Another busy day, so here’s a quick link to a fine story from the ProJo. My neighbor was ‘poll spotting’ this Tuesday and I ran into her as she checked off names. She said, ‘I’d walk through fire to vote.’

We claim to export democracy, and love the ‘purple fingers’ in the photos from Iraq, where voting is dangerous. But something isn’t right at home. Too many of us surrender the vote, and fail to participate.

But this story is a bright spot– interviewing voters at the polls–
What a Democracy is All About by G. Wayne Miller.

Ask for I.D. at the Polls

No, not voter I.D. I’m saying that there are a lot of people who hang out at the polls, and not all of them are poll workers– some are poll-watchers, a longstanding political tradition and guard against voter fraud.

I was talking with a co-worker yesterday and mentioned the election.

“I don’t know if I’ll vote”, she said, “it doesn’t make any difference”. Of course I launched into a sermon about the urgent call for citizens to uphold our democracy and all that stuff.

Then she told me that the last time she went she was hassled, and treated rudely, and what’s more– saw other voters stepping out of line with no objections.

I told her that this may have been overzealous poll watchers, because the workers at my polling place are efficient and pleasant, but poll watchers may be poorly trained– they may get away with annoying voters unless it gets extreme enough to call the cops.

I privately wondered if she had been profiled by overzealous poll watchers who are hopped up on stories of illegal voters, and think they know what those voters might look like. They might make things just unpleasant enough to make a citizen think twice about taking time out of work to wait in line and risk more of the same.

So, vote as if you life depended on it. Vote for our troops who fight in our name for reasons increasingly unclear. Vote for every one of your ancestors who was denied.

And if anyone steps in to interfere with you– ask them for I.D.

UPDATE: I just voted, it was a breeze, but kind sad about that. Turnout is very light as of 9:30am. A neighbor was volunteering as a ‘poll spotter’. She was checking off names on a list of registered voters as they came in. She said that if anyone is treated with any less than helpfulness and respect, get their name and call the Secretary of State.

I want to acknowledge all the poll workers over the years who were always a help and are dedicated to the process.

Chuck Levesque for Senate

Rhode Island’s Future reports that State Senator Chuck Levesque faces a tough race in his district of Bristol/Portsmouth.

I saw Sen. Levesque at the hearings on human trafficking, and he showed a real concern for passing laws that would really help people who are exploited. There was a lot of pressure, and anyone who questioned making indoor prostitution illegal was accused of not caring about victims of trafficking. We did get an anti-trafficking law passed in 2007, but we don’t have a constituency that cares about people who might be here illegally or might have trouble with the law. The problem of trafficking won’t be solved by putting a few women in jail. Sen.Levesque knew that and was slandered for saying so.

I saw the General Assembly in action a few times when going to testify about a bill. Chuck Levesque always made a good impression.

Most of the time I was encouraged to see how thoughtfully our representatives discussed each bill and the respect they showed for the citizens and the process. To just call them all corrupt is lazy thinking. More often than not, our government is as good as we make it.

See Rhode Island’s Future for more on this race. Chris Ottiano, the Republican candidate is a vascular surgeon. It amuses me that some commenters take it as a given that a doctor will automatically be a better legislator than a lawyer. I wouldn’t count on it, no offense to the good doctors I’ve worked with. Like in any other profession, there’s bad apples too.

Carly Fiorina– Get Well Soon

I want desperately for Barbara Boxer to win the race for the Senate, and I want Carly Fiorina to win her battle against cancer and its complications. She is in the hospital being treated for an infection related to surgery.

We’re all in the human race, and women, especially, understand.

“We wish Carly Fiorina a speedy recovery and hope she is able to return to her normal schedule soon,” Boxer campaign manager Rose Kapolczynski said.

First lady Michelle Obama, Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, and Boxer all used speeches at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Los Angeles Tuesday to wish Fiorina a speedy recovery.

UPDATE: Carly Fiorina should be back on the campaign trail as this goes to press. When it’s pathogens vs humans, I’ll vote for the humans every time. Congratulations, Carly. Now I hope Barbara Boxer wins the Senate race, because she is the better candidate.


Linc Chafee could say that he did not leave the Republican Party– the Party left him. He had the integrity to vote his conscience against a war based on lies. Steve Laffey tried to grab the momentum of the right wing, and moved in, but only suceeded in helping to put Sheldon Whitehouse in the Senate.

Chafee is the last of the old-style Republicans, and in this political climate a progressive. Why would Caprio be dealing with Laffey, if not from simple craving to win at any cost?

Today’s ProJo reports on the rumor that Caprio was considering switching parties…

John P. Dodenhoff, the former campaign manager for Republican Stephen Laffey, says that he was invited to lunch in February by Michael Lepizzera — a Cranston lawyer and Republican operative — who broached the idea of Caprio running as a Republican.

Caprio and Lepizzera, who is supporting Caprio for governor, dispute Dodenhoff’s account. They say that Lepizzera acted on his own, and that his overtures went nowhere.

Dodenhoff told The Journal Monday that he explicitly asked Lepizzera if Caprio approved of the approach.

“He said, ‘Frank might want to come over,’ ” recalled Dodenhoff. “I was taken aback. I said, ‘Geez, Frank Caprio a Republican? I don’t know how that’s gonna fly.’ I asked Mike if this was just him brainstorming … or is this something that Frank knew about, and he said yes. Then I asked if his father, [Providence Municipal Court] Judge [Frank] Caprio, was on board, and I was told yes.”

There is an actual Republican in this race, John Robitiaille, who seems like a decent human being and can be trusted to give us more of what we’ve had with Governor Carcieri. I’ve had enough of that, and enough of Democrats who try to prove that there’s no difference between the parties. I’m voting for Chafee.