Many say voting is a critical and vital civic responsibility. I believe that premise is flawed. It’s not voting that’s the civic responsibility, it’s being informed if you intend to vote. That’s the responsibility.
In our society, there are those who are tuned into the issues of the day and those who aren’t. There are those who try to follow candidates and issues closely and those who couldn’t tell you who they are or what they stand for.
It’s a self-selecting process, and that’s fine. There are those who don’t like politics and have no interest. There’s no shame in that. We can’t all be fans of professional football. We can’t all like chocolate. We didn’t all watch the Bachelor.
I do believe that everyone should be engaged with the politics of the country. But I also know the reality is some just don’t care. And they’re not inclined to vote.
And if they’re not going to vote, don’t make them. There’s only one reason why someone who’s disengaged and doesn’t care would end up voting – because someone who does care picks them up, drives them to the voting booth and tells them which lever to pull. And that’s not good for our democracy.
It’s one thing to have people who don’t want to vote. But it’s far worse to use those people to cast votes for things they don’t understand.
That, to me, is the first step toward voter fraud. The second steps have to be early voting, voting by mail, and absentee ballots.
It used to be there was one day to vote, and everyone voted in person. This severely cut down the risk of voter fraud. Everyone showed up, they showed an ID, they were counted, and at the end of the night, the number of ballots cast equaled the number of people who showed up. (Ideally, to be sure.)
Now, in some states, you can mail in your ballot a month early. Or you can show up at the precinct within a certain span of time – over a few weeks – to cast your vote. The less succinct and organized voting day gets, the greater the chance for voter fraud.
Here in Seattle, we get mailed a ballot that we fill out and mail back. The problem is that things happen in campaigns – all the way up to Election Day. In fact, the time right before Election Day can be a time of many revelations about an issue or candidate. What if you’ve already voted? What if you voted two weeks before it’s revealed the person you voted for had an affair with one of his interns?
Society is governed by laws by which we’ve all agreed to live. One of those laws was that there was one day in which to vote. And to make sure anyone could get there, we also made it a law that employers had to give you time to vote. It also was a law that you had to show ID.
So, what happened? How did it come to pass that people couldn’t be bothered to get it done within the window of one day? Was it because of the inconvenience of standing in line? And why wouldn’t we insist voters prove they’re eligible, are who they claim to be and haven’t already voted.
I think the voting line is great. It’s another way to weed out those who aren’t truly serious about voting. It creates a disincentive to marginally interested voters – leaving only the people who truly care.
People who are engaged in the political process know the candidates. They know when voting day is, and if they’re so inclined, they’re going to vote. Freedom is supposed to be the backbone of this country, including freedom not to vote. That’s why I am completely against pro-voting initiatives. Anything that encourages people to simply vote, without supporting an issue or candidate, should be outlawed.
Consider Rock the Vote and initiatives like that. Though they try very hard to stay at arm’s length from bias, listening to their organizers and workers reveals they’re a liberal organization. In fact, one of my friends who worked with Rock the Vote has tales about the minor voter fraud in which he engaged. And look who they count on – the uninformed citizen who’s not otherwise inclined to vote. What does it say about liberal politicians and liberal policies that they count on the uninformed to win elections?
When election day comes, those who care will and should vote. And they should have to prove they’re eligible to vote. If you’re not interested, stay home.