I take every available opportunity to slag off The Dominion Post, mostly because it’s a newspaper that doesn’t do a particularly good job of reporting the news. Having said that though it is deserving of kudos for today’s editorial, in which it rightly calls out the Morgantown City Council for its attempt to suppress voting participation. You can read the entire thing here.
Here is the most important takeaway:
It is not appropriate for the very same officials who were elected by vote-by-mail, to now decide it’s inappropriate.
If we ignore the somewhat choppy wording, what we see is that the Dominion Post, while neither endorsing nor rejecting Vote By Mail itself, believes that this isn’t an issue for the City Council to decide. What the newspaper is arguing is that it ought to be an issue for the city’s voters to decide.
This strikes me as being perfectly balanced. Rather than having people like Jim Manilla, Wesley Nugent, Ron Bane, and Linda Herbst conspiring to suppress voter turnout, why not simply allow the 2013 elections to go off as they were planned to, but include a question on the ballot about Vote By Mail? If the voters reject it, then the Council will have their marching orders; if they approve it, then those four Councilors can personally apologize to the city for their pernicious scheming against voter participation.
Lest you think though that there’s any chance of this actually happening, here’s Wesley Nugent’s immediate response to the editorial:
The @DominionPostWV is sadly misinformed on the issue, so much so as the wrong date for the 2nd reading is given.
It is true that the Dominion Post mistakenly listed November 27th as the date for the 2nd Reading on Vote By Mail; it is actually on November 20th. (That this occurs during Thanksgiving Week, a week when most people have other issues to worry about, and the second time that City Council has decided to discuss Vote By Mail at an inconvenient moment for most voters, is another issue worth considering.) However, you’ll note that nobody is offering any explanation for what exactly <i>The Dominion Post</i> got wrong other than the date.
Nugent’s second line of defense is that the City should have put Vote By Mail to a vote before implementing it:
@bitmapped It would’ve been great if the previous council had let the voters weigh in on a fundamental issue like this. That’s a mandate.
Fair enough. Why object now though? If you think that Vote By Mail should have been voted on by the voters in 2011’s election, what’s wrong with voting on it in 2013’s elections?
Simply put, the City Councilors opposed to Vote By Mail have absolutely no ground to stand on; they’re simply opposed to citizens participating in their local government. Whether it’s because they’re trying to ensconce themselves in their seats by making it harder to unseat them or because they simply don’t think voting should be easy, it’s clear now that there is substantive opposition to their ludicrous plan. The question is whether they’ll respect that opposition in even the slightest way.