Low Turnout. Blame The Voter?

Aside from playing on voters’ natural initial concerns about whether online voting is secure, and doing so in a manner that can only be described as fear-mongering, anti-online voting advocates try to come up with other reasons why online voting is the wrong direction to take. One of them is a classic “blame the consumer” approach.

One of the primary tactics of the oil industry to perpetuate the burning of fossil fuels, as opposed to investing in renewable energy, is to blame the consumer for his addiction to oil. After all, oil companies are just providing a resource that the public demands, right? Wrong.

Oil companies put great “energy” into stopping alternative forms of energy or alternate ways to use energy from reaching the public. They work equally hard at convincing the public that it is their own fault or choice that alternatives don’t exist.

Electric cars are not prominent on our roads because people don’t like them, right? Wrong.

In fact the electric car is probably the most important key to substantially reducing the world’s use of and addiction to fossil fuels. The majority of oil burned in this country is burned as gasoline in cars driven by commuters to and from work less than 50 miles from their homes. Even if all of the electricity used by electric cars were produced by oil-fired electric plants, the carbon footprint of powering all those vehicles would be SIGNIFICANTLY less than all of those cars driving around with their own little gasoline generated power plants.

Seems like a no-brainer? But apparently Americans don’t want electric cars, and those who have tried them didn’t like them, right? Wrong.

The documentary “Who killed the Electric Car?” chronicles General Motors’ production, trial, and quick DEMOLITION of a fleet of electric cars about ten years ago.

What “Who Killed the Electric Car?” really illuminates is an attempt to fabricate a case that people don’t want electric cars by producing some and crushing them, stating that they were a failure. Then the “trial” can be pointed to as a great example of why electric cars are unviable with the consumer. It’s not GM’s fault there are no electric cars. The public doesn’t want them. Except it was all a lie. The people who were leased the electric cars in this case LOVED their cars. When the leases expired on the cars, the owners wanted to buy them. But GM would not sell a single one. Instead they took back every car and crushed them.

The case of the DC online voting “fiasco” is identical to “Who Killed the Electric Car?”. It was an attempt to fabricate an “example” of how online voting doesn’t work.

But in an even more general sense, voters themselves are blamed for low turnout in elections. If people really cared enough to vote, they would. If they weren’t too lazy, they would go vote. It’s not the voting system’s fault that turnouts are low. It’s not the voting system’s fault that some demographic groups are too highly represented in voter turnout and others are too low. This mindset gets the voting system itself off the hook.

Somehow there is a mindset that voting “should” be difficult. It is one’s civic duty to physically go down to a polling place on a certain date and time, wait on line, and pull a lever or fill out a sheet. It shouldn’t be easy, it SHOULD be hard.

That is ridiculous. Voting is a right, and being able to excercise it shouldn’t be purposely more difficult than it has to be.

(I will point out AGAIN, that I vote in every election. I physically go down to my old-fashioned polling place and vote. Every year. But as I also have pointed out, I am rapidly become one of those “older-whiter” voters myself.)

And besides, we have had absentee ballot voting in this country for decades. That is basically voting from home, but by mail. What exactly is the difference, philisophically, between voting from home by mail and by computer?

But of course, snail mail today is used by a much higher percentage of people over a certain age than under. The same demographics that physically vote in higher numbers anyway.

President Kennedy said we do some things “Not because they are easy, but because they are hard”. Voting should not be one of those things. Voting should be as easy as possible for the most number of Americans as possible.

Why such low turnout? Don’t blame the voter. Put the blame where it belongs, on the voting system.

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One Response to Low Turnout. Blame The Voter?

  1. Low turnout can be seen as having two parts: one, registered voters who miss an election; and, two, persons of voting age who don’t bother to register.

    The first group is largely due to snags, such as moving into a new district too late to re-register, out of town, sick, etc; as well as lack of interest in the issues/candidates.

    The second group contains a large number of people who feel alienated from the political system, mostly because they see it as favoring the rich, and not caring about people like themselves.

    With e-registration, some of the snags can be eliminated. W/ Internet voting, many of the issues for both groups can be eliminated. Online debates can introduce a wider variety of candidates, which will stimulate voter interest. And the influence of Big Money can be neutralized, which will empower voters as never before, which will reduce alienation.

    For more on this, see, Why Independents Should Demand Internet Voting http://bit.ly/qLXTKf

    Also see the interview with me on all aspects of Internet voting; esp as to how Big Money can be neutralized in all US elections by Internet voting.

    You mentioned DC – see, http://tinyurl.com/DCin2010

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