With the election drawing near, voting issues take center stage, so I'd like to share some of my thoughts. For the life of me I can not understand this incessant drive to get people to vote.
I understand why Republicans want to turn out more Republican voters, and why the Democrats want to do the same with their base, but why this general push to turn out voters in large numbers when no one knows how or why they vote? In whose interest is it to hound people who otherwise would stay home on Election Day?
Do larger numbers of people turning out to vote make for better government? How likely is it that people who have to be persuaded to vote will cast informed, thoughtful votes, and why would I want the strength of my vote diluted by more voters?
Recently, Howard Stern broadcast some humorous ''man on the street'' interviews of people who were sadly ignorant of today's political races. He would think up the most outrageous question, such as, ''What do you think of President Obama's choice of Paul Ryan as his vice president?'' Or, "Did you know Obama was a Mormon?'' Of the 10 interviews that he aired, not a single person knew that Osama Bin Laden was killed.
The skit was uproariously funny until you realized that these people were going to vote. I think we should incorporate into the voting process a simple test to weed out people this clueless.
On the ballot along with the presidential candidates, maybe we could include 10 or 15 fictitious names. Anyone who fails to choose an actual candidate would get a message thanking them and informing them that they could not continue to vote and to please try again next election.
I remember in Iraq, after we defeated Saddam Hussein and the interim government was holding the first truly democratic election. Newly freed people stood in long voting lines for hours, despite warnings from terrorists that they would shoot people who turned out to cast votes.
These voters were desperate to vote because the big issue on the ballot was the question of freedom; they wanted to be sure that the people put in charge were the ones who would provide them the most freedom.
In our country, freedom is taken for granted and it is never the issue. Who gets what and who pays for it is usually the big issue. Fairness, in whichever way people perceive it, takes precedence over issues of freedom.
I also can't understand the value of early voting. Are we to believe that for a couple of hundred years people could make it to a polling place on a given day, but now they can't? Should the day we vote still be called ''election day'' when now there are 30 of them?
I could understand that it makes it easier in some respect, but what are we giving up? If early voting were harmless, couldn't we extend the principle to other things that require votes? How about boxing matches where judges vote? Can you imagine how a fighter would feel if he looked over at the judge's table in the fifth or sixth round only to see that the judges voted early on who they thought was the best fighter so they could retire to the casino?
We've nullified the term Election Day - have we done the same with the term ''absentee ballot?'' The Secretary of State has sent an absentee ballot to every eligible voter. Is everyone going to be out of the area on Election Day? Can we make it any easier for lazy people to vote? How about an iPhone app or voting on Netflix?
Having voted for more than 40 years, and having run for office a good number of times, I have spent many hours standing at polls on Election Day. I have seen many people struggling from their cars with canes or walkers, sometimes in rough weather, to cast their ballots.
There were never any doubts about the sincerity with which they made their voting selections. Can we say the same thing about people who have to be enticed to vote from the comfort of their couches?
Moadus is a Girard resident. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org