Ned Cantwell State Columnist
Hollywood daydreamers sit around a conference table doing what they do best, daydreaming about the sitcom sensation that will shower upon them unfathomable wealth. Through the door you can hear this dialogue:
I’ve got it. ER was huge. Let’s write one called DB.
DB! Love it. Short for Detective Barney?
Nah. Short for Dumb Butt. See, what we’ll do, we’ll invent these wacky legislators and bureaucrats who live in a state with crappy roads, schools that need fixing, and a bunch of other stuff. But instead of targeting those projects, they come up with a plan to spend a million bucks on useless voting identification cards.
That’s dumb, but not enough plot for 13 episodes.
We need to flesh it out. Let’s say the action takes place in this state where you don’t even need the stupid card to vote. All you need to do is tell the voting officials who you are, when you were born, and the last four numbers of your Social Security number.
So, ummm, why would this state spend $1 million sending cards no one needs?
That’s the gimmick, see. There is no reason to send the cards in the first place. It’s total idiocy. Sets itself up for a lot of one-liners. But, listen to this. It gets better. We have the state send a lot of these cards to dead people.
Dead people. What would dead people do with voting identification cards?
Duh! That’s the point of the plot line. See, the dead people can’t vote so whoever ends up with the ID card does get to vote, even if he is not registered. That way, no one knows whether the election is fixed or not.
I gotta admit, you’re on a roll. This is crazy, just crazy. There is no way any state in the nation could screw up voter registration more completely than what you are describing here. Nothing worse can go wrong.
Oh, yes it can, too. Check this out. Not only do they send the voter identification cards to dead people, they send 100,000 of them to the wrong homes.
So let me follow this. You spend a ton of money on voter ID cards no one needs in the first place. You send a whole lot of them to dead people. Then you send 100,000 of the cards to wrong addresses. That’s 100,000 votes and you don’t know if they are valid or not. That is absolutely incredible. My head is spinning. Nothing, absolutely nothing, could get more outlandish than the plot you have already outlined.
Oh, yeah? There’s more. As icing on the cake, you make sure that thousands of these cards get sent out after the election is already over.
Voter ID cards AFTER the election. Isn’t that wild?
Wild sure, but trouble is, is there anyone in the world who could imagine a state where things get so tangled?
People in New Mexico might get it.
(Just then a skinny guy with big glasses, earrings and the faint smell of marijuana bursts into the room.) Sorry I’m late for the story conference, but I’ve got it. You said to think outside the box. Listen to this. Jesus marries Mary Magdalene and they have a kid!
That’s it! Conference over. Even New Mexico can’t come up with a more bizarre notion than that.
Ned Cantwell does not wear earrings. Contact him at: