How Restrictive should Voting Laws be?
by Shane Goodrich
In general I have a very grim view of most people’s ability to vote in an informed and capable manner. I never support generalized get out the vote drives. I encourage most people to not vote. On a small scale I don’t think people should have any say in matters they don’t understand.
For example, I am on the board of Directors for The Windham Textile and History Museum. I am new to the board and often abstain from voting on certain topics as I don’t feel qualified to make an informed decision. I also vote in elections and when I go into the voting booth It has been a common occurrence (in some years at least) for me to skip certain races as I just don’t know enough to make an proper decision.
People in general I find are prone to voting regardless of their knowledge of the issues or of those they are voting for if given the chance. In meetings of all kinds’ people less often abstain from voting and more often just go along with the popular view. I recall handing out flyers for Doug Lary running for 3rd Registrar of Voters in Windham in 2014. I had an interesting conversation with one man where I gave my spiel (imagine in your head a really awesome and persuasive tone of voice):
….The Democrats and Republicans are guaranteed a registrar. They can’t lose. If Doug “wins” he will just be added as a 3rd registrar. Doug actually needs votes to win, the other people don’t. Voting for Doug will not affect the Democrats or Republicans registrar at all, their seat is secure. Voting for Doug will be a vote for a diversity of voices in politics. For fairness.
The man throughout the conversation was on board, “that is not fair” or “that makes senses” he would say in response to my points. I thought I had him, then at the end. “Sir Can I count on your vote?” The answer: “sorry I vote straight line Democrat”
Arrggh! After talking to dozens of people my view of the general voter became even lower than it already was.
So with all this said how restrictive should voting laws be? As least restrictive as possible. Felons should be able to vote, we should be able to vote online, same day registrations should be the norm. You should be able to vote ahead of time. And why should this be the case when I have shown the lack of understanding I think the general populace has regarding politics? Because some of those same people that don’t get politics and make decisions about things they don’t understand will also be the ones to make decisions regarding who is or is not a qualified voter.
We also know from things like Gerrymandering that people in power will manipulate things to stay in power. Look at the Jim Crow south, keeping the black vote out kept many politicians in. We can’t risk that situation arising. As much as it pains me, let the people have their voice, let them vote.
-Shane Goodrich, Co-host and Video Editor of Local Liberty