It was December of 1942 when the United States entered WWII. I was elated. I couldn’t wait to see the soldiers in the streets, the guns, the shooting and the tanks. I was but a child with no concept whatever of the realities of war.
But the war continued into my teenage years. I remember the cards with stars that mothers put proudly in their windows signifying sons who had gone to fight. I remember when the color of some of those cards changed from white to gold. I’m older now, and every Election Day I remember why they died.
The act of voting is always an emotional one for me. It has nothing to do with the candidates or issues; it’s about the right. To vote is to honor those who sacrificed sons and daughters, limbs and life to preserve that right, for me. It is the least I can do to have a lump in my throat when I vote.
Port Chester is a town of about 30,000 people, nearly half of which are Hispanic. Six trustees oversee management of the town. No Latino has ever been elected to a position on that board despite the numbers they constitute of the population. It begs the question, why? The answer is, very few of them vote. That begs another question, why not? For that, no answer is given; it’s left for you to surmise.
One person one vote is the essence of Democracy. It is the law of the land, except in Port Chester, NY., where everyone now gets six votes. The first “sixer” election was held on June 15, 2010 and resulted in placing one Hispanic on the board of six trustees. We don’t have a breakdown of the numbers for this race, but a basic understanding of mathematics reveals it is possible for one candidate to receive more votes than there are voters living in the town.
We are not sure of the intricacies of this weird system called cumulative voting, but we know the objective. It is to enable a candidate to gain public office who would otherwise be unlikely to do so. Port Chester was the first municipality to test this voting method. Others will surely follow.