We all know what happened during the 2000 election. Voting problems for the stylus-challenged combined with recounts, and dingbats who unwittingly allowed themselves to be drafted into the Buchanan Brigades, put the spotlight on more confused and panicked Floridians than the time during the war when magnetic chip rationing prompted a statewide ban on Bingo.

In 2004, the Kerry campaign tried to ride this wave of lunacy all the way to Ohio, claiming voting “inconsistencies.” What was the inconsistency? John Kerry didn’t win Ohio. That shouldn’t matter now, for the Senator is winning the hearts and minds of the troops serving overse… what? Oh… never mind…

Now we find ourselves in 2006, rapidly approaching another very important election, and the nation can ill afford any more screw-ups or allowances of attempted election hijacks under the guise of “disenfranchisement.”

Here are a few tips for voting in 2006:

–If you’re like me and live in an area that hasn’t purchased voting machines since The New Deal, you’ll likely have to get in the booth and confront all sorts of strange knobs and buttons. Should this occur, do not close the curtain and pretend that you’re Frank Morgan operating the Wizard. Fantasizing can wait, but those of us in line behind you can’t.

–If you get picked up in front of a convenience store by a bus or van filled with more zeros than the deck of an aircraft carrier in Yamamoto’s fleet, reconsider your trip. Especially if it’s being driven by a poli-shill who asks you to sell out one of your greatest rights and privileges as an American in return for a pint of Yukon Jack.

–Claiming you “accidentally” voted for anybody provides nothing to the country other than a reason why MTV’s “The Real World” is still on. The slip-ups are endless. Heck, Ann Coulter might have voted in the wrong south Florida district. Even conservatives are catching the stupid!

–If you’re only voting because Moby, Jennifer Aniston, the bald Tinkertoy from REM, Woody Harrelson, Dave Matthews or Flea from The Red Hot Chili Peppers told you to vote, you’re disenfranchising the rest of the country.

–Need relief from the stress? On Election Day, wear a pro-Republican t-shirt with six or seven “I voted” stickers on it and mill around the nearest Democrat office. This one’s always good for a laugh.

–With the punch-card voting system, the hole you punch is, generally, somewhere in the same room of the name of the candidate you wish to vote for, often even right next to it.

–Here’s a painful tip for left of center activist organizations that should help alleviate some of the confusion as to how they can register voters by the bushel and yet still not regain congressional control: Getting people registered to vote, and assuming they will vote, is as far apart as showing people how to fill out an astronaut application form and expecting them to be on the next Space Shuttle. Just because somebody registered to vote because they were drunk at a Pearl Jam concert is meaningless. Besides, Republicans go to Pearl Jam concerts too. Shh, don’t tell.

–If you’re under 40 – and this is going to be your first time voting – it’s nice that you decided to recognize and appreciate the freedoms provided us by the Constitution. If you’re over 40 and this is going to be your first time voting – don’t.

–How can you tell if you’ve ever been disenfranchised? Here’s a simple test to take. Ask yourself if you’re voting Democrat this year, or plan to vote at all. If the answer is “no” to either, then you’re disenfranchised. Contact Jesse Jackson immediately so your rights are protected. Keep hope alive!

–Please think twice before voting for the Socialist, Greens, Communist, Workers, Natural Law, Jedi or any other political party which holds their national convention in the back dining room of a Denny’s. It’s not that I care so much if they’re misguided “common good” malcontents, commies, tree huggers, Ayn Rand worshippers or those geeks who quote Yoda all the time in an attempt to keep their minds off the fact that they’re not dating. The thought that those candidates have no chance of winning is secondary to the fact that they’re taking up space in line for nothing! How would these guys like it if a couple of us got in front of them in line at Hummus Hut, chit-chatted with the cashier for a while, then left without buying anything?

–Last, but perhaps most importantly, it’s vital that there be no major stupidity this time. If a few of us are perpetually unable to negotiate a ballot, government agencies will continue to try and simplify the process, which will then make the rest of us unable to understand it. If you see something you can’t figure out, tap one of the volunteers on the shawl and ask for help. If you still don’t get it, leave immediately. Do it for your country. Good luck, America!

After the 2000 debacle in Florida, Boward County officials properly prepared residents for the next election


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