I find myself in complete agreement with Jason. The push for voter ID laws in states across the country has shown a belief that the system is overrun with fraud. The numbers of actual vote fraud do not warrant this type of strict regulation of freedom. I thought he summed up the entire situation nicely with the following quote “After all, the prevention of a legitimate vote has the same potential to change the outcome of an election as a vote cast fraudulently. But the harm in the former is greater because the means of prevention robs citizens of their rights.” This is a very important aspect that I don’t think is mentioned often enough.
“Voting is the only legal action (that I’m currently aware of) where one citizen can force another to do something against their will.”
While one could reduce the act of voting to one person exuding control over another through the vote, the single act of one person casting their vote does not in reality “force another” to do something against their will. Democracy is just a method for hiring a representative. Ultimately it is up to the constituents to continue their interaction within the process of representative democracy. This is where people tend to truly fail at the duty of being a citizen; many think that casting their vote is where their duty starts and stops, all on the same day. Nope. This is merely the beginning.
You, as a voter, need to be vigilant in making sure the people you elected to those positions understand what is expected of them. This is even more important if you DIDN’T elect them. You need to voice your opposition to the issues that you find most abhorrent, illogical or just down right wasteful. Our system demands action from voters, not just on voting day, but the rest of the year as well. The voter’s role is similar to that of a gardener. The first task is to plant your new leafy friend (voting your elected official into office). Of course, most “gardeners” stop here. Very few continue to “water the plant and keep it trimmed” (voice your opinion through direct interaction) throughout the year. You see, planting the flower, tree, or shrub is merely just the beginning and is the easiest part. It’s all of the work that follows that matters most.
The two ideas Jacob proposed, which were pretty much identical, were to adapt some form of a test that voters would have to take in order to be given permission to vote. We’ve been down this path; it’s a terrible idea with the potential for vast and ugly consequences. Far worse than what we would get from a poorly informed electorate. Of course, his solution is merely addressing a symptom of a much larger disease. If you want to cure an ill-informed electorate then the fastest way is through an informative media, a press where it doesn’t offer news as entertainment or theater. In fact if we were to reduce the length of campaigns (something I brought up in a previous blog) to something in the neighborhood of 2-3 months it would likely force all the fluff to be reduced, naturally, and the important stuff would float to the top.