Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Party of No" Tries to Block Election Reform in Tennessee

The law says Tennessee has to switch to paper ballots by 2010. Not so fast, says Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) and Rep. Curry Todd (R-Collierville). They’ve got a bill to postpone paper ballots for cost reasons.

Today, the TNDP issued a press release calling on Tennessee to stick to the original plan:

"It's true that the economy has forced everyone to cut back," [TNDP Chair Chip] Forrester said. "And I recognize that our county commissioners are concerned about the cost of implementing [paper ballots]. But the new optical scan machines will be paid for by $25 million in federal funds from the Help America Vote Act. Plus, other states report that switching from DREs to paper ballots actually saves money in the long run."

Does this issue have traction in Tennessee?

It gets the Democrats riled up, that’s for sure. Yeah, I know paper ballots are less easy to tamper with and vital for recounts. And I support them wholeheartedly. But I worry that people who bring up the issue look like conspiracy nuts and parties that bring up the issue look like they’re making excuses for losing.

But who cares about the issue! That’s not what’s important here! The law is already signed and on the books. And once again the Republicans are being the party of “no,” trying to stand in the way.

That’s the message. That’s the opportunity. That’s what the TNDP needs to be saying. This is a great time to point out that Republicans do nothing but stand in the way.

Unfortunately, the TNDP press release doesn’t go that direction at all. Too bad.

Take the headline:

TNDP Calls for Implementation of the Tennessee Voter Confidence Act

Sounds like a chapter title in the most boring text book ever. Who knows what the “Tennessee Voter Confidence Act” is? No one, so keep it out of the headline.

How about this:

Don’t Let Republicans Block Fair Elections in Tennessee

Now that’s a headline that makes you wonder what it’s about. Don’t want to get that “in your face”? Try this:

The “Party of No” Strikes Again in Tennessee

See, you don’t even have to mention elections or voters or laws or anything like that. You just have to intrigue the reader.

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