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Predatory payday loans are bad news

Recently the Trump administration reversed a rule put into place under Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that had protected vulnerable borrowers from amassing untenable debts from payday loans companies. The CFPB, for whom we can thank Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), was created to protect all consumers from the predatory business practices of Wall Street banks, credit card companies, and payday loan businesses that have been known to charge annual interest rates upwards of 700% or more! Al Capone is rolling in his grave over that one.

While I personally believe these predatory businesses should not be allowed to exist, I’m not calling for their elimination. Still, something must be done about these outrageous interest rates they are able to charge the most vulnerable among us. Who do you suppose use these services the most? The working poor specifically and the black communities generally, that’s who! Why should these hard working Americans, who sometimes work two (and even three) jobs trying to make ends meet be forced into these never-ending cycles of high-interest payday loans? I cannot imagine anyone (outside payday loan owners) who can possibly defend an APR of up to 700% just because the people borrowing the money might possibly have bad credit. So, what amount of interest is acceptable?

There are a few choices here. First, we can call upon every elected official, from city councils on up to Congress, to do what the states of Oregon and Colorado have already done; to pass a law that caps the interest rates these predatory companies can charge. However, the state of Oregon failed in stopping these predatory borrowers from rolling over their loans up to two times, meaning those who can least afford these massively high interests rate payday loans end up repaying the same fees all over again, only to continue borrowing money they had already borrowed. So, if Illinois were to go this route, these companies must not be allowed to roll over these loans. Clearly, allowing them to do this, even if the interest rate was capped at 36%, would allow them to undermine that provision in the law.

Second, there is a bill in Congress supported by Sens. Warren, Bernie Sanders, and other leading progressive voices that would allow the U.S. Post Office to reintroduce limited forms of banking, like paycheck cashing and small loans with super-low interest rates. According to the Office of the Inspector General to the Post Office, nearly 25% of all American households (about 68 million families) do not have a checking or savings account and thus are unable to access the banking systems much safer loaning. These families collectively end up spending about $90 billion per year in fees and interest to these predatory payday loan sharks, each averaging $2,412 per year — nearly as much as they may spend on food per year. Every community has a post office nearby, so going back to having them facilitate banking services would make sense.

Third, I refer back to my campaign promise, during my run for the county board, about the need and eventual creation of county and state public banks. The very existence of a public bank has the potential to help us rid ourselves of these unnecessary predatory payday loan businesses in our county and state. Whatever direction we end up going is a step in the correct direction. Clearly, this is but a piece of the overall economic puzzle. But as long as there are people who are already struggling to make ends meet, the least we can do as a community is keep these predatory practices from fleecing those folks even more. So, now is the time for you, the reader, to email or call every elected official you know, telling them that even though some people may make the bad choice to go to one of these predatory payday loan sharks, we shouldn’t be giving these businesses the right to take advantage of them in their time of need. Let us all do the right thing, and stop these predatory businesses from taking advantage of vulnerable  people.

Sources:

HuffPo –> Here 

OppLoans –> Here

Salon –> Here


Thank you

I want to thank the roughly 46% of voters who believed in me and my solutions on Nov 6th. I also want to thank every single person who donated, volunteered when they could, endorsed me, posted a comment, or spoke about my campaign in any positive way. To each of you I am humbled and will forever appreciate all that you did and gave. Now I want to make it clear that my loss does not in any way take away from my platform or solutions. That just because I was unable to speak to every constituent in the district doesn’t mean the majority of the people would not have agreed with my solutions and voted for me if I had. Considering the many conversations I did have, especially with Republican voters things might have gone differently. But they didn’t and I’m okay with that.

Nevertheless I am absolutely convinced that our county leaders can save millions in taxpayer dollars every single year and create an opportunity to lower property taxes without hurting revenue streams by pursuing and implementing the nearly 100 year old Republican lead idea of public banking as they did in the state of North Dakota. Such a public bank would not have a need for any brick and mortar buildings, tellers, or ATM’s. No individual taxpayers or businesses would have accounts at a public bank, so a public bank would not compete against but instead partner with all existing banks and credit unions. However, any taxing body within the county interested in saving taxpayer dollars certainly could.

