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Do you know what the first law of our land is?

Published 1:36pm Saturday, September 8, 2012

To the Editor:

It is your right to vote in elections. If you did not have the right to vote, you would not have a Democracy.

How do I know this for a fact? I was general registrar of voters in Albemarle County several years ago. I had only been sworn in about four days when a University of Virginia professor came in to register to vote absentee ballot due to the fact that his good friend was running for an office and he wanted to vote for him as he was going to be in New Mexico on a sabbatical for a year.

Being new at my position, I called Joan Mahan, secretary for the State Board of Elections in Richmond, and told her this gentleman wanted to vote absentee ballot, but was moving to New Mexico.

She said, “Ask him if he owns a home in Albemarle County?”

He answered, “Yes and pay taxes, too.”

She said, “Ask him if he is renting his house in Albemarle County while away for a year?”

He answered in a huff, “Yes, but what does that have to do with my voting absentee ballot?”

She again asked me to ask him, “Did you rent your whole house out?”

He again said he had with a lease for a year.

She again told me to ask him, “Did you reserve in your lease that you could return to your house at will?”

He answered that he did not put that in the lease.

Her final answer was, “You cannot vote in Virginia because you will have no abode in Virginia, and you will have to register to vote in New Mexico.”

He was very upset and said, “I’ll go right now to an attorney and sue you for my right to vote!”

I immediately called the local attorney representing my position and he said, “Oh my, we’ll be in court first thing in the morning, as your right to vote must take precedence on the judge’s docket, even over an ongoing murder trial.”

So, yes, we were in court the next day. The judge asked the gentleman almost the same questions as Ms. Mahan had asked, but the judge asked more questions.

“Did you reserve a room in your house to return to at will?” he asked.

The gentleman answered that he had not. The judge’s answer was: “If you had reserved in your lease that you could return at any time to a closet, with a cot in it and one suit of clothing, then you would have an abode, but since you didn’t,” you have no legal abode and cannot vole here in Albemarle County.”

Don’t ever think. Why vote? My vote won’t make a difference. I’ve heard so many people make that statement. It is your legal right to vote as an American citizen, so do so (rain or shine), or else never complain about what is going on in Washington.

God bless America.

Rachel A. Clement

  • Makalani

    Interesting the lengths Albemarle County went to keep one guy from voting. One would think that politicians/bureaucrats would encourage people to participate in the democratic process of voting.

    Just the opposite is happening in many states — particularly those in the old Confederacy — VA included. They routinely disenfranchise 10s of 1000s ex-cons who have served their sentences and paid their debts to society. I still don’t get the connection between getting convicted of a crime — serving one’s sentence and losing the right to vote. What next — taking away ex-con’s citizenship!

    Rather than encouraging people to vote — many politicians — mostly Republicans — are making it harder for people to vote with voter ID laws although very few validated cases of voter fraud have been discovered.

    You are 10,000% correct that the right to vote should be exercised/cherished. That right — like many others is under attack by many who supposedly represent us but whose actual agenda is more power to control our lives!

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    • happycamper

      All over the U.S., there are age restrictions on voting. Why do we not allow children to vote? Because we don’t believe that they can apply the appropriate judgement. In my mind, this same argument is valid when looking at ex-convicts who have been convicted of a felony. Trust is a very hard thing to reinstate. I think we should be VERY careful when considering the voting rights of convicted felons.

      As for voter ID requirements, there are many states that currently require ID … including many who were not part of the “old Confederacy”. Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin all require photo ID’s to vote. Many others such as Washington, Montana, North Dakota, Alaska and Ohio require non-photo ID’s to vote. I simply don’t get the rationale that says this requirement infringes on ones ability to vote. We simply need a way to show that every potential voter has earned that right through their citizenship. I can’t even go to the doctor without a photo ID. This, like the make believe “war on women”, is simply a move made by some Democrats to further their “divide and conquer” campaign. It’s a ploy to drive a wedge into our society for political gain … pure and simple.

