© 2017 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. One thing that drives some people in our country crazy is that about half of our citizens either do not vote in our elections or worse, are not by choice even registered. A new plan has emerged in several states to have everyone eighteen and older automatically registered to vote.
Here is the reasoning: the states have computers that can hold lots of data so automatically registering anyone in the state would be easy to do. But would it be wise? I have been on record as saying that voter registration drives do not impress me since just being registered does not guarantee that people will vote.
And if they do not care to vote I really would rather they not. Just pulling the lever so we could say more people voted does not help our country in any way.
Perhaps what we need to do is show what happens when people do not vote. Certainly, some would point at President Trump. Relax, I voted for him or more truthfully, I voted against someone else.
But people are moaning that they cannot understand how a man such as him could be elected president. Truthfully, he was elected by a weak candidate and the millions of people who stayed home or did not even register to vote.
So, some people would like to make voter registration automatic. Every person of adult age would always be able to vote. The rub is that most who didn’t vote this time would not vote next time.
Maybe there needs to be compulsory voting. You must vote in every election. It would be like having to serve in the jury pool. You know, I just thought of a great plan: why don’t we take all those people who don’t vote and vote for them.
Everyone registered as a Democrat or Republican would be an automatic straight vote for that ticket if they, themselves, do not vote. It would be one hundred percent participation or look like it.
An extension of that concept would be the concept of proxy. If registration is compulsory, then we citizens should be free to give a proxy for our vote to someone we trusted. They would listen to the debates and research the candidates carefully while we get to spend our time on our Fantasy Football League.
Or, since the vote is our own, we could sell our vote. Someone who cares and gave us a hundred dollars would be welcome to our vote. Why not? Is it our vote or not? About half of our adult population has already announced by not registering to vote that they don’t give a John Wayne Mickey Mouse Darn about the elections. Let us citizens sell our vote to someone who does care and will pay for it.
OK, so I am mostly kidding here but the notion of having automatic registration is for real. Let me mention some issues: the sticking point is not registration, rather it appears to be the notion that the will of each and every voter might be corrupted by voter fraud.
Example: a television station in El Paso had a story about an effort to help residents in a senior care center vote in an election. The seniors were happy that this very nice woman came by their center and handled all of the paperwork.
The camera recorded one old geezer who said he hadn't voted since that time he voted for Ike. The interviewer then asked him, “So if you do not mind telling us, who did you vote for today?”
The man looked blank. “Gosh, I don’t know. The wonderful lady took care of that.”
To me it seems likely the very nice lady was able to vote a couple hundred times for her own candidates because everyone was so focused on these geezers and geezerettes voting and they were not thinking about voting being an expression of choice.
Quite a can of worms if we mandate registration and voting for all citizens. What is wrong with citizens having the freedom to not do it? Or not even being registered to vote? It is not a problem with me since to vote is to care.