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The Presidential Election and Installation
You are probably wondering how in the world these two things
could be in the same article title? It might not be as big a stretch
as you think.
First of all, the big problem was standards (or the lack thereof
) in the election process. Each voting district in Florida had
its own way of doing things ( counting ballots ) and no one ever
required them to thoroughly explain themselves. After all, whose
voting districts are these anyway? Their standards were just fine
with them and probably very few people cared if some ballots were
thrown out from time to time, its normal, so what? I certainly
don't know for sure; but I would be willing to bet that occasionally
over the years, local candidates in elections asked questions
and were confronted by a solid brick wall. No recounts, no dimples,
no chad viewing etc., that is the way we do it here, live with
This was actually never a big problem until someone really
important had something to lose, then the questions about accountability
began. One got the impression from all the news reports that they
kind of started to make up some stricter standards as the heat
from the spotlight intensified. This seemed to get a little ugly
after weeks of trying to explain the unexplainable of how elections
are run in certain districts. Ballots were probably starting to
be counted by touching them to their foreheads in a display of
psychic ability, much like Johnny Carson did as "Carnac the
Magnificent" in his Tonight Show years back,. Putting "local
procedures" in the cold light of day must have made the folks
in the election commission a little anxious and embarrassed. It
certainly made a bunch of lawyers come alive, and they kicked
it into the courts. Everyone knows the rest because it was the
only thing on TV for five weeks.
The law has "morphed" a lot in the last few decades.
It has come from interpreting laws for the purpose of justice
to a sport. The sport has become a blood sport (show me the money).
Now the blood sport has become entertainment. How many hours of
prime time did this thing take up, not to mention Court TV, Judge
"whoever" and lots of books?
When the whole mess got to the Federal Supreme Court, Judge
Sandra Day O'Connor asked a question that was so simple that it
seemed to sum up the whole problem before it got to be such a
tangled mess. She asked "why can't you just count the ballots,
why is that so hard"? Good question! Answer?...because there
was never a system in place to get it right, the election boards
apparently were satisfied with a system that was "a little
loose". The subject of reform came up over the years but
it made people uncomfortable and it caused trouble. So a couple
of hundred votes were messed up from time to time, so what? In
the past they probably just threw the ones they couldn't read
in the trash, it didn't really matter that much did it? Well...
apparently it does.
Now it seems almost a guarantee that there will be federal
standards for voting. No more of this goofy dimple stuff. There
will be rules and standard procedures for counting ballots so
that the cornerstone of democracy, voting, will be done properly.
No making it up to suit the local folks, their budget, or their
preferences. This thing is going to be done in a correct and accountable
fashion, no more guessing about what this or that ballot means.
Clean, clear voting will be demanded by the Federal government
and the standards will be uniform and enforced. This is because
when the whole nation votes on a president all those votes should
be equal and unambiguous. The Feds will see to it because they
have preemption over the states in this and they don't want to
be embarrassed in the eyes of the world again. They probably wonder
whose idea it was to let all these local guys make up all these
weird voting procedures anyway, it's just too important.
If you are not thinking about installation yet then you better
read this first part again. These guys are us in many ways!
- 1. We have a national building code, they had a national
- 2. We have local enforcement, they have local enforcement.
- 3. Our local rules are different from place to place, so
- 4. Some of our local rules simply don't yield good results,
obviously theirs don't either.
- 5. Whenever enough people are hurt by rules or the lack thereof,
the preemptive federal government steps in with some new rules.
Remember Hurricane Andrew? New wind codes for the whole nation,
which happened in Florida too didn't it? Hmmm
- 6. The new Manufactured Housing Improvement Act just passed
and by the time you read this it will probably be law. It says
that if you don't have installation standards in five years someone
else will give them to you. The election folks will probably
have a similar law but they will likely have a lot fewer years
to do the job.
- 7. It is very important to get every manufactured home installed
correctly; every vote has to be done correctly too. Both need
a clear set of rules that work and have a certain degree of uniformity
across the nation.
- 8. The voting problem was exposed and spotlighted by lawyers
and then the courts. Sure hope we can avoid this "blood
sport" part, but it seems to be the only way anything gets
done these days. Sad, costly, and destructive for everyone.
- 9. We have been working with partially punched chads for
years, but we call it ventilated skirting panels, not ballots.
Just take a look at some; you'll see what I mean.
- 10. All this election trouble could and should have been
avoided with responsible planning by caring people. They knew
what should have been done but were just not motivated enough.
We as an industry can learn from this if we try.