Sunday, October 19, 2008

When It Comes to Voting, It is Quality and not Quantity

We hold the right to vote in such high regard that we now allow anyone, even Mickey Mouse, to vote in our elections. The attraction of voting is so powerful that untold numbers of dead people suspend their resting in peace to show up and make their choice for President. Yes, elections are very important.

I don't know about you, but the above references to scandals related to ACORN actually shows that voting is becoming a sham. It is not revered, but a vehicle to purely promote political agendas and not preserve our freedoms. Yet virtually everyone extols the beauty of the vote and the more voters the merrier. I think it is time to defend the quality of the vote.

Every state has limits on the campaigning that can be done during elections. For example, there is a distance that has to be maintained between where people vote and signs promoting specific candidates. You have seen this when you pulled up at your neighborhood elementary school with signs being displayed for virtually every candidate all the way up to the magical line where no more campaigning is allowed. After that, voters are protected from further external political influence. Or are they?

The reality is, the single most important political information is in the room where they vote. Not, it isn't on the wall or in fliers handed out on the instructions used for the machines. The most important political information is on the ballot itself. Every office has the party affiliation clearly labeled on each candidate. Furthermore, you can typically press one button and vote straight party ticket.

Removing party affiliation would be a very significant step that the government could take to reduce voter fraud and abuse. With the elimination of straight ticket voting, there is no longer "press seven and go to heaven" or "press nine and all is fine." People would actually have to know who they are voting for before casting a vote. What a novel idea!

This idea will have any of its proponents seen as elitists and anti-democratic by the media, I am sure. The truth is, there is nothing about it that should make voters feel disenfranchised. Are there those who are saying that voters are casting ballots, but they do not know for whom? Are those the ones that will be punished by a system that requires a little knowledge and accountability before they actually cast a vote? In my view, if they don't know a candidate by anything but party affiliation, they are not qualified to vote.

A few candidates for major offices will not be affected by this simple reform, but the quality of voting in general would be much higher in a system such as this and would lead to a decided increase in the quality of voting. That is exactly what our country needs.

Kevin Price articles frequently appear at ChicagoSunTimes.com, Reuters.com, USAToday.com, and other national media.

Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at PriceofBusiness.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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