From The Wasteland Of Arizona Politics by Guadamour


by Guadamour
Dandelion Salad
featured writer

Guadamour’s blog post
Feb. 8, 2008

I have voted in Arizona elections since the 1960s, and the state has a long history of making it easy for its citizens to vote.

There have always been plenty of polling places in Arizona, and if you were in Independent you could vote in either the Democratic or Republican primaries. You went in, gave your name and address and showed your free-of-charge voter registration card and were given a ballot and voted.

That’s the way it has always been in the state. Quite easy. That is until the primary this past Tuesday.

I live in a small border city of 19,000 and there has always been at least seven or eight polling places. This past Tuesday there were two polling places with long lines. I’ve had over five people tell me they didn’t vote because they didn’t have the time to wait.

When I voted, the woman behind me was turned away because she was an independent and “You aren’t eligible to vote.”

I ran across my friend Frank, an 85-year-old retired IBM engineer. Frank doesn’t drive anymore, and doesn’t carry any ID, because everyone in town knows him and understands he is good for whatever he says.

Frank couldn’t vote either. He told me, “I personally knew the people working at the polling place, and they still wouldn’t let me vote because I didn’t have the proper ID. Is this why I fought and was a prisoner or war in World War II, so I can’t vote?”

Arizona has a conservative Democratic governor; however, both legislative houses are controlled by conservative Republicans.

Frank asked me, “Why do conservative Republicans so fear the electorate?”

I told him, “Because the public might realize how close neo-conservatives are to fascist.”

Frank may be 85-years old, but he still has the fire of his convictions. Arizona is one of the 24 states where the citizens have the right of referendum or initiative. Frank has decided to spearhead a drive to restore the voting rights of Arizona citizens robbed by the current Neo-Fascist Republican movement.

For awhile Frank managed a plant across the line in Agua Prieta. I asked him if he had been across the border recently. He said, “No. They won’t let me back in the country if I leave. That is unless I have a passport. Have you been to AP recently?”

I tell him, “No. When I moved in from the ranch, when it was sold, I brought all my things back to town. I remember unpacking my passport, but for the life of me, I can’t find it. It’s never been a problem until now. I could always show my driver’s license and come back. Now it’s changed. I’m still hoping I will find my passport somewhere in my house. I really don’t want to spend 95 dollars for a passport when the one I have is still valid.”

Frank said, “When I got my first passport in the 70s it was only thirteen dollars.”

“I know,” I said, “Things sure have changed, and I can’t believe they are for the better.”


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