The Voting Process
By Jody Reese
While itís important to make sure that people donít illegally vote, itís just as important to make sure that itís easy for them to vote.
After the narrow John Kerry and John Lynch victories in New Hampshire last week, some are calling on the state to make it harder for folks to vote in an attempt to head off theoretical voter fraud. Itís theoretical fraud because none has been discovered.
In New Hampshire, voters can register the day of the election because the state opted out of the Motor Voter Act of 1993 in which citizens are registered when they get their driverís license or sign up for other government programs. At the time, many thought that same-day registration was less vulnerable to fraud than registering motorists. I think New Hampshire should register everyone who has a driverís license and everyone who wants to register the day of the election.
The more folks in those voter booths, the better.
Government should be in the business of making it easier to vote, and not because it will help one party or another, though that is always the underlying assumption when talking about this issue, but because itís good for our democracy. We are, after all, government for the people, by the people. And we canít be ďby the peopleĒ if a large number find it too difficult to vote.
But shouldnít it be a little difficult to vote to keep those who are uninformed from voting? No. In todayís busy world, itís not the uninformed that are kept from the polls by registration hurdles, itís people who have to commute to work or work so many hours they canít find the time to register. Those type of voters are not from one political party or another. Theyíre just busy.
The reality is that more voters do not help either party. In this election cycle more people voted than ever before and pundits told us would help the Democrats. It didnít. President Bush won more than 59,000,000 votes by getting people to the polls who didnít vote in 2000. Sure, this time around the college vote went to Kerry but in the 1980s it went to President Ronald Reagan.
So why does it matter if more New Hampshire residents vote?
The more people who vote, the more invested they are in their community. By voting they intrinsically support our democratic system and in the end that strengthens our state. People who vote become more involved in a ll facets of community life, and thatís good for everyone.
Election Day should be a holiday and it should be as easy to vote as it is to rent a movie. Anything else is just plain silly.
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