Sunday, July 13, 2008

What's your excuse for not voting?

I have a low tolerance for people who don't vote. I've heard all the excuses. "It doesn't matter -- all political parties are the same." That was disproved soundly in 2000 and 2004. "Too much trouble" or "My boss won't give me time off to vote." Jeez, in Wyoming you can vote early and absentee and by mail and even on election day. "Don't know how or where to register." Before elections, register at the County Clerk's office. But, in Wyoming, you can even register at the polls. How easy can it get? "I don't know where my polling place is." Again, go to your County Clerk's office or look it up on the Internet.

All that said, it is difficult for some people to penetrate the voting process. So the League of Women Voters is making a modest proposal (from a story in the Casper Star-Tribune by Joan Barron):

The Wyoming League of Women Voters wants the secretary of state's office to encourage the 23 county clerks to provide more voter registration outside their offices as allowed by state law.

"Part of the reason for the resolution is it's very hard for people in managed care residences, like assisted living facilities, to get out and go to register to vote," said Amy Williamson of Laramie, the league state president. She was referring to the resolution adopted at the league's recent state convention in Casper.

Williamson acknowledged that it is easy to vote in Wyoming because residents can register and vote the same day at the polls."But we are thinking also of people for whom it's difficult to get to the polls, people who are going to have to vote absentee because of that."

"But that should not bar them from voting," Williamson added Thursday. "We should be making every effort to make it as easy as possible for them to vote."

County clerks in Laramie and Washakie counties said that they set up voter registration outside the office when requested to do so."What we do is we'll go where asked," said Laramie County Clerk Debra Lathrop. "We don't just willy nilly say, Today would be a good day to go the library and register people.' You have to do it in conjunction with a sponsored event." The registration site must be a public area and there must be advance public notice of the event.

Deputy Secretary of State Pat Arp said Thursday: "Voter registration is a popular topic nationally because in most states if you don't register way ahead of time, you can't vote. Casting the vote is what is important. Registration without voting is of little value,” she said.

Statistics show that a lot of Wyoming people register but don't vote.

It's hard for me to believe that people are registering but not voting. Seems to me that if you go to the trouble of going downtown to register in Cheyenne or Casper or Sheridan, or if you have to travel from Wamsutter to Rock Springs or Jeffrey City to Riverton, then it would be just as easy to haul yourself to the polling place. Are Wyomingites lazy? Are there so many registered Republicans that their votes will just be superfluous? I will bet that there are some Democrats and Independents on the that of non-voting registered voters. Why, when there is so much at stake?

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