By Fidel “Butch” Montoya
If you watch or read carefully, you may sense reading between the lines and listening carefully to what the network and cable newscasters are saying. The McCain voter might as well stay home because Obama is all but about to be crowned King. For the Obama voter, stay home, Obama already has it in the bag and it will be by a landslide.
Yes, it appears that many newscasters and all of the experts they have analyzing all the different polls out there, have all but confirmed among themselves that an Obama landslide scenario is in place, leaving McCain unable to get the number of electoral votes he needs to be elected president.
A landslide election will put an end to all the clamoring about how the Latino vote made a difference and was the winning edge to electing Obama.
All the Latino electioneering will quickly be put to rest along with every other interest group that loses bragging rights as to who actually pushed Obama over the winner’s line.
With early voting taking place and mail ballots soaring in popularity, we are getting an idea how big the vote is going to be. For example, in Colorado almost a third of the voters have already cast their ballot, which is close to a million ballots already cast. Thirty states have early voting, and NBC News reports some locations already are reporting five hour wait time to vote in this year's election.
One of the reasons for the early voting is the debacle many voters faced when they were forced to stand in line for hours; an unbearable sacrifice for many prospective voters who with stood the unbearable delays and countless voting machine and software problems.
The news pundits are already making their predictions on who is actually casting the early votes. Some of the pundits say it is the elderly. Others say it is the new first time voter, excited to vote. Still other pundits and Election Night voter experts predict that it is the voter who was caught in our nation’s worst Election Day fiasco in 2006 and don’t want to repeat that experience again.
Yet the Get Out The Votes (GOTV) efforts by some voting organizers are still hard working the telephones and walking door to door trying to get their supporters ready to vote on Election Day. The weekend before Election Day are the last two best days where everyone will be out in force trying to get their voter supporters to the voting booth.
In one particular Latino precinct in west Denver, only about two percent of the registered voters have voted early, creating quite a bit of alarm for registration workers who had targeted this neighborhood. They are worried that much of their hard work to register the Latino voter may turn out to be for naught.
The telephones are starting to ring with anxiety and alarm trying to figure out why early voting numbers are so low. Trying to locate all those people who registered to vote and promised to vote early as well is becoming a major job, if not an impossible one.
It is one thing to register voters, but it is another major challenge in particular to motivate the first time voters who signed on the dotted line to actually vote. Trying to reach and impress the newly registered voter and help them understand and realize it is time to deliver on the promise to vote early, is becoming a major task in comparable neighborhoods like Westwood area in Denver.
With all the scandalous electioneering mud being thrown back and forth by the candidates, and in some cases by the candidate’s advisers, the voter registration battle hit a major snag when ACORN was accused of registering dead people, their relatives, and registering other people's names multiple times.
The scandal seemed to take a bit of steam out of the enthusiasm that surrounded getting the newly registered voter to getting around to voting early. The fraudulent cloud of suspicion also created a new voting class of illegal voters.
All the secret winks and nods of the head by newscasters, seemingly signaling in secret code that an Obama landslide is on the way, it almost gives a person sufficient reason not to stand in line again – for hours to cast their vote for a candidate the news media is already prepared to call as the winner or as the loser.
Predictions about long waits and voting machine malfunctions are beginning to creep out again. In the last election in 2006, some voters waited for several hours to vote, while some left in disgust and never got an opportunity to cast their ballots for their choice. This year in Georgia, election officials are trying to persuade voters to keep the faith after some voters WAITED six hours to vote early.
With the prospect of having to wait in line to vote for hours again, and then listen to newscasters or editorials pages preparing to call a close presidential election in other parts of the country or calling close races based on exit polling before they get to vote destroys ones confidence that one vote actually does make a difference.
In the end, one of the most important responsibilities we have as a citizen of the world’s greatest democracy is being polluted by scandal, trickery, and violation of our election laws.
If the newscasters on network or cable news outlets and newspaper editors are prepared to declare Obama the winner by a landslide even before everyone has had a chance to vote, may these news outlets continue to sink in the viewers perception of being fair and balanced.
No wonder so many voters are contemplating to simply stay away again at a time when we need every vote to be counted….wink, wink.
Fidel “Butch” Montoya
H. S. Power & Light Ministries – Latino Faith Initiative
Denver, Colorado 80212