By creating a countywide public bank they and all taxing bodies within the county can avoid creating new regressive sales taxes or sell the messy potential that bonds sometimes offer to pay for infrastructure and job creation programs. North Dakota has on average a 1.05% property tax because of their nearly 100 year old public state bank. Such a countywide public bank would also offer them a chance to stop looking for non-economically viable revenue streams like video gaming that only serves to fill local government coffers at the expense of low income people. There’s even the potential for ridding ourselves of those high interest predatory cash and loan stores that prey upon the working poor. One last thing about a possible public bank is that North Dakota has been the only state in America to run in the black every single year since it chartered its public bank in 1920. That includes the Great Depression beginning in 1929 and the more recent Great Recession in 2008, the affects of which we still feel to this day.

Once a public bank is chartered they could then pursue investing in a countywide publicly funded broadband Wi-Fi service as more than 180 other American communities and counties have done. This has the potential of turning our county into a mid-west tech hub. There’s also Property Assessed Clean Energy or PACE financing that would allow any small business owner to upgrade their business into the 21st century without any upfront costs and have up to twenty five years to pay back the loan. PACE could potentially be used for homeowners who wish to customize and upgrade their homes with 21st century green technology in much the same way businesses can use this financing tool.

For myself, I’m happy continuing on being a school bus driver driving my precious cargo to and from home and school and political activist for causes I believe in. I ran for office in hopes of getting on the inside so these ideas could be spoken about from within. It wasn’t meant to be, but my ideas, if looked at with clear eyes and open minds can certainly be done without my presence on the county board. It is my hope that members of the county board and administration, every taxing body within the county, every bank and credit union trustee and manager, city councilor and mayor, other elected officials, the media, and you, the worker and homeowner who would directly benefit from these ideas would research this concept to help grow the conversation. I’m all too happy to continue to push this idea, but I cannot do it alone. Together, we can do what is right for the greater good of us all. You need only go HERE for more specifics and details on what public banking can do for us.

Dirty slimy politics is all they got

Got a phone call today from a super sweet lady who had received one of my fliers the other day, but who also received the following (see photo below) sleazy, slimy, disgusting, dirty political bull cookies one expects from desperate good ole boys who have zero platform, little decency, and are undoubtedly scared to death that I might actually pull off a victory on Tuesday, November 6th, 2018.
 
This lady informed me that she was going to research my opponent, but as soon as she got this flier, she told me “her bullshit detector went off.” Her actual words not mine. And she decided then and there she was voting for me. I can only hope that this lady is not alone in her initial gut feeling about this blatant smear written about me on this despicable hit piece by the current sheriff on my opponents behalf.
 
My guess is a couple thousand folks got this flier in the mail which takes two single sentences from a SEVEN PARAGRAPH opinion piece I wrote two years ago this opinion piece  so completely and grossly out of context that it would be laughable if not for the serious nature of what is at stake. I am truly hurt by this flier. It angers me that my ability to fight back is severely limited. More on that later …
My opponent called my fact based allegations into his crummy business practices and his receiving a $1000 “donation” from the law firm which represents the asphalt plant that he voted YES to recommend be built despite the knowledge that the proposed location sit directly atop the local watershed for 40,000 of our fellow citizens via a 3rd party as “mud slinging”.
NO! Mud slinging is taking two sentences of a nearly 1000 word column completely out of context and printing that on a political flier days before the election in hopes that the spreading of such a flat out lie might work! THAT is mud slinging at best, sleazy slimy desperate politics at worst. It also shows a complete lack of respect to the voters that they send such a pathetic hit piece and hope enough people will fall for it? Quick curve, but if you’ve gotten this far, be sure to check out my solutions page before you leave.
 
These deep insiders to the local political machine have plenty of money to spread their propaganda about me to the voters at the last possible moment before the upcoming election, and they know I don’t. So this last minute slimy sleaze attack against me … all I really have to fight back with is my website and my small sphere of social media friends. So if any of you care about the truth getting out there, I need your help to spread the facts. Copy/paste the link and share it! 