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    • handkusp45

      Why is showing ID to vote not a reasonable request? There is very little one can do now without showing an ID. If you can’t show one to vote there is probably a good reason. (such as not being here legally, or you have already voted in that election, etc.) You are wrong in that there is not much voter fraud. Documented cases in recent years have shown dead people, someones pet, and other such “registerd voters”. They also had people registered in two states. There is widespread voter fraud.
      If you aren’t savvy enough to obtain proper ID are you really savvy enough to decide who leads this country. But I know I’m a racist because I want people to prove who they are before they vote. There is only one reason the liberals don’t want to require ID and that is to rig the elections.

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      • Sinoptik

        Handkusp Quote “There is widespread voter fraud”

        A federal study by the Dept of Justice between 2002 and 2007 showed of the 300 million votes cast in that period, federal prosecutors convicted only 86 people for voter fraud – and of those few cases, most involved persons who were simply unaware of their ineligibility.

        I wouldn’t have any problems with voter ID laws if it wasn’t a blatant and admitted action by a party to suppress qualified voters. They can’t win without being underhanded and they know it. Actually, based on the last couple of weeks, lets just face it, they can’t win.

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    • Second Opinion

      do you think they might be making sure that there is no voter fraud by dual state voting? You know it is so wide spread these days…….

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  • 1stAmendment

    You do NOT have a “right” to vote. You are part of a social contract that makes it your duty to vote. Our government asks little of us – vote, pay taxes, obey just laws, serve on a jury, serve in military if so called. That’s it.

    Most Americans fail to vote, gripe about paying taxes but yet want all services, line up at the county office to make up some bogus story about why they cannot serve on a jury, and speed. We are blessed in that there is no need for compulsory militarty service as in many other countries, because I hear almost every young man around who reaches 18 say that they will NOT refister for the draft.

    If we all did our duty and complained about our leaders less, we woulod again be a true republic.

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  • happycamper

    With every right goes a level of responsibility. Of course, as a citizen you DO have the right to vote. However, it would be nice if, before you mark the ballot, you did some personal research into the candidates and the issues. To often, it seems, people go to the polls with no idea about what the candidates’ positions are, or even who is running! I know you have the right to vote. However, I would prefer that you assume your responsibility prior to exercising that right! Oh, well. I want a new pony, too.

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  • Sinoptik

    As a third party voter this year I find myself in a dilemma. Candidates A,B, and C are on the ballot, and lets say that’s the order of the candidates I would prefer to see get elected. “A” has no chance, lets face it, third party and all, but I feel he is the best for the job and my integrity calls for me to make the best choice. In doing so I am in essence voting for my last choice “C” because I pulled the vote from my second choice “B”.

    The dominating atmosphere and shady dealings that keep third party candidates out of the polls and the debates reminds voters that do not identify with democrats or republicans that they are not involved in this election.

    The only solace I have in voting, and the only reason I will queue up this year, is that when these two polarized parties bicker and outright deceive this country into complete deterioration I will know that I did not enable them.

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  • Liberty With Responsibility

    “If you did not have the right to vote, you would not have a Democracy.”

    Can you cite a legal reference that this is a democracy? I’ll give you two that say otherwise:

    1. I pledge allegiance, to the flag . . . and to the REPUBLIC, for which it stands . . . .

    2. See the US Constitution, Article IV, Section 4.

    The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a REPUBLICAN Form of Government,. . . . .

    Any questions? It would be nice if public officials knew what they were talking about . . . .

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    • Sinoptik

      LWR, you are absolutely right that this country was founded, and is constitutionally a republic. I agree wholeheartedly that it should be. In a republic the majority is limited and constrained by the constitution which protects the rights of the individual and the minority. We are agreed? Good.

      That said both major parties have lost sight of that and the republicans are the most guilty of it. The entire stance of the party is to limit the rights of the minority and the individual in this country. I am not speaking up for democrats to be sure, they do the same, only with other areas. Fill congress with a combination of the two and you have everyone’s rights and liberty getting trampled on.

      Now go on, how are we a republic these days?

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