Let's make it easier for Delawareans to vote (Gov. John Carney)
Part of my job [as governor] is to encourage Delawareans – like that young man in Millsboro [a first time voter, encounter described at start of the column] – to participate in our democratic process. So, in my view, “we ought to make it as easy as possible, not harder, for eligible Delawareans to exercise their right to vote.”
The typical excuses: (1) Voting is inconvenient; (2) My vote doesn’t really matter [won't represent the margin of victory]; and (3) Once politicians get elected, they will do what they want anyway. When half of eligible Delawareans went to the polls in the 2018 mid-terms, that was considered a “good turnout” because only 36% voted in the 2014 mid-terms. And even in the 2016 presidential elections, the turnout was only 65%.
In short, far too many Delawareans are choosing not to exercise their right to vote and thereby “engage the public officials they send to Washington or Dover.” So let's have some “common-sense reforms” of our election laws to “get more Delawareans involved in discussions about their own future.”
Same day registration would be sensible, and Delawareans should be allowed “more options about when to vote.” Early voting (up to 10 days before the election), as proposed by Rep. David Bentz (D-Christiana), would reduce excuses, shorten lines at polling places, and reduce the impact of inclement weather, etc. Also, we should seamlessly register voters at the DMV, schedule primary elections to coincide with presidential primary dates, and allow “no excuse absentee voting.”
I look forward to working with all members of the General Assembly to make progress. And it’s all in line with past sacrifices by Americans to secure voting rights for women and African-Americans. This should not be a partisan issue. [Both] Democrats and Republicans have an interest in getting more Delawareans to the polls.
High voter turnout doesn’t necessarily promote thoughtful and engaged voting; it may actually weaken the connection between election debates and the votes ultimately cast on a presumably informed basis. Also, early voting, same day registration, etc. could facilitate voting fraud. Our electoral system is faltering, 12/10/18.