So there’s this whole early voting brouhaha going on in the US right now.
On top of all kinds of Republican-led legislation at the state level to add ID requirements that ostensibly are to keep non-citizens and ineligible people from voting fraudulently (I think everyone who isn’t a state-level GOP legislator is aware that the number of votes cast fraudulently is really, really low, like in the 0.000001 decimal points of votes cast, low. It’s really a non-issue, that has been seized on by the kind of people who don’t believe President Obama’s birth certificate is valid, because, you know, he’s, um, black. Sssshh! apparently a lot of people didn’t notice that last time!)
I know Canada has a really small population, compared to the US, and we, too, have a voting problem inasmuch as a pathetically small percentage of our eligible citizens vote; however, I can’t imagine the foofaraw if they tried to curb early voting. I mean, employers are required to allow employees up to 4 hours to leave work early/come in late in order to allow them sufficient time to vote. That’s right! if you need to leave at 3:00 so you can make it to the polls, you’re allowed to. I normally vote in the morning, and get it over with, so I don’t have to worry about going at the end of the day when the lines can be long. And that’s another thing: for me, a long line is one that takes a whole half-hour to get through.
These tales of 3 and 4 and 5-hour lines? unfathomable! why aren’t there more polling stations, or more booths per poll, or more days available for early voting? you should not have to stand for 3 or 4 or 5 hours in order to exercise your constitutionally-protected right to cast a ballot for the candidate(s) of your choice. (Not your boss’s choice! yours!) That’s ridiculous!
I don’t understand how these legislatures are so sure that the early voters who happen to line up first, and get in to vote without waiting half the day, are only people voting on the “right” side. Conversely, some of the older people who can’t stick it out and give up without voting, for example, might be conservative older people. What makes them so sure they’re doing themselves a favour? I really don’t get it.
If there’s one thing that the American people ought to insist on, in my opinion, it’s figuring out the most equitable way for its citizenry to vote. Some states do it by mail. It’s a bit less exciting, because you can do it at your leisure, with your computer or newspaper or whatever handy, to make sure you’re voting for the people who are going to do things the way you’d like, rather than lining up with your neighbours and feeling all patriotic together, but given that the US Postal Service is an existing infrastructure, and that ballots can then be entered in an orderly fashion over days or weeks, I think it’s a pretty good system. I mean it beats lining up in all kinds of weather for hours on end, to do something that it’s both your right and duty to do.
Of course, the TV news would have way less of a horserace, and “election night” would be a bit of a yawn, but what’s more important?
If not that, then MOAR POLLING STATIONS.
The current system clearly is not working. And that’s with less than half of eligible voters voting! imagine if everyone stood up to be counted!