10/16/08 — First voters: One-stop voting is a theory that doesn't work in practice

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First voters: One-stop voting is a theory that doesn't work in practice

There were lines at the One-Stop voting centers this morning in Wayne County.

The idea is, you can walk into the door of the polling place and register to vote and make your choices that very day.

The goal, of course, is to give as many people as possible the opportunity to have their say in who will represent them going forward.

And they are noble ideas -- democracy and encouraging more people to take part in the process.

But here's the problem: One-stop voting is proving to be a breeding ground for the type of mishandling and dishonest vote mongering that negates the value of getting more people to participate in the process.

One state is already facing serious questions about its handling of one-stop voting procedures, and there have been plenty of accusations of voter fraud already, specifically people being encouraged to misrepresent themselves at the polling places.

All this casts doubt on whether the results of the upcoming election will be a true representation of the American electorate.

Finding out whether votes were cast fairly -- and then passing judgment on the end result -- will take months. Tracing registrations and verifying addresses will be difficult, expensive and time-consuming.

And for what? A shortcut?

If we want to encourage people to participate in the electoral process, we need to maintain the value of being an informed and interested voter.

There should be a procedure that requires effort to earn the right to vote -- it is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly.

One-stop voting seems more like a means to a political end -- not a true push to get more people involved in the process. And it just might be a program we should think about doing without.

Published in Editorials on October 16, 2008 11:05 AM