There are some things about US Presidential elections I have never understood. Every four years, I find myself asking the same questions, as the same set of issues crops up. I have never found a good answer to these questions:
1. Why don’t they declare a holiday on Election Day? Why do they force people to line up for hours before or after work? How many people can take so much time off from work to vote?
If you live in Connecticut and work in NYC, you cannot vote in an hour, or even during the day. If you start for work at 6 am and leave work by 6 pm, do you have to line up in the dark to vote either at dawn or dusk?
2. Why is it okay for candidates to campaign even on election day and for television ads from political action committees to run even on election day, but why, in some states, are voters not allowed to vote wearing a T-shirt or even a button with a candidate’s name? I am trying to understand the logic here – voters will not be influenced by the television ad they see just before they head out to vote, they will not be influenced by the affiliation of the campaign worker who drives them to the polling booth, but they will be influenced by the lettering on someone’s T-shirt or the tiny button they see?
3. Why do they not make voter lists easier? Everyone has a driver’s license or a state ID. They do check your immigration status when you apply for a license/ ID. Why cannot they add a line about citizenship in the driver’s license? Wouldn’t that be an easy proof and save the hand-wringing every four years?
4. Why do so many people have misconceptions about voting? Who spreads these rumors? Who spread the rumor that Democrats should vote on Nov. 5th while everyone else votes on Nov. 4th?
Who spread the rumor that you cannot vote if you have tax arrears or a foreclosed house or have a police record?
Why do political parties, who spend millions digging up and publicizing real and imagined dirt on their opponents, not spend a dime to put out television ads to set the record straight?
5. On a related note – shouldn’t the homeless be allowed to vote too? Given how many homeless there are, shouldn’t there be some system – like a letter from a shelter, or a social service worker? How can you have a situation where people are turned away because they do not have proof of address?
6. Why do they allow individual counties to design their own ballots? We all know how confusing Palm Beach County, FL ballots were in 2000. Yet, this election, Palm Beach county was again allowed to design its ballot and it came up with another masterpiece. Palm Beach believes in being unique, apparently. so they didn’t want the simple checkboxes or filled circles that other FL counties had. Their new ballot design had two parts of a broken arrow wth a gap in between – voters were supposed to shade the gap to make the broken arrow whole. If this sounds to you like a child’s playschool assignment, well, I take it you are never moving to Palm Beach county 🙂
This is a country where people believe in having one national standard for everything ranging from window panel sizes to store layouts. Why, then, don’t they have a standard ballot design? Why take the risk of disenfranchising thousands of voters – especially the poor, the elderly and the not-so-literate?
Do you think they will resolve these issues over the next four years? Do you also, like me, have things you find puzzling about the elections?