Election day has lost its meaning. For most, it’s business as usual, the normal day-to-day stuff, but voting is no longer part of it.
On Friday, the FBI announced it was reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails and 34 percent of people told pollsters they would be “less likely” to vote for her, but wait! More than 22 million people had already cast their votes.
Too bad for them. Too bad for the country. In a race this close, it could affect the final outcome.
It used to be that a voter had to give a reason to vote early, Now citizens are encouraged to vote by mail or show up at a polling place any old time. It’s a needless drain of manpower and resources.
States are not allowed to publish the totals from early voting, but most publish everything else: the race, ethnicity and even the party affiliation of most early voters. Certain groups are fairly predictable and here is no shortage of analysts to tell us what these numbers mean. By the time the election rolls around, a voter could get the feeling that its all over, so why bother. This can suppress the vote and affect the outcome.
Vote by mail is a blessing for the elderly and infirm, but if I could be the voting queen, I would go back to only allowing early voting for those who are traveling or can prove a hardship.
Call me old fashioned, but election day should be a special day for citizens who are privileged to live in a free country. Most polling places are open 12 to 15 hours and are within a few miles of where we live. This is not a burden. Businesses should allow their employees the opportunity to come in an hour late or leave an hour early in order to have extra time to cast their ballots.
We should take pride in turning out to vote on election day. After all, our forefathers bled and died to give us this privilege. Have we grown so lazy we can’t walk or drive few blocks to a polling place on election day?
If I were the queen of voting, the second thing I would do should be the most obvious: Require a photo ID. Presently only 15 states have this requirement. It’s hard to argue against them and keep a straight face.
The third thing I would do is put up a sign at every voting place that says, “If you are unfamiliar or unsure of a candidate or a ballot measure, just leave that space blank.” I once asked this question of some of the smartest people I know: bankers, lawyers, company executives, “Must you vote for every office in order to have your ballot counted?” If someone said,“No,” I then asked, “Are you sure?” Most admitted they were not. Where do you think that leaves the average voter?
Most voters are heavily invested in the candidates at the top of the ticket: president, governor, or mayor, but after that, they simply go down the ballot and mark “incumbent.” This is why we have a $20 trillion national debt. Once in office our representatives can do virtually anything and they keep getting reelected.
The last thing I would do is eliminate all state laws that permit voters in one party to vote in another party’s primary. It allows voters in a party without a contested race, to go to the other party’s primary and vote for its worst candidate so that their candidate will face a weaker opponent in the general. Bear in mind, in the general election, you are free to vote for the best candidate regardless of party affiliation, and when we have two good candidates running against each other, we all win.
What about independents? It’s been said that the only thing in the middle of the road is a dead skunk and a yellow line. Voters need to choose a party in order to vote in the primary. If not, they should stay out of it and wait for the general election. This will cause more voters to study party platforms and register for the party that is most alined with their views. If their views change they can always re-register and change parties, within a reasonable time before an election.
There will never be a voting queen who can simply make these changes with a stroke of a pen. Voters in each state must demand them. We don’t need more voters. We need more informed voters who are choosing among the best possible candidates.