It’ll get better, but only if you force it

TW: voter suppression

It would be cliché to say that for each eligible voter in the US the past months have led up to a single moment today. Perhaps more accurately, years of experiences have contributed to it. But for a single instant today, whether you cast it in person or they looked over the ballot you sent in weeks ago, what you decided to support counted and mattered (although, it must be said, not necessarily equally). At some point tonight, it will be your moment.

Unless, of course, that didn’t happen. There’s of course the many people, who although eligible voters in this country are for one reason or another unable to vote. For far too many, that choice is theirs alone, but it’s actually hard to say how many fall into that category. The vast majority of countries hold public elections on typically work-free Sundays, with several others also favoring the also often unscheduled Saturday. Among the few nations that favor weekday voting like the United States,  there often are many unusual efforts put into making voting easier in spite of it butting heads with work, school, and other weekly conflicts. In India, people can vote on either Wednesday or Thursday over the course of a four week period, allowing them to plan out when they will vote. In South Korea, although the Election Day is only a single day during the work week, it’s a national holiday.

South Korea ballot countingVoting lines in Mumbai, India, in 2009
(Ballot counting in South Korea and voting in India. Respectively from here and here.)

Having attempted to institute something akin to the system in India with early voting, the US has seen that backfire in many places as the number of hours a given precinct was open would be inadequate for demand.  For whatever reason, our infrastructure is inadequate to allow everyone to vote unless an entire day (and preferably several) of open polls which doesn’t conflict with work or school exists. In short, we need a South Korean-style national holiday to allow voters whose moment doesn’t have the chance to happen to vote in the future. With that in mind I suggest signing this petition for exactly such a solution to be put in place.

Unfortunately, there are many additional complications that can also serve to prevent some one from reaching the polls.  For our society to identify the reason some one couldn’t vote is key, as it will allow us to address the issue and allow more people to vote in the future. So, if you or anyone you know experienced a problem of any sort with voting this year, report it, report it, report it. If you don’t talk about it, no one can help you fix the problem. If the issue goes unresolved, your moment and the voice of potentially many others can’t ever come.

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4 thoughts on “It’ll get better, but only if you force it

  1. Matthew says:

    This is a huge issue and my favorite moment of Obama’s victory speech was him indicating that he understands the importance of voting to a democracy. I really wonder how people like Rick Scott sleep at night. I don’t think it’s right for the uber-wealthy to be able to outspend everyone else on election ads, but I’d never want to restrict their ability to actually vote.

  2. I’m worried though that the GOP won’t come out of it with the right lesson. They rolled in a lot of wealthy donors this year, but it didn’t actually move many feet on the ground. The conclusion they might have as a result is that then restricting voting even more is how they’ll finally squeak by with victories.

  3. […] of us. Of course, it’s hard to say how much of that gap is just the product of voter apathy, as it always is, but noticing that small gap that may be important in places like Arizona, bring to mind the fact […]

  4. […] of us. Of course, it’s hard to say how much of that gap is just the product of voter apathy, as it always is, but noticing that small gap that may be important in places like Arizona, bring to mind the fact […]

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