Symposium 2012: What are your thoughts on early voting and voting procedures in the U.S.? Is it time for reform?

RMC3: I’m not a big fan of early voting. Growing up, you voted on Election Day unless you voted absentee and then you had to have a really good excuse as to why you needed to vote absentee. I think the whole early voting scheme is just a convenient way to rig elections and stuff ballot boxes. Early voting needs to be eliminated, and there needs to be a stringent procedure for voting absentee. You need to prove you’re going to be out of town or whatever.

The voting system itself does need to be looked at. With the technology we have today, you would think that we could make the voting process much easier and safer and less prone to fraud. If anyone does not believe that we had people voting multiple times in this election, you’re living a delusional life. People voted early and voted often then voted again on Election Day. How absurd is it that in this day and age with the technology we have that you’ve got poll workers looking your name up in a book to see if you can vote and that you don’t have to present identification to vote! This is ridiculous. You have to show your ID to get on an airplane. You have to show your ID at the bank. You have to show your ID to buy cigarettes and alcohol in most places. So, why shouldn’t you have to show your ID to vote and to ensure that the person voting is, in fact, the person registered to vote?

Disney World has the technology that you buy a ticket to get into the park and it doesn’t work after you’ve used it. FedEx has the technology to track packages all over the world. The banks have the technology to monitor your account for fraudulent activity. If your card is used in a place that is not normal for you, you’ll probably get a call within a few minutes. We’ve made tremendous advances in biometric technology for reading fingerprints or retina scans. Maybe these private companies should all get together with the election commission to figure out the best way to ensure that each person votes that is registered to vote and only votes one time on Election Day.

Let me also say I think it ridiculous that people have to wait in line hours to vote. Do we not have enough polling stations or voting machines? That should be a simple enough fix, right?

Cartwright: It’s clearly time to reform the voting system…that is if you believe our voting in the election matters. I think we’re given the illusion that our vote counts but that the elections are decided in advance. That’s beside the point. If we’re operating on the premise that our elections are indeed free, open, and fair, then yes we do need to reform the system.

It is unacceptable that people have to wait in long lines for hours to vote. And actually, I think that Election Day should be a national holiday every two years. When I was a kid, we didn’t have school on Election Day, and I remember that a lot of businesses were closed so you didn’t have to worry about not being able to vote or taking off work or missing work. We need to close the schools and make them polling stations. There’s no shortage of schools so we can have more polling stations. I think we have lines at polling stations because schools are in session so they have to use community centers or churches or whatever as polling stations.
We have to eliminate fraud in the electoral system. We know it went on in 2008. The entire Dallas Cowboys football team voted in Ohio…but they’re not from Ohio. What’s wrong with this? It just gets swept under the rug. We’ve got illegals voting, and if you don’t think that’s going on, you’re not living in the real world. We’ve got people voting multiple times thanks to early voting. It’s ridiculous. We criticize the election fraud in other countries, but it’s going on right here at home. It’s hypocritical!

We have the best technology in the world, and we’re still using a system of voting that allows for fraud. We need to ensure that every person who goes to vote has a valid ID. If you object to having to show photo identification to vote, you must support election fraud and you’re probably a subversive. Then, let’s get the technology that enables voters to vote via their phones or online or in person if they want to. Maybe there’s a one use code that you get to put into the machine or something.

Of course, I’m also in favor of making folks answer random basic questions about American civics before they can vote too. So, maybe you have to answer the questions first and pass then enter the code then vote. The technology is there to ensure a better voting process, so let’s figure it out and clean up the election process.
Sydney: Early voting can be a good thing if the voter has a legitimate reason for being absent on polling day, however it has brought about a number of problems. Those people who have shown a willingness to vote for a particular candidate are being asked by that party to vote early before they change their mind. This has put enormous pressure on the electoral system, and as the presidential election has shown, there were many problems and glitches that occurred because of the large turn out of early voters. Early voting also means that the voter does not get the benefit of seeing the entire electoral campaign pan out and as such there is no opportunity for that person to change their mind. However, if they are very much decided on who they will vote for at the start of the campaign then it is not that likely that they would change their mind later. I am more in favor of all elections using instant runoff voting. This tends to lead to more candidates and the election of more candidates from a variety of backgrounds. Therefore elections become much more representative. I also believe that as many people should be allowed (and encouraged) to vote as possible. This means making voting procedures easier so that there are less queues and glitches on voting day. Even though voting is not compulsory we live in a society where people have the right to vote. Those people who want to vote should not have to wait for hours or be frustrated by voting machines that do not work properly.

Michigan: Early voting has been very suspect in the last two elections. I think early voting should be stopped. Michigan is one of the few states that does not allow early voting. I have no problem with absentee voting if regulated. Early voting has gone from 7% in 1992 to 30.6% in 2008. Soon the election will be over before the polls open.

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