Voters

The American people are jealous of their freedom and the one they are most jealous of is their right to vote. Their second favorite is their freedom not to vote is they don’t want to. You can’t take my vote away and you can’t make me cast it. Ironically, the right to vote is the one right that guarantees all your other rights, so if you don’t exercise it, well….

Ah, human nature.

Don’t want to make America vote? How about making it easier to vote? Send every eligible voter a mail-in ballot one month before the second Tuesday in November. Call it Easy-Vote. They can mark it and send it in any time before Election Day or drop it off in person. Or they can just come in and use a machine. If they don’t get a ballot, they can go to a web site and request one. If they lost it, they can ask for a replacement. If they’re not sure if they voted, they can check on line. Or they can go vote in person. They can keep an I VOTED receipt which they can tear off the ballot as a reminder—or as a sign to put on the front door to keep canvassers away.

There is no need to fine people who don’t vote; punishment is not in the right spirit for elections. But you can give everyone who turns in a ballot a check for fifty dollars. Governments would probably save $50 per voter just by using this mail in system and reducing the number of people at polling places. It’s not a fine, but it works like a fine. You lose $50 if you don’t vote. Some people won’t vote on principle. Okay, free country. States could throw in a lottery ticket to sweeten the deal. Even people who don’t mind losing $50 for not voting want a free lottery ticket. Especially those people.

Voting is in the hands of the states. You think that’s because every state has different seats to be filled, but if that were the case, elections would be in the hands of each town. Elections are in the hands of the states for the same reason we have a Senate that represents states equally regardless of population and an Electoral College which also aggregates the popular votes in each state—slavery. When you think of all the contortions the Founding Fathers had to go through to design a democracy where everyone was NOT equal, you would call them the Founding Twisters.

It would take a constitutional amendment to change this—or eliminate the Electoral College—which requires two-thirds of the states to agree, the same two-thirds who would lose the special privilege the Constitution confers on the minority. No soap.

But you could work around it. The Federal Government could set guidelines for States to vote like this or in an equivalent way. Maybe some states would come up with a better plan. If not, the Federal Government would not consider the states to be democratic and withhold money of some sort. Or refuse to seat its representatives. Or some other dodge that would work around the Constitution. There would be lawsuits and fighting, but if the objective is to make it easier for Americans to vote, it would either gain popular support or seem too reasonable or idealistic to resist reasonably.

Don’t tell me you’d get people voting who don’t know anything about the election. We just elected Donald Trump, didn’t we? Besides if you knew you had to vote, you might want to do a little research.

Imagine an America where it’s easy to vote. Where nearly everyone voted. Imagine democracy. Now let’s do it.

Author: leonardrysdyk

Leonard Rysdyk is the author of more than a dozen novels, stories, articles and poems. His work has appeared in many publications including Snow White, Blood Red, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Aboriginal Magazine and the New York Review of Science Fiction. A professor at Nassau Community College, he teaches literature (including science fiction), cultural history (including the history of science) and is an acknowledged innovator in the field of Computer Aided Instruction (CAI), a subject on which he has lectured and consulted.

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