A Necessary Response

What does it say about how bad things really are in the political realm that Laborers Local 32 out of Cherry Valley endorsed my Republican opponent for the county board? Recall this is the very same union which SUED my opponent back in May 2017 for nonpayment of $168k to that unions pension funds! As far as I can tell, that suit is still ACTIVE?  Even if it is closed, remember that throughout the time the suit was (is?) active that there has been late payments, missed payments, and at least two bounced checks! Not to mention the local unions lawyers have given him and his company many opportunities to clear it all up.
In my mind, this “endorsement” from Local 32 doesn’t mean very much under these circumstances. The fact is my opponent got SUED for nonpayment to a contractor. THAT gets to the core of what’s at stake here! A good question to ask would be, why? Why did this union endorse a man who not only stiffed them, but apparently never paid back the full amount owed? All the facts to back up these two claims can be found HERE
 
My opponent recently called my calling out his bad business practices and accepting a $1000 payment from the law firm which represents the asphalt plant he voted YES to recommend be built despite full knowledge the proposed location sits directly atop the local fresh watershed for some 40,000 of our fellow citizens as “mud slinging”. Which is code for “I don’t want to talk about it, hey look, SQUIRREL!” … if only I hadn’t discovered those pesky documents to back up my claims, huh?
 
He also states that I spend all my time attacking him instead of what I bring to the table. That is laughable to say the least. Check out any of my social media and sure, you’ll see a few mentions about the facts I expose about him. But mostly you will see my mentions of potential solutions I bring to the table. Go to my Solutions page and check it out. Some good stuff in there.
 
Anyway, recall that I was endorsed by IBEW Local 364, Rockford United Labor, and AFSCME Council 31, I fully support a brand new Labor Bill of Rights , I helped start a union at First Student in Belvidere in 2010, and have been a member of HFT Local #540 since 2011 getting elected by my peers as secretary, vice-president, and building rep. 

RRStar candidate Q&A for 2018 election

The following questions were sent to me by the Rockford Register Star, the paper of record for Winnebago County. They are likely going to be printed in their Sunday, November 4th edition. But I don’t want to wait that long …

1. Why are you running? Most people are aware the Democratic Party has been in control of the state legislature for some time now. But few may realize that for the past twenty plus years, the GOP has had majority rule of our county board. If elected I will certainly bring something that our county board has never had before, and that is a truly grassroots progressive perspective. I don’t own a business and so I have no conflicts of interest that can create potential problems with politicians at any level of government. I have zero use, care, or want to be a member of the good ole boys network and have even less use, care, or want for backroom deals and/or the status quo which has stagnated our county board for decades and has turned people off from having much trust in their local government. I’m a signatory of the American Anti-Corruption Act and Represent.US and feel the people of this county deserve representation that is 100% citizen focused. The special interests, lobbyists, and lawyers can all stand in line like everyone else as I speak, listen to, and treat each individual who seeks me out, regardless of their political leanings with the respect they deserve.

2. Have you ever held an elected office? If so, which one and when did
you serve? I was elected as a precinct captain for the Winnebago Democratic Party for Rockford 51 in March 2014 and March 2016 and then Rockford 25 in March 2018, was also elected as my local (HFT #540 transportation) union secretary in 2012 and its vice-president in 2014 and 2016, and was recently elected to be a delegate for Our Revolution of N. Illinois, the offshoot stemming from the Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential run.

3. What can the Winnebago County Board do to balance future budgets
without relying on reserve spending? The latest fiscal budget was recently passed so there is little I could do in the short term. But rest assured, if I’m elected I will be going over the budget with a fine tooth comb over the next year to see which special interests no longer need a welfare check from us to sustain themselves. In the mean time, I say we follow the playbook the Republicans from the state of North Dakota have followed for the last 98 years, and that is by chartering a countywide public bank modeled after their state bank. This public bank would partner with all existing banks and credit unions in our county. We would also be saving our county millions in interest payments alone as those payments would stay here instead of being siphoned off to Wall Street or some far away corporate HQ enriching some fat cat. These saved funds could then be reinvested for new job growth, public safety, and other badly needed social programs like the arts. And as North Dakota’s 1.05% average property tax level shows, the potential for much lowered property taxes here certainly exists. In a nutshell with a public bank we would essentially be kicking Wall Street, its insiders, and to a certain extent our state legislature to the curb from having much say in how we conduct our economic affairs here in our own county. Unfortunately, since we don’t have home rule here in Winnebago County we would need state legislature approval to charter such a public bank to even try. Which is why I’ve already spoken with more than a dozen current and wannabe state reps and a few state senators on the hope this concept becomes accepted by the people of this county and the rest of the county board. But since we don’t have a county bank right now, I will now state unequivocally that I am very much against the idea of cutting spending on any locally based social program to make ends meet! Nearly every single penny that goes towards any social programs is spent right back into our local economy. History has shown time and again that cutting any aspect of the social safety net hurts everybody, including small businesses, and certainly those who need it most. For more on public banking go to my Solutions page or HERE

