What do you have going on Tuesday? Hopefully, you answered that question by mentioning something about voting. But for some in our particular age demographic, it may be impossible. Young voters have been criticized for 30 years for failing to show up. If those who offer criticism had an 18 credit load and a job at the Wellness Center, they might be more understanding.
But this begs the question: Why not just participate in early voting? If you know a student on this campus who has four hours to kill in a line at the Coral Gables Public Library, we’d like to meet them. Efforts on the part of the state to expand voting options are commendable, and efforts to transport students to these locations are appreciated, but it seems really impractical and inefficient to make the process to pick the most important office in the country closer to a challenge on “Survivor” than a true democratic process.
So how about this: Let’s make our national voting day, the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November every two years (let’s not forget about midterm elections, the Republican party surely hasn’t) a national holiday. Some may say, “Of course, let people be slackers in the name of the union.” Democracy shouldn’t be easy, of course, but it also shouldn’t be a choice between exercising a constitutional right and graduating or putting food on the table. If we have national holidays for Lincoln and Washington, celebrating their commitment to democracy, why not have a holiday once every other year to celebrate our commitment to democracy?
And what would really be lost anyway? How many hours and dollars have been lost by keeping people in lines to vote early? How much productivity is lost every two years because people duck out early to cast their ballot? Voting shouldn’t be compulsory, and neither should be closing during Election Day. But let’s provide an opportunity to finally get something right in our continuing process to perfect our voting system. Let’s not allow four-hour lines to continue any longer. Commitment and determination are required in a democracy, but that’s just excessive.