Mandatory voting

voting day in a small town

voting day in a small town (Photo credit: Muffet)

I believe that voting should be required in all national elections and made uniformly easy. A small fine would be imposed on non-voters. Elections today are frequently decided by which side is better at getting out the vote for their side. If everyone must vote, the results will reflect the wishes of all the people. Then the candidates will be compelled to compete on convincing voters of the rightness of their policies, rather than getting out the vote.

Right to vote

Exercising the right to vote is a principal expression of the freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constitution and the foundation of all our other rights. Even in a heavily contested national election, approximately one-third of all eligible voters don’t vote. Why not? In some cases, potential voters think that there is little or no difference among the candidates. In the past, I have occasionally cast my vote for a candidate with no chance of winning as a protest to express my displeasure with the choices. I did that in the 2000 election when I voted for Ralph Nader.

Many voters don’t vote because they believe that one vote does not make a difference, or that it does not matter to them personally who is president or governor or mayor. Some voters cannot afford to take time from a job in order to vote. A national paid holiday on election day every two or four years would be a small price to pay for a more involved citizenry.

Voting should be quick and easy. The longest wait I can recall happened here in Utah in 2004 when I waited in line about 45 minutes. I could not and I would not stand in line for much longer than that. People who waited hours in line to vote have my respect, and the officials who made them wait that long have my anger. No one should be forced to endure hardship to exercise their right to vote.


Winning is everything

West's silhouette serves as the current NBA logo.

West’s silhouette serves as the current NBA logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This election is important, but winning is almost everything, not winning is everything. I am not a fan of basketball and the NBA, but my son is. When we visit for Thanksgiving at his home as we do every year, I am sure that we will watch one or more basketball games. When I first saw the behavior of fans behind the baskets when the other team shot free throws, I was dismayed at what I consider to be unsportsmanlike behavior. The fans wave all sorts of devices to distract the opposing payer’s attempt to score a free-throw point. When I played basketball as a youth, unsportsmanlike conduct was taboo.

Today in politics, it seems that winning is everything and no method is out-of-bounds. I believe that we must observe some limits on what we say and do during elections if we are to continue living and working together after elections are over. Rather than discouraging voting through distasteful tactics, we should be making voting easier and more inviting so that more people vote. Elections are supposed to be a way for the electorate to decide questions of policy, not wars waged for money and power. Let us return to a time, if it ever existed, when being a politician was considered a respectable position.

Naked News

Among all of Mitt’s changing positions, only one message is unchanging, “Vote for me; I am not Barack Obama.” No one will vote for Mitt Romney; his vote totals will be almost entirely votes against Barack Obama. Since the election follows Halloween so closely, my suggestion to Mitt to make his message even more explicit is for Mitt to dress in a Barack Obama costume. Then as he speaks, he can slowly remove the costume to reveal the Mitt Romney underneath.

There is a pseudo news program on the web, available only to paid subscribers at , where the news readers strip as they read the news. The news readers now are strictly female, although there was a male version which was cancelled due to low ratings. The program is recorded in Canada and is produced six days per week and each episode runs for 25 minutes. If the male version were still being produced, Mitt could have appeared as a guest host, removing his Barack Obama costume and not stopping there.

Uninformed voters

English: Bill O'Reilly at a Hudson Union Socie...

English: Bill O’Reilly at a Hudson Union Society event in September 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bill O’Reilly bemoans the fact that millions of voters are uninformed about this election and may vote anyway. I think that it is the duty of citizens to cast only informed votes. That is why I do not vote in races where I lack knowledge, such as contests for school board, judgeships, and propositions that are purely technical in nature. Some on the Right would deny the vote to citizens who the Right deems unqualified, such as the young, the poor, and minorities. A study showed that viewers of FOX News knew less about politics than people who watched no political news at all. That means that viewers of Bill O’Reilly’s show and other FOX News broadcasts should not be allowed to vote.