With each passing day we inch closer and closer to the 2016 General Election. From the President of the United States to local office, thousands of politicians will be on the ballot hoping for the opportunity to serve their community. In Presidential years voter turnout is significantly higher and the proper planning must be executed so everyone can cast their ballot. While some states are models in efficiency others have taken an opposite approach.

 

            On March 22nd the State of Arizona became a symbol of failure in granting its citizens the right to vote. Maricopa County, the largest in the state, had previously cut voting locations from 200 to 60. As a consequence voters faced long lines and some waited upwards of five hours to vote. Following the 2010 wave election and 2013 Supreme Court Ruling, against the Voting Rights Act, voting has not been the same. Politicians cried foul of voter fraud and the Supreme Court decided the federal oversight to protect against discriminatory practices was no longer needed. States became emboldened and as a result voting has become harder in certain parts of this country. The Obama Campaign, Democratic National Committee, and Ohio Democrat Party actually sued the State of Ohio in 2012 to restore weekend voting prior to the election like it was in 2008. Also in 2012 Pennsylvania House Speaker Republican Mike Turzai in a speech reciting recent state accomplishments said, “Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the State of Pennsylvania, done.” While it may sound relatively easy to produce government issued identification to vote it is a complex issue and not every citizen can. Like Arizona this year, polling locations, days, and times have been reduced making it an extra burden to exercise the right to vote throughout the country.

 

            A true democracy is never easy but that should not shy any government from the challenge. The solution to a free and open election is to make things easier for the voter, not more difficult. Nationwide same day registration, early voting, polling stations according to population so no one waits hours to vote, and an identification system that does not leave anyone behind are suggestions to be implemented for a fair and transparent democracy. While some politicians may not like the outcome of an election, it’s important that the will of the people is heard and respected.     

 

            Angel Guzman

 

Published by Angel Guzman