Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Suffering for Suffrage

No touch screens?I did my civic duty this morning. In case anyone's interested, my ticket was split more than a Jessica Alba skirt. But upon completing my electronic ballot, I wondered why we can't make some simple changes to our voting process to make it easier for everyone to vote. Things like:

1) A national holiday for federal elections. Who the hell celebrates Columbus Day anymore except us bankers? Let's eliminate Columbus Day and substitute, say, Susan B. Anthony Day on the first Tuesday after the first Monday each November. Or, if the Italian-Americans really want to keep a holiday for a man who sailed under the flag of Spain and was possibly a Jew, move the observance of Columbus Day in even numbered years to the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November.

2) 24 hours of voting. No more of this "working hours" voting. God forbid you work an off shift and have dependents.

3) Polls open and close everywhere nationwide at the same time. Hand in hand with 24 hour voting, have every national polling place open and close at the same time. This would end any possible "West Coast voter suppression" due to early Presidential returns on the East Cost making the outcome a forgone conclusion and discouraging people from voting.

4) Social Security cards as registration cards. Pretty much everyone gets one at birth now, right? Outfit each card with a magnetic strip. Present that with a secondary form of ID (driver's license, utility bill, etc.) and vote. No more registering. And once the card is swiped, there's no possibility of voting more than one time.

5) Open polling. No more of this "vote in your precinct location or no where else" garbage. If I can see and pay my phone bill via the internet anywhere in the world, why not my ballot? Once I can identify myself with my social security card, why can't a computer spit out my ballot anywhere in the country? If I'm traveling in Arizona, why can't a database allow me to have my Cook County ballot down there and count it up here?

Time to move our process into the 20th Century. We'll worry about the 21st once we're up to speed on last century's technology.

Oh, and hope the Democrats take control of at least the House or the Senate. The country seems to operate best the less government does. I can't see a divided Congress with a lame duck President getting anything substantial accomplished.

Sounds good to me.

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