4. What can the county do to draw more businesses to the area? Lowering crime would clearly help open the door for more business to come in or get started by good local folks who would love the chance. I suspect as our local economy improves over time our crime rates will lower over time as well. How can we improve our business acumen? Well, it wouldn’t hurt to join with the more than 180 communities across America that have invested in public Wi-Fi internet services. Doing so has the potential to turn us into a tech hub for the mid-west. We should also start implementing the use of property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing for small businesses as Kane and DuPage counties started using recently that would allow any business owner to upgrade their businesses into the 21st century at no upfront costs. These businesses would have up to 25 years to pay back this upfront financing through either a local utility or perhaps a future county bank? It would also be a huge benefit to expand upon the relationships between the school districts, RVC, Rockford University, and union trades both private and public. Go back and restart programs like Habitat for Humanity where high school students learn carpentry, plumbing, and electrical work and startups like I-Read (with kindergartners) of which I now proudly serve that gets young children motivated to read more, and an expanded curriculum of college level classes in high school, and perhaps help fund greenhouses for every middle school so young teens can learn how to grow their own food.

5. What other issues are important to you and the constituents in your
district, and how would you address those issues? I have knocked on many doors over the past year and have had many wonderful conversations with so many folks. The top two most talked about issues are jobs and public safety. There are many ways to create and bring jobs to our region. First, we really should invest in public Wi-Fi whether we create a county bank or not. This act alone will bring well paying tech jobs into our region practically overnight. Second, we could attempt the idea of micro-loans for potential small businesses. Third, and I’m not saying we follow Galena, IL’s example fully, but that small city is doing very well by keeping the large multi-national corporations like Wal-Mart far enough away from their downtown thank you very much that their downtown is thriving well enough. Fourth, yes, I’m running for a northeast side district, but there is little doubt the west side of Rockford has been largely ignored for far too long. I do think an investment to rebuild the infrastructure on that part of Rockford is in order. In fact, that area should be the first wide area of our county to have any public Wi-Fi if we were to go there. For those who are serious about reducing crime, one of the best remedies in helping to reduce crime is to give people decent jobs with a livable wage and a hopeful outlook for the future. I’m pretty sure the people of my northeast side district would appreciate a slowly lowering crime rate overall as the west side of Rockford gets even half the attention the rest of the area does, which itself will improve the rest of our county. Everybody wins.

Important update on my opponent you need to know …

Backup to my claims –> Docket1  Docket2

In early May this year I learned that my opponent for the Winnebago County Board, Jasmin “Jas” Bilich, and his construction company Bosly Construction, LLC were sued for nonpayment by several union pension funds of Fox Valley Local 32 based out of Cherry Valley to the tune of $168,207.80 in May 2017. As of July 26th, 2018 he and his company have managed to reduce the amount owed to $21,786.24, but not before several missed payments and at least two payments of $14,811.87 and $7,613.85 being bounced back as non-sufficient-funds.

Having checks of such considerable size, with some sent after promised due dates being returned as NSF is bad enough. That even with extra time Bilich still couldn’t get the funds together? Why hire someone to do work if you cannot afford to pay all promised funds in full in a timely manner or without having the court system force your hand? Speaking of which, but judging by the history of this story as public records show, I’d say the Laborers Local 32 out of Fox Valley have been far too generous towards Mr. Bilich and his company, giving up sizable chunks of what is owed while offering Bilich and Bosly several opportunities to catch up.

