It’s 11 days after the election and Arizona’s Second Congressional District race has finally been called for Ron Barber. It was a close race between Barber and Republican Martha McSally, but that’s not why it took so long to count the ballots. Arizona had something like 750,000 ballots left uncounted on Election Day.
Why, you ask? Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett bloviated about the success of our early voting on NPR the other day. Forty percent of Arizona voters use mail-in ballots. Here’s my take: If it’s “early voting” why isn’t there a deadline for people to send in their ballots a week before Election Day so they can be counted in time, allowing poll workers to concentrate on counting provisional ballots? Why let “early” voters drop off their ballots at polling places on Election Day? Uh…couldn’t they just vote that day instead, allowing the machines to do their thing faster than poll workers bogged down with paper and pencil?
More Arizona voting embarrassment: Racist Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio wins? Sensible Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate Richard Carmona loses — by only five percentage points — to Republican U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, one of the guys who can’t figure out how a woman’ s reproductive system works?
Ahhhhh…but then there’s New England. All Republican congressional representatives up for election were defeated. Feisty Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren was elected to the U.S. Senate. New Hampshire voted in the first all-woman congressional delegation — plus governor — in history. There’s always Vermont Independent (really a socialist) Sen. Bernie Saunders, whom I pay attention to and trust. And my dear Maine, where Obama beat next-door neighbor Romney by 15 points, and is sending smart, no-nonsense former Independent Gov. Angus King (really a Democrat) to the U.S. Senate.
That’s not to say there aren’t wackos in Maine too.
And there are many right-wingnuts who are still whining about Obama winning reelection. Brassy former First Lady Barbara Bush advises, “Get over it. Move on.” We’ve got to work together. If House Republicans continue to obstruct progress, President Obama must lead the way.
There are bright spots in Arizona too. Finally, I might add. In addition to Barber’s win, which the Arizona Daily Star still hasn’t announced, Kyrsten Sinema won in CD9, giving the state a majority of Democrats in the House.
Overall, I’m very happy about the election results. On a personal note, I’m happy that both my grown-up kids are doing their thing at their respective professional conferences this weekend, in Berkeley and Chicago. I’m very grateful this Thanksgiving. I hope you are too. Happy Thanksgiving to all!