The responsibility of voting, and making elections secure again

Sept. 23, 2022
By Dale Kovar

Let’s talk about how to vote.

No, not who to vote for – the why and how we are to vote.

The people we elect make numerous decisions that affect our lives daily. Among many other things, they determine what we pay in taxes, what individual freedoms are supported or restricted, and they lead the culture of how our society operates.

We should not take the responsibility of choosing these elected officials lightly.

Unfortunately, some people put more effort into selecting what toppings are on their pizza than how they vote.

It was intended that citizens learn about the candidates and thoughtfully consider who would handle those elected jobs in a manner we would be pleased with.

Very few of us put in the work. Instead, we vote by party, perception, or name recognition.

Who can vote? In a nutshell, it’s any resident age 18 or older who isn’t serving a felony sentence or hasn’t been declared legally incompetent.

As to how we decide who to vote for, it’s wide open. You can choose based on skin color, if a candidate has the same first name as a classmate you liked or didn’t like, or, well, whatever.

It’s hoped we are more studious than that, but it’s part of how we choose our leaders – the ones who make those life-affecting decisions.

You might dispute the findings in the documentary “2000 Mules,” but no one can deny that a clear, formal process for managing how voting is conducted is necessary.

Most of us still have the dignity to accept results we don’t like if we can be confident it was a fair contest.

Those who accuse voter suppression want to make it “easy” to vote.

It wasn’t meant to be easy. You’re already allowed to vote if have no knowledge, and there is no criteria to follow, not to mention any language barriers that may hamper understanding.

When we consider what is at stake, it’s reasonable to expect people to show up (preferably informed) once every couple years if they wish to participate in making these crucial decisions.

In person. With identification. On paper ballots.

There is no valid reason to be afraid of showing a photo ID to vote. We do it frequently for much more trivial activities.

Paper ballots, even if counted by machine, provide the means to go back and recount or verify in close, contentious cases. That ensures credibility so both sides can accept the results.

Absentee voting used to be the exception. It was for those who were civic-minded enough to realize they had a legitimate conflict that would prevent them from coming in person on Election Day.

Now it’s turned into convenience rather than need, and the COVID scenario kicked the doors open for abuse.

Absentee voting can still be done in person. Just plan ahead. Come with ID and vote on your paper ballot.

Is that so hard? Remember how important a decision this is. Anything less is a disservice to ourselves and fellow citizens.

The government should not be sending out numerous ballots, even to those who didn’t request them, and then expect that anyone will believe the results.

Our elections need to be more trustworthy than Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown.

It’s too late to change the process for this fall, but if you agree, you can vote for candidates who will improve the system for next time and beyond. Which ones are they? Ahhh, that’s for you to figure out. That’s part of the responsibility of voting.

If you don’t agree, we welcome your explanation in a letter to the editor.

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