Balloting rules, particularly in Utah, are too antiquated and cumbersome.
The worst part is there is always some bureaucrat hanging around the ballot booth attempting to persuade people not to vote (or so it seems). They are more concerned with using force than using logic.
It is not just them. They are a part of the problem, or as scripture familiar to just about everyone with multiple generations in Utah know so well: “We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion,” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:39). It is natural for those bureaucrats to proven they in control rather than servants.
But, enough of that. We have all experienced them. The system contributes to the problem primarily because governments generally are so slow to respond to opportunities for improve. They would rather control than change.
You register to vote, where you must prove who you are. You show up at the polling place to vote and then must prove who you are, AGAIN, with two forms of ID. Your VID is not acceptable.
However, it you mail in your ballot no “Proof” is required at all, contrary to the quaint supposition one of the controllers with tell you.
The best part is that you get to vote in advance of knowing anything truly relevant about the candidates. It is a historical FACT that much of the relevant information about candidate surfaces within the last few days of the campaign, totally useless to those that have already voted.
I want to share an incongruity that happened today while voting.
We went through the normal nonsense of proving we were not extremist terrorists intent on blowing up a single ballot station of a small city election by providing birth certificates, drivers license, four credit card bills with addresses, the last seven months of utility bills, four eye witnesses, and a triple notarized statement of verified personal identity. The purpose behind this intrusion, beyond giving some bureaucrat the satisfaction of being in control of other people, is still unfathomable.
Then, and this is still beyond reason, I was handed on of those credit cards required to cast my ballot in the voting machine. When I inserted the credit card into the voting machine it told me that the card had already been used to vote! Think about that for a moment!
I attempted two more times to insert the card into the reader and received the same message.
Well known for my impatience with such events I calmly and patiently, to my wife’s embarrassment, advised the Gestapo at the gate that the card registered to have been already used. I expected to be required to bring my trunk full of identification documents back in from the over-sized U-haul truck in order to get a new card.
I was completely surprised when Commandant Schultz simply handed me a new card.
HERE IS THE PROBLEM!
Given that I tried to use the card multiple times, eating up precious time, how did the officials know that I had not simply cast a ballot and was now trying to get a second shot at manipulating the outcome?
I see three immediate potential answers to that question:
- They no longer cared because the moment of doing their job had passed.
- They mishandled previously used cards, meaning all ballots cast today at that location are suspect.
- The ability to monitor my precise voting preference (who), which is patently anti-American and unacceptable to our entire elective process.
Other possible answers exist, but I choose not to indulge them. I prefer to get to a rational solution.
Voting Option…the alternative.
First, chiseling our votes into granite is a somewhat outmoded, even for government entities. Bring on the present. Registration to vote should require proper identification. Keep what is working.
Second, those credit card 2x4s are pretty cheap. Really, they are. I mean they are cheap even for government agencies which make a habit of getting ripped off. All registered voters should receive one of those cards.
- The card would serve as verification of proper registration, and contain a photograph of the voter. Thump print recognition could be included on the card (but I recognize that is fearful to some conservative small government oriented people and should not be required (totally opt-in).
- The card could then be inserted into the voting machine and a ballot cast.
- The only requirement at the sign-in table would be for the official to verify photo and signature (on the card also) matched.
Third, the system would then indicate that the personalized card had been used and would be ineligible for repeat voting. This would prevent dead folks from voting more than once.
Fourth, for those people opposed to the technology for whatever their reasons the old method could be still available.
No system for mass participation is without occasional glitches. That is to be expected. However, as they said to the six-million dollar man, “We can fix him. We have the technology.” Fortunately, major technological changes would not be required in most jurisdictions. It is a matter of one-time programming costs, plus a relatively little bit for implementation.
Now, since I am on the subject of voting I have one further suggestion which will make some folks have heart attacks (I am not responsible for those occurrences because you have been forewarned). My suggestion about voting is this, CUT IT OUT!
Voting has become a meaningless pastime promoted mind-numbingly by elected officials and politicians. OK, that is an over statement. Encouraging increased voting has become the passes reflection of being a good American.
Elected officials and politicians think they are being good little boys and girls by encouraging people to get out and vote. They are not. First, for all of the time and energy spent encouraging people to vote the actual results have been a dismal reversal. Participation has not been improving at all, except in minor anecdotal experiences.
Second, this hype vigilance toward getting people to vote has for all intents and purposes achieved one more dismal outcome. Elections have become more partisan with fewer informed voters…and as stated above fewer uninformed voters. So, CUT IT OUT.
I have no, and I repeat NO, evidence to back up my assertion, but I believe that all the efforts to making voting more convenient, addition to failing, has actually diminished the value of voting with people. I firmly believe that few people vote because it is too easy and therefore meaningless to them. Again I stress that is simply personal opinion…even though it is accurate.
What is to be done? Return to one election day on which people can cast their ballots. Laziness should not be an option to alter public policy. If a person places some other activity ahead of voting on election day that is their free choice. The choice is that they don’t get to vote. Just as dead people, even in Chicago, don’t get to vote lazy people should not get to either.
I have heard all the arguments about convenience, blah blah blah, etc. Make a choice, vote or choose not to vote, but don’t blame society.
What would I do to mitigate legitimate concerns? First, with the eased means of voting described above a lot of money could be saved. Use that money to keep polls open twenty-four hours. A vast majority of the people could find a time in 24 hours to go vote if they actually wanted to do so.
There are some legitimate circumstances for very limited absentee balloting; Students away at college and military personnel stationed away from their homes. Those are valid reasons for absentee voting. The businessman that has to take a business trip, “Sorry pal, hope your company treats you better next year.”
One highly meritorious value of 24 hour balloting is in presidential elections. TV stations would be more hesitant to project winners. Even if they did make those projections for some states, it would allow candidates to mobilize their supporters to get to the polls and vote. Opening polls at the same time nationwide, and then closing them at the same time would have all results tabulated simultaneously. I see a benefit to that.
This post is much longer than I wanted it to be, but I am long-winded. One final point. Presidential races appropriately determined in the Electoral College. Prudence says that should never change. What should change that every elector sent to the college should have the right to vote as they see fit, and not by some state law requiring “winner-take-all.
That Is The Way I See It.