Do you know how many illegal votes were cast in the recently completed vote-by-mail primary election in the city of Tucson? Well, neither does anybody connected with the city of Tucson. And you know what else? They apparently don't care, because voting by mail saves money!
Local right-wing radio talk-show host Jon Justice and I probably agree on .0001 percent of all political topics, but I have to commend him for his editorial on the TV news the other night. Voting by mail is an abomination. It invites 8 million different types of voter fraud, and even if nobody used the system to cheat, it would still be an abomination.
I remember when I was a kid, and I'd go along with my parents when they would vote. I couldn't wait to vote on my own. (My first vote ever was for George McGovern for president, and, according to the e-mail I get, I've been voting wrong ever since.) I, in turn, took my kids. (Darlene was a couple of weeks old the first time she accompanied me.) There is nothing like the feeling of standing in a long line and waiting to vote, knowing that people gave their lives so that others could exercise their right to shape their country's destiny.
I don't even care if I'm standing in a long line where everybody else is Republican. It's a long line of people who care enough to drag their sorry butts to the polling place and vote. But the people who run Tucson don't agree with that. They want to cut corners, save a few bucks and piss on the ideal of voting as something that is sacred (in a nonsecular way).
In all seriousness, just about every American has somebody in their family or knows somebody who was injured or killed fighting in a war. Is this how we're going to honor their sacrifice—by making it easier to slack, easier to vote, easier to cheat? I absolutely don't understand the thought processes that allow someone to convince themselves that voting by mail is a good idea.
Mailing out ballots has reduced voting to something of a chore. Let me see ... today, I'll sit at the kitchen table, clip some coupons, read the comics, pay some bills and, oh yeah, I guess I'll vote ... although I could vote tomorrow or the day after that or the day after that. I just hope I remember to vote before the deadline. Plus, I have to walk all the way to my mailbox to vote. I wonder if it's worth the effort.
I don't know and I don't care if it increases voter "turnout." First of all, people have got to stop using the word "turnout." Nobody turns out; they stay in. You'd actually have to wince if you used the word "participation." If more people vote because they can do it at home, that's actually sad. And you know where this is headed, right?
Yes, vote by computer. If you think that's crazy, that's the exact same word you would have used 25 years ago if someone had suggested running a citywide election by mail.
Just imagine when they try to sell that. This won't cost the taxpayers anything, not even for paper or printing or postage. And we'll use the same software that Taco Bell uses when they give away trips to Cancun or wherever. But instead of limiting you to just one entry per day, we'll program it so you only get one entry, period. We promise.
Having said all of that, I would like to announce that I am considering applying for the recently vacated position of Tucson city manager. Maybe I can use the position to convince those people of the wrongheadedness of democracy on the cheap.
First of all, I must say that Mike Letcher's resignation, effective 12 months from now, was a brilliant gambit. Well-played, sir! The fact that the City Council members didn't go for it just shows their collective lack of imagination.
Heck, I might use that approach myself. If I ever get wind that my editor here is getting tired of having to apologize for my column all the time, I might call him and say, "You know what? I quit. In 2022. That gives you time to plan accordingly. You're welcome."
The city-manager thing wouldn't be a bad gig. You show up to meetings and take a bunch of crap from a bunch of people who somehow got elected. Then you eventually get fired, at which time you get a nice severance package and a fat pension. They wouldn't even need to pay me $200,000 like they did Letcher. I'd do it for half that amount, and they could use the money they saved to run real, American-type elections.
Actually, there's more to being a city manager than being a punching bag. I did some research, and I learned that there are three main responsibilities:
1. Keep Karin Uhlich's car clean and gassed up at all times.
2. Translate Regina Romero's English into English. And:
3. Hide from Steve Kozachik whenever possible.
As for that Kozachik thing, I've already got that nailed. If he comes looking for me, and I'm not in my office, I'd have a built-in excuse. I'd just say, "I went home. I had to vote."