Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Elections.

I don't often talk politics on this blog.

Occasionally I break that rule. But I'm not going to talk about political parties. I'm just going to talk about elections.

I don't think we appreciate them enough in most of the west. (If you really want to see politics taken seriously, check out a Greek general election. Or don't...it's not something you want to land in the middle of, trust me).

Voter turnout of fifty percent is considered exceptional. Why don't people get out and vote?

Some of it's apathy. Some of it may be hating all the candidates offered (I have sympathy. My congressman is Jim Moran...) In some cases, people can't get or afford time off work to vote. Housebound and disabled people may find it hard to get to the polls - and volunteer assistance is often available ONLY for general elections, not specials or primaries.

Such measures as making election day a national holiday would again only apply to general elections.

Maybe employers should be required to give employees paid time off for the purposes of voting? (It's not that hard to check that an election is actually happening, after all).

Better absentee voting systems do help. Absentee-in-person, for example, is much easier than mailed ballots if you're able bodied and just had, say, to go to a funeral in another country on election day. Or a wedding in another country. (Believe it or not, I've had both happen).

Early voting allows people to work around their schedule or arrange for somebody to cover their shift.

But none of that helps when people can't be bothered to vote. You hear a lot of "both parties are the same," "they're all corrupt anyway," and other such excuses.

Engaging people in the political process is vital if we're going to keep...and rejuvenate...our democracy.