The Free Press editorial board thinks that voter participation is too low and that something needs to be done to allow or inspire more voters to vote. This is not a new discussion. The Free Press editorial board should know based on the past twenty years (and more) of advocacy, research and proposals to every voting jurisdiction in all parts of the world that vote on how to best enable the maximum participation for voting.
There are three factual means of increasing voter participation.
1) make it easier to vote.
2) make it less costly to vote.
3) make voting a positive experience instead of what it is today.
Voting must be easy to enable voters to cast their ballot. Ballot language must be clear and easy to understand. The language must actually fit with the meaning of the reason for voting. Locations must be accessible. The time allotment for voting must be reasonable to allow people to make the time to vote. Absentee ballots are a crutch and do not fully meet this condition. Extending voting to Saturdays and having the voting locations open for at least a week allows enough time for voters to make it to the polls.
The cost of voting is never discussed by people like the editorial board. Those who must vote also must work. Therefore if the choice is between voting and losing money, those persons will not vote. It should not cost a person money to get to a voting location. With the resources available to Detroit, mobile voting locations could drive all over the city to allow people to walk from their homes to vote. This and other changes lowers the cost to the voters and will increase participation.
The experience of voting should also be considered. Poll workers should be paid more money and many should be considered full time. More training should be provided. Dedicated polling places should be established to allow for a place that has as its purpose voting and at other times education regarding voting and the voting process. Voting lines are always too long. Wait times based on a lack of equipment is unacceptable. A pleasant voting experience encourages a better and stronger community.
Voting in “America” is an after thought. Voting is treated as though its a necessary evil. Cities, states and counties barely provide the basics to allow a smooth and efficient voting process. The media, like the Free Press, complain about the cost of voting more than they talk about how to improve voting. Almost every other country where voting is allowed has a better voting system than does the United States. The county that was (supposedly) founded on the principle of voting has done almost nothing, and in some cases the opposite to create a better voting process. The Free Press makes it seem as though they care about the process to vote but in reality they don’t care and the faceless editorial board does the opposite to ensure that this country, state, county and city has the voting participation they claim needs too improve.