Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: One more time: The nag is here

Posted on 31 October 2012 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

 

Obfuscate = confuse, bewilder, stupefy, obscure. Don’t let that happen to you!

Five more days to Election Day.

Hopefully, you have already mailed your absentee ballot, having had much time to study it carefully, and to have sought out clarification on all the amendments. It has long been traditional for Florida Constitutional amendments to be written in such language as to force voters into cognitive gymnastics, in an attempt to figure out if YES really means what they intend it to mean, and to even know what they intend it to mean.

No matter how much people are urged to study ballots before they go into the booth, there will be many who will have looked at their ballots for the first time in that booth, and, in an attempt to answer all the questions, will, only then, begin to read the amendments. In case you haven’t seen one yet, it’s very long and wordy.

Absentee ballots give you the leisure to fill them out on your terms in the privacy and convenience of your own home. But if you’re like several of my friends, you experience a kind of prideful thrill at direct contact with the voting booth, so take advantage of early voting, which has already begun, and will continue until the end of the day on Saturday Nov. 3. It’s a great time to talk to your neighbors.

For all the voting information you may need, including places for early voting, (Broward) 954-357-7050 or www.browardsoe.org, or (Palm Beach ) 561-276-1226 or www. pbcelections.org.

A source of information regarding the meaning of the amendments is the Florida League of Women Voters hotline, 1-855-358-6837, www.bereadytovote.org; (Spanish) www.VamosA Votar.org, which has already received over 1,500 calls, most from voters frustrated by all 11 of them.

Some of those calls have taken as long as an hour, as a League representative has patiently answered questions and provided the requested information. Many people have called the League, apologizing for what they perceive as their own “stupidity” because the true intent of the amendment is obfuscated within a barrage of legalese.

Folks! You are NOT stupid if the amendments make little sense to you. They were designed that way. And alas, it is your responsibility to check them out before voting – and to seek advice from people you respect.

In a recent memo, Florida League President Diedre Macnab urged, “If you don’t understand the amendments, don’t skip them, reject them. Defeating incomprehensible, misnamed, intentionally confusing proposals will send a message to the legislators.”

If you’ve got something to say to legislators – this is one significant way to do that. Also, don’t minimize the effect of letters and phone calls. Your legislators care deeply about what you think, and most often, act accordingly.

Dull as it often it, politics affects lives. Get your ballot counted!

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