Every Voice Heard

I have long held a view that some may consider unconventional. I feel that all Americans eligible to vote should be legally required to cast a ballot. The only exemptions I would consider would be mental capacity and religious beliefs. (Three democratic countries current require voting.) Now I’m not forcing them to vote for any candidate(s) or issue(s); a blank ballot would suffice. (I doubt many would be cast.) I think voting is crucial in a democracy and full participation should be the goal. We have two major political parties and one, the Republican Party, is on a mission to make voter participation in elections as difficult as possible.

Other than legality – which I’m not certain of but I can’t see what law(s) it violates – criticisms of my proposal will center around logistics. How do we maintain integrity? If memory serves me correctly only one state does not have voter registration. Registration is the first step in voting. We can do it automatically in America as citizens reach their 18th birthday. Doubt me? Ask a lot of guys who turned 18 during the Vietnam War about the government’s ability to trace you. If we could trace young men by their birthdays in the 60s and 70s we can certainly do it for everyone today.

How would we handle the volume? First off, that is a good and desirable “problem” to have. The answer is to make access to the polls as simple as possible while again still maintaining integrity. In 2020 we showed we were well on our way. We had the largest turnout ever despite being in the middle of a pandemic. We need to expand access. I’m not sold on internet voting at this point but early and mail in voting have both proven to work, make election interference less effective while expanding voter turnout and maintaining integrity.

Currently the Republicans are on a mission (with well over 200 bills in process at the state level) to suppress the vote. Most are tailored to target likely Democratic voters especially poorer people of color. They have even admitted that in a response to a question from Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett. (I bet she is sorry she asked the question. I fully expect the Court to follow its recent history and rule in favor of voter suppression laws wherever possible.)

Iowa has already signed voter suppression legislation into law. This is a particularly illustrative case of just how wide spread the practice is. Iowa has a very small non-white population. In 2020 it had record turnout, went for Trump and reelected Senator Joni Ernst who was far from a sure thing. In addition it flipped two House seats to Republican.

Why? Other than trying to be the first in a series the Iowa GOP may be concerned that if Chuck Grassley retires they will not be able to defend an open Senate seat in 2022 in purple (with a reddish tint) Iowa.

Unless you are among the willfully ignorant who believe the big lie 2020 may well have been the most secure election America has ever had. This is despite a pandemic, a lying sitting president up for reelection, rampant disinformation and foreign interference attempts. Donald Trump brought forth over 60 court cases in the aftermath of the election – several of which were presided over by judges he appointed – and they found no proof of election fraud that would have even come remotely close to changing the results. If 2020 was rigged it was the biggest conspiracy in world history with the only people not in on it being Trump and his useful (to him) idiots.

As an aside, let me give a shout out to the front-line election workers. As both a voter and an observer I have personally witnessed many Republicans and Democrats alike who worked the polls in a non-partisan manner with the primary concern of maintaining integrity while trying to get every possible vote to count.

I’m an old coach and I love to win. I’m willing to engage in a contest of policy ideas and political ideals with the largest possible electorate confident in a “winning season”. Apparently, and after looking at both their performance and non-existent 2020 platform – the American Republican Party literally stand for nothing – the GOP is not.

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One thought on “Every Voice Heard”

  1. Didn’t I hear that Australia has a policy of mandatory voting, on penalty of a modest fine?

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