Let's Make Sure Every Vote Matters
Oh, how quickly the electorate forgets.
The long lines at the polls, the glut of millionaire money that poured into candidates' coffers, the efforts to undercut voters' rights under the guise of preventing "voter fraud."
It's on to the holidays and pre-Christmas sales. Stuff that turkey, hang the mistletoe and whip out that credit card.
Before this chance for post-election reflection completely vanishes, though, let's talk election reform -- and begin to push for it.
The country dodged a bullet on
We could still be counting chads.
States operate under a hodgepodge of laws. According to the
This doesn't mean there is post-election peace and tranquility in the land.
A week after the election,
The longer the tabulating goes on, the more chance the public will begin to question the fairness of the process -- as they should. Many of the uncounted ballots were cast provisionally. That occurs when there are discrepancies in a voter's registration. Why that occurred in such high numbers is now the glaring question.
This is a nation that has computer programs capable of tracking every online purchase, deciphering what link you may click next, and a range of other digital wonders once considered Orwellian concepts.
And yet, many voters still cast their vote by filling in little dots with a stubby pencil, like grade-schoolers taking a multiple-choice exam. Some people we're left scrounging for the birth certificate that mom squirreled away to prove where they were born.
It's quaint, but not in a pleasing retro way. Developing democracies need to show the purple-ink-stained fingerprint of the just-voted.
Much could be accomplished by simply using available technology. Some states electronically transfer data from their motor vehicle offices to election officials. That negates the chances for human error in data entry and aids in keeping people's current address in the system.
Online voter registration is another measure shown to ease data foul-ups and increase voter registrations.
Presumably, one would think Republicans might go for this, too, although the party led many of the efforts that became more about voter suppression, rather than voter empowerment. Put confusing initiatives for provisional and absentee ballots in that box, along with redundant processes to prove eligibility.
"Voter fraud" became such a rallying cry that any effort to attack it, however poorly thought out, drew support. As the Brennan Center has consistently pointed out, much of what is labeled vote fraud simply isn't. Inconsistencies in records, inaccurately entered data, multiple similar names in a database and a range of solvable problems are the real culprits.
Wrongly categorizing the problem means remedies often miss their mark. Instead, they cause new complications. Among the worst offenses, is the disenfranchisement of eligible voters.
Same ballot, my fellow Americans. We need to get on the same ballot here.
Along the way, we could also re-energize enthusiasm for the civic duty of voting.
Part of the reason people don't vote is the often-repeated line that "My vote doesn't matter."
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Let's Make Sure Every Vote Matters | Politics
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