A couple years ago Mr. Bilich was appointed to the Winnebago County Board Zoning Board of Appeals where he recently voted YES to recommend that asphalt plant be built in the middle of a quarry — a quarry that happens to sit directly on top of the main supply of fresh clean drinking water for roughly 40,000 of our fellow Winnebago County citizens. **Following UPDATE added on 10/23/18** Barely six weeks ago on September 4th Jas’ campaign received $1100 from James Hughes who ran for Rockford mayor last year. $100 from himself, which doesn’t bother me as he is close friends with the Bilich family. But the $1000 appears not to have come from Mr. Hughes own pocket, but rather in the form of a donation received on August 31 by a certain law firm; Guyer & Enichen, PC to be exact. This is the law firm that represents the asphalt plant which Jas Bilich voted YES to recommend be built despite its then known proximity to the local water shed. I leave it up to you to interpret this new information that is readily available on the Illinois State Board of Election website on your own. Click HERE and HERE for direct links to the transactions that back my assertion from the ISBOE website. **END UPDATE** Do you really want this level of incompetency, lack of judgment, mismanagement, and ethical question marks on the Winnebago County Board? I sure don’t.

Now I read Jas’ personal family story on his website on how he and they ended up in the Rockford area. It is short, yet powerful, heartfelt, and part of what America is all about story. We can and should applaud him for taking the risk of starting a company. But this seeming inability to balance his company’s checkbook, pay his bills for work rendered, forcing the courts to make him pay up, his questionable vote of approval for that asphalt plant, and the open question as to what the $1000 was for simply cannot be ignored. It astonishes me that Mr. Bilich — with all this going on with his construction company has had the audacity to toss his hat into the ring to try and become an elected official of our county board in the first place. How can he look into people’s eyes and honestly tell them that he would be a good steward of their tax dollars if he can’t even be a good steward of his own company’s finances or that he accepts donations that may be ethically challenging at best. In my mind this entire episode reads like a badly written novel based on Donald Trump’s business model of hire, don’t pay, and hope no one notices. Minus the bankruptcies of course.

As for myself, I’m a decade long public sector union school bus driver, a political activist, and unapologetic Bernie Sanders supporter and I bring to the table a variety of fresh, bold ideas that few politicians talk about. Like a countywide public bank modeled after the 98 year old Republican created State Bank of North Dakota that could potentially save our county millions in taxpayer dollars every year that can create an opportunity for lower property taxes for all, investing in public broadband Wi-Fi internet services that could help transform us into a Midwest tech hub, turning our county animal services into a no-kill facility, creating a livable wage so more of our people can participate in our economy, and property assessed clean energy financing that can help bring existing and future businesses into the 21st Century without hurting their bottom line. 

Those of you who live in District 20 of our county board certainly have a choice to make on November 6th. You can vote for yet another status quo small business wannabe good ole boy insider or for someone not interested in being part of some clique, who wants to make a difference for all, who has many bold, fresh outside the box ideas and is willing to fight for all of them on your behalf. One last thing … I highly encourage you to research my opponents “Issues” or “Solutions” page and compare it to mine. Oh wait, never mind … he doesn’t have one.

Flyer Drop for David

NEEDED:

Willing volunteers to help hand deliver campaign flyers

Saturday, September 1st  (and if needed) Sunday, September 2nd

to every door in the county board district MAP HERE

If interested, please meet with me at

Beefaroo @ 6380 E Riverside Blvd, Loves Park, IL 61111

on Sunday, August 26th at 3pm to discuss.

**********************************************************************************

Anyone who volunteers will be automatically invited to my Election night party at

GreenFire Restaurant @ 6795 E Riverside Blvd, Rockford, IL 61114

Festivities shall begin at 5:30pm

Rockford forum on crime and drugs was typical propaganda

So I went to the Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-16) town hall event this evening at the Veterans Memorial Hall in Rockford, Illinois and I was not impressed. There were eight speakers, the aforementioned Congressman, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-17), mayor Larry Morrissey of Rockford, FBI Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Steve Jensen, Rockford Chief of Police Daniel O’Shea, Deputy Chief at Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office Mark Karner, and Executive Director of Transform Rockford Mike Schablaske, and a representative from the local DEA office whose name I cannot remember. In the audience were several members of the Rockford city council, a few county board members, several candidates for local office (including me of course) and a few movers and shakers in and around the region.

