That’s a knot that could take a long while to deal with.
I would be surprised if Whalum didn’t ask Judge Mays to rule on these issues. Upon hearing the ruling from Chancellor Kenny Armstrong, that was the first thing I thought he would do. That’s what I would have done.
But the biggest question, one that goes well beyond the scope of the School Board, is who in the world can trust this Election Commission to do their job at this point. Between the August 2012 election that gave wrong ballots to thousands of voters and the November 2012 election that did the same to 400 voters in one precinct alone (mentioned above), who in their right mind actually thinks this Election Commission, and more importantly, this Election Administrator can do the job and conduct an election free of these kinds of completely avoidable errors.
There’s no question the Republican Shelby County Election Commissioners won’t have the guts to do what their counterparts in Nashville did just a few months ago. If anything, the local Republican Election Commissioners have doubled down in their support of Richard Holden, who they continue to allow to spread mistruths about the how and why of the problems in the August 2012 election, even after being rebuked by the Secretary of State’s office and a Comptroller’s report.
The next couple of days should be interesting. Between the school and election issues, I can’t help but believe we haven’t heard the end of this issue…and the issues surrounding it.
Election Day is over, and despite some local reports of problems with too few machines in some places and malfunctioning machines in others…it seems to have gone pretty smoothly. Regardless of your political bent, we should all be thankful for that.
|It wasn’t that way for everyone, as the video to the left shows. No matter how many times this voter pushes one button, another lights up. It’s pretty freaky if you ask me and more than a little troubling.
This video is from Pennsylvania, not Tennessee. While the problem here is more likely a calibration issue, it certainly doesn’t do much to make folks feel like their vote is secure.
The truth is, the last thing people want is to feel like something shady is going on. That’s the rationale for all kinds of laws that impact voting.
The issue with touch-screen voting is and always has been the lack of a verifiable paper trail. As someone who works with computers all day, and so many of us do these days, we’ve all experienced the “I just lost everything” problem at one time or another. Touchscreen voting machines are just computers. In the absence of a paper trail, we might never know when that happens with touchscreen machines when they catastrophically fail.
In 2006 we made an investment in these machines. It was a bad investment if you ask me. At the time it took Democratic support to get these machines. I get that. But this wasn’t a strictly partisan issue then and it isn’t one now. I think both parties agree that unverifiable elections are unacceptable regardless of who’s in charge.
Since 2006, the company that first made the machines, Diebold, has gotten out of the election business, and many states have moved back to paper ballots.
Considering all the challenges we have here in Shelby Co., the fear about a correct count shouldn’t be one of them. We need to join the two Tennessee counties that got it right in the first place and the many states and local election commissions nationwide that are making the change and adopt paper ballots.
It just makes good sense, and right now is the right time.
Our next County-wide election isn’t until May of 2014…the County Primary. That gives us 17 months to prepare.
This won’t be the only change at the Election Commission. Word on the street is that there’s a top to bottom internal review in the near future, not to mention the Election Review Committee that the County Commission empaneled (of which I am a member). Integrating the shift to paper ballots in the reform process is both an efficient and intelligent way to restore confidence in the process.
There’s a lot more that needs to be done at the Election Commission, but removing one of the key sticking points, the lack of a verifiable paper trail, is one way to begin restoring confidence in the institution tasked with executing our elections.
We should all push to adopt paper ballots now. Here’s how to contact the members of the Shelby County Election Commission: