Editorial: Does it have to get worse to get better?

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Voter turnout in Alabama for the primary election in June was one of the lowest turnouts ever. It’s no surprise that the run-off election saw the turnout that it did. But why aren’t people voting?

We posed the question to our Facebook audience: Why do you think people don’t go vote and do you plan to vote today?

Chris Mervin hit the nail on the head with his response: “We live in a digital age, and our voting system is old and archaic. People do not have to leave their houses for much anymore. Car tags, groceries, regular shopping purchases, banking, library, social interactions, etc. can all be done online without walking out the house. For better or worse, we have moved away from tasks that take extra effort or time when you can go online for a similar result. Come up with a digital way (voting via Internet, cell phone, etc.) and turnouts would probably double. Obviously security needs to be a concern, but I’m sure bright minds can come up with a way that is secure (at least as secure as voting is today).”

Is there a way the country can move towards more digital voting procedures? There have been questions of Russian involvement in the presidential election since President Donald Trump was sworn in to office, so I can’t imagine what people would say about hacking if we went to Internet or cell phone voting, and I’m not too sure that our elderly population or those without access to Internet or smart phones would participate. As of now, absentee ballots are available to home-bound residents.

So if we cannot get that kind of voting technology, how do we ecourage communities to leave their places of work during lunch and hit the polling place? How do we get people to care enough to stop by the ballot box on the way home from work or first thing in the morning? Does our political climate have to get worse before we care enough to vote for a change? It’s already pretty toxic. What would worse look like and do we want to get there before everyone starts exercising his or her fundamental right to vote?

It’s our responsibility to elect competent candidates to serve us in the state house. Let’s hope the next election sees more people than this one.

By Denise DuBois, Executive Editor