Democracy When?

Ideas and Issues Voting Rights

Baltimore There was a good news article in the Times indicating that the African-American vote almost caught up and in some categories exceeded other groups in voting participation in the 2008 election for President.  For all of the brickbats being thrown at the great efforts to register and turnout new voters there’s really only one thing to say at this point:  SHUT UP!

The unfinished job emerged as glaringly in the facts and figures embedded in the piece by Sam Roberts.  The need for a system that automatically registers citizens as voters and demands more accessible, if not mandatory, voting as other countries practice is also starkly apparent.

Look at these two points from the Census Bureau’s survey and join me in worrying about them because of the severe challenge they pose to any semblance of democracy in America:


“Of the 206 million citizens 18 and older, 71 percent were registered to vote. Among those who were registered, 90 percent voted in 2008.”

Wow!  90% participation of registered voters – that’s unbelievable!  But, only 71% registered?  That’s shamefully embarrassing and shouting for change.

And for the 10% that did not vote:

“Over all, 18 percent of nonvoters said they were too busy, 15 percent said they were prevented because of an illness or disability and 13 percent each said they were not interested or did not like the candidates or issues.”

Too busy, I bet is another way of saying, “I was working,” and we could deal with that, too.

If we really wanted to make this work, it would not be too hard to fix.  Makes me wonder, why we don’t step up and fix this thing, rather than ranting and raving, moaning and groaning.