Each of the people on stage was given the chance to speak. Some spoke for a couple minutes, a couple spoke for nearly ten minutes, and the only one to say anything even remotely close speaking on what truly ails our community was Mr. Schablaske. Even then, his was a brief mention about single mom’s and dad’s having to work two or three jobs and as a result can hardly be home to watch their children. There was one good moment from Mr. Jensen if I recall correctly where he touched on how he believes small time criminals of the younger persuasion should not be arrested, but instead be brought before the parents with offers of finding outreach programs for the child meant to lead these younger people away from future criminal problems. I agree.

Every single speaker touched on all the well known propaganda used against drugs the last several decades. From everything that had to do with how drugs are destroying our communities. How drugs are gateways to crime. Drugs are poison. How petty crime to pay for the next “high” leads to more violent crimes. I do wholly agree that drugs are a problem and many are poison (more on that in a minute) but drugs by themselves are not the cause of our societal problems! That would be a very weak economy, a minimum wage that doesn’t allow for a livable wage, high unemployment, laws which attack the symptoms but practically ignore the disease, and a lack of funding for intervention and rehabilitation.

I am of the personal belief that if only the natural from the Earth drugs (cocaine, marijuana, and mushrooms) had been legal this whole time all those poisonous drugs (meth, LSD, crack) would never have existed in the first place. If drugs were legal once again, those poisonous drugs would slowly lose their luster with users once natural drugs were legalized. Seems to me drugs are only illegal for two main reasons: 1) certain people like using the power of government to force their personal moral codes upon the rest of us and 2) pharmaceutical companies prefer it this way. Locally speaking, Winnebago county can decide to decriminalize marijuana, cocaine, and mushrooms if it wanted to. We already have medical marijuana, which is a step in the right direction, but we can do better.

Anyways, back to the town hall. At one point Mr Jensen and the DEA rep talked about how gangs are and how the mafia used to be a major problem. To be sure they aren’t wrong. The problem I had was their lack of history on how the mafia then and gangs today had/have become so powerful. Like drugs today which has lead to an increase in the strength and scope of gangs and cartels, alcohol once upon a time was illegal during Prohibition, a failed experiment that led directly to the rise of the mafia. One would think at least one of these speakers would have mentioned the possibility of the decriminalization of drugs? Because once Prohibition was ended, the mafia lost lots of power and went in other illegal directions, like loan sharking and gambling. But that’s another possible blog post. I think its easy to conclude the decriminalization, if not outright ending of the wasteful “war on drugs” needs to come to a screeching halt! Legalize, tax, and regulate the natural drugs of the Earth. Let people enjoy the freedom to choose to take or not take drugs without fear of arrest and simply tag to drugs use the same restrictions as we do drinking alcohol. Not only will this expand people’s freedom, but will allow the police aim their sights on being the protectors of society instead of its watchdog. Of course demilitarizing our police departments would be necessary.

Several written questions from the audience, including one from me were submitted. Of the approximately thirty questions submitted, six were read out loud. Not surprisingly, none of them dealt with the systemic problems we face where criminal justice and drugs are concerned. They were questions which only served to assume its the breakdown of the family unit and things about religious or faith based groups having a broader say. Not one of them even hinted to how a job could help end a lot of crime. How commuting prison sentences for non-violent offenders and cleansing these people’s records will help those people get on with their lives. How Colorado and Washington got it right with the legalization of marijuana and how both states have more revenue than they know what to do with. Among so much that could have been talked about but wasn’t.

My question, as you may have guessed asked about the possibility of decriminalizing drugs, pardoning the sentences of non-violent “offenders”, and doing something to stem the rise of for-profit private prisons. My question was never read aloud. Ah well, I tried. Right toward the very end (this event started at 5:30 and ended at 7pm) someone in the audience finally had had enough. No, it was not me. Although I wish it had been. But I digress … so this person finally mentioned how the unemployment rate for the black community in Rockford is near 60% and how could it be that none of the speakers tried to tie in that reality to the current rise in crime? But before the guy finished speaking his piece, Adam Kinzinger, our oh so courageous Congressman decided to notice the clock was a minute past 7pm and the event was brought to a close with that young man’s comment and question completely ignored. Shocking I know.

