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Ease & Access vs. Security & Responsibility: Voting Too Easy?

Ease & Access vs. Security & Responsibility: Voting Too Easy?

I filled out my voter registration card months before I turned 18. It sat on my dresser impatiently until finally I was old enough to send 'er in. It was fun and easy. This election, the very process of voter registration has sparked passionate points of view: this editorial advocates for a minimal civics test that hopeful voters would have to pass in order to wield the power of the punch card.

He says, "I really don't want someone on the streets of Hollywood, who just failed to identify the vice president of the United States on one of Jay Leno's "Jay-Walking" segments, helping to select the person who will lead my government for the next four years." Given that we require basic knowledge to become a citizen or operate a motor vehicle, is choosing the future of the country a responsibility that should have stricter requirements?

Despite this opinion, the US seems to be moving away from more restrictions, to easy-as-pie-voting. A new Ohio voting law allows for a window of time (Sept. 30-Oct. 6) during which voters can register and vote early, immediately. Voting registration is controversial and there's a partisan aspect to the split according to this piece in the WSJ:

Traditionally, Democrats favor fewer checks on verification and greater access to voting to encourage larger turnouts, particularly among lower-income and minority voters, who tend to favor Democrats. Republicans usually push for closer monitoring, in such forms as laws with strict requirements for voters to present identification, which can result in lower turnout.

Does an ever increasingly easy/free-for-all access to voting a requirement of a democracy, or does the gravity of the task of voting deserve stricter requirements and heightened security measures?


Join The Conversation
CoralAmber CoralAmber 9 years
Congrats Kiki!! Jillness. I am from Illinois. In high school (and college if you didn't take it in high school), we had to pass a citizenship test. Not a test to make us valid citizens, but a test to make us informed citizens (it was an offshoot of a required government class). I remember learning about gerrymandering and other issues to do with voting and politics.
guiltypleasure31 guiltypleasure31 9 years
voting is a right, and there should be as few obstacles as is reasonably possible when it comes to people exercising that right. if anything there just needs to be a more standardized procedure for voting across states, streamlining the process is definitely necessary.
stephley stephley 9 years
I like the variety of people you see on election day happily wearing their stickers.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
yay! I just turned diamond ;)
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
"I am so happy for you that you are so excited to vote! I feel the same way." Thank you Jillness. I have always had a strong sense of patriotism and I can't wait to exercise my right as an American Citizen to vote and help decide our future! :) :D
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
It's the main reason I don't do absentee. I like to wear my sticker :)
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
haha yeah it is rather fun :) and I still color. Last Christmas when I was at my parents I colored each of them a picture and they hung them on the refrigerator :) I felt very special :medal: lol
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Maybe I'm just remembering my childhood, but I LOVE to color. I often voted for legislation two or three times so I could color... ;)
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
UnDave, That's how it is in OK.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I like the way WI votes. You get a 11x17 sheet of paper with unfinished black arrows pointing to the candidates. To pick your candidate, you complete the arrow by coloring in the unfinished part. Very simple, very easy.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"It may be naive of me but I love the feeling of being patriotic and doing my part" I am so happy for you that you are so excited to vote! I feel the same way.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
ok so I called my local election board and here is what they said: (this applies for Oklahoma) I can register in the county where I go to school even though my license says I live an hour away (my first registration is void after that). They told me that when I register I put the address where I get my mail and I sign an oath that I have given correct information. If I do need to have proof of residence (which they said I didn't) I can use my tuition bill since I have a copy that is delivered to my school address. The lady I talked to said they shouldn't ask me for ID... as I am signing an oath. So I am going today to change my registration to this county so that I can vote in Nov and get my sticker!!! :woohoo: ;) I missed the 04 election by 5 months :( torg and bluesarah, I am voting early too so that I can wear that sticker all day! It may be naive of me but I love the feeling of being patriotic and doing my part! ;) I never took a "citizenship test" either. :?
True-Song True-Song 9 years
It is important for those reasons, but the volunteers aren't checking to make sure the address on your license matches your registration. That's why you sign, you're signing to say you still live there. They might check if you bring a piece of mail as for of id.
imLissy imLissy 9 years
The problem is, I think if we had a test, about 50% of the country wouldn't pass. Really. Been to other, less, um, intelligent sites lately? read some of the comments over at You'll lose all faith in people. Especially the ones tHaT tYpE lIkE tHiS.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"They're just checking that you're the right person at the polling place, not that you live where you say." It might vary by state, but I do think where you live is of big importance. Because where you live has consequences on local elections and the number of delegates that will be awarded is dependant on location as well.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
I think a test is out of line and unconstitutional, but I think showing ID is A-OK! And when I was in school I went ahead and registered to vote with my college address. Never had any problems! Good luck.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
I don't think they compare the address on your license to the one you register with. They're just checking that you're the right person at the polling place, not that you live where you say.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
One, I don't remember taking a citizenship test, and I don't think that happens in our country. Maybe you had some kind of civics or government class called Citizenship? Are people who drop out not citizens? Two, I definitely get my sticker every time. I vote in the morning so I can wear it all day.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
Suzy, I get frustrated by the people manipulated by Obama and his camp's lies as well; it goes both ways, it just bothers you more when it's against your candidate.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
Coral, is that for all states? I do not remember taking a citizenship test. And if it was required, does that mean I wasn't a full citizen until I passed that test? :?
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
Kiki don't be embarrassed about wanting your "I voted" sticker. I've been voting for over 10 years and I get my sticker and wear it every time I vote :)
CoralAmber CoralAmber 9 years
We all did have to pass a test. If you made it through high school you had to pass a citizenship test. If you became a citizen later you had to take a citizenship test. That covers most people. And I doubt some guy who can't name the VP is really running out to the polls.
suziryder suziryder 9 years
My fiance and I frequently joke that there should be an IQ test for people to be allowed to vote. Obviously that's not a pratical or fair idea, but we get so frustrated at the thought of all those people getting manipulated by McCain's slander and outright lies!!!
outtajo outtajo 9 years
Isn't that what each candidate is spending $100 million to do? A lot of people just don't care. They're working to get themselves elected - not to educate the U.S. on how democracy works. That's the job of society, of the education system, etc.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
eh I mangled that first sentence. lol I am going to see if I can use my tuition bill as my "proof of residence".
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