We have a lot of work ahead of us folks …

I want everyone to vote

In 1980, there was perhaps one of the most famous quotes ever caught on tape and chances are you have never heard it. Until now … “Now many of our Christians have what I call the goo-goo syndrome — good government. They want everybody to vote. I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down”. The person responsible for that quote was one of the founding members of the right-wing conservative think tank known as the Heritage Foundation named Paul Weyrich.

You wouldn’t think this one man and his group would have that much influence upon our right to vote, but they certainly did then and still do to this day. You need only consider that our right to vote today has been under serious assault since those words were spoken. By and large this is due to many Republican lead state legislatures passing restrictive voter ID laws, purposeful closing of polling places, and something called Interstate Crosscheck. 

Tales of massive voter fraud and hordes of illegals voting everywhere are usually used to frighten people to rise up and actually defend the insanity of their own voting rights being denied. Out of more than 600 million votes cast across this nation over the past decade there have only been ten verified cases of actual voter fraud. That’s it. Sadly, this assault on our vote is not limited to one party. Tragically, there have been some Democrats who have/had been just as willing to suppress the right of eligible people to vote. 

Meanwhile real cases of voter suppression, like what happened in Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004 with the use of Interstate Crosscheck where voter rolls were purged of people’s names simply because they had a similar name to an actual felon from other states are continuously ignored by our media. This should make every American, regardless of their party affiliation or political ideology angry. Because the uncertainty of electronic voting machines makes it that much easier for people to believe that “millions of illegals must have voted in California” as a way to explain how Trump lost the popular vote by 3.4 million votes in 2016

We have allowed our voting machines to be privatized in many parts of this nation. Companies like ES&S, Diebold, and Sequoia own the software that runs them, even as counties own the voting machines themselves. There have been cases of local officials demanding to see how these machines count votes only to be told by company lawyers they are not allowed to see it. We are told to trust these for-profit companies that they are counting our votes correctly. I recommend you go to www.blackboxvoting.org for more on this.

We need to go back to paper ballots and hand counting all our votes across this nation. None of us should put trust in any electronic voting machines. And I certainly do not care that the software is owned by some for-profit company. Just because we have the technology, does not mean we should use it, especially in the realm of our vote. Our vote is, or at least should be sacred.

That so many Americans have so easily given up a fundamental right to vote is heart breaking to me. Only about 64% of Americans show up to vote in presidential elections and around 42% in the mid-terms. But I want EVERYBODY to vote even if that meant every single elected seat from dog catcher on up to the president all went to Republicans, then so be it. At least then, the elected official can be proud to know he was voted in with ALL voter age constituents voting and not 60% or less of them.

Republicans have been busy doing everything they can to pass laws in several states that keep the poor, minorities, students, and the elderly, all groups that typically vote for Democrats people from voting under the guise of voter integrity. If the GOP truly cared about protecting the integrity of our vote they would have fallen all over themselves in co-sponsoring and forcing a vote on Tulsi Gabbard’s Securing America’s Elections Act. The nation of Ireland recently scraped all their electronic voting machines HERE. We need to do the same.

One provision in many of these state laws is that only a driver license can be used to verify who you are, to be able to vote. One of my daughter’s will quite likely never gain a driver license due to personal issues, and in many of these states, she would be ineligible to vote. Recently in Ohio, a senior citizen born in America, who had never been in trouble with the law, and had been voting since she was allowed, was told back in 2012 that she was unable to vote because she did not have a driver license.

We are doing this all wrong America. Regardless of how you feel about the people running we should all be taking pride in voting. Write someone in if you must, but please do the right thing and vote. On another issue that is certainly related to this post is the idea of making Election Day a national holiday. As tempting as it may be, I would not want to mandate that each of us vote as Australia has done. But if we start to take our vote more seriously, or have reasons to, I suspect that it would simply become second nature to vote.

In the meantime, I ask that everyone who reads this, please verify your registration status. Then, once that is done go to your neighbor, your family and friends and make sure they are registered and remind them to vote. And then, on November 6th do what thousands of people over the years have died for … to give you your right to vote and go vote on November 6th and all future elections from this point forward.