Saturday, December 7, 2013
FALMOUTH - Maine's new law prohibiting same-day voter registration certainly has raised the hackles of Ben Grant, the chairman of the Maine Democratic Party.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gerald Caruso is a resident of Falmouth.
His recent Maine Voices column ("Republican Party moves Maine voting system backwards," June 20) implies that if voters cannot register and vote on Election Day, they are disenfranchised.
He seems to be playing rather fast and loose with this accusation. The law denies no one the right to vote.
It merely means that voters should be a little more invested in their civic duty; perhaps they need to take their right to vote a little more seriously.
Of course, anytime someone wants to obfuscate their true reasons for opposing something, they come up with a series of excuses.
"There have only been two convictions of voter fraud in 30 years!"
So, would it follow that if there were only one drug dealer convicted in your town, there would be no other drug dealing?
Grant thunders, "Our ancestors spilled blood for the privilege to vote."
So is it too much of a sacrifice to register a few days, weeks or months before Election Day?
Again, he moans, "Nothing is more sacred than the ballot box." So, should we treat it as cavalierly as possible?
Finally, he informs us, "We believe in a vigorous public square, where issues are raised and debated by citizens and legislators alike."
But vigorous debate starts months or years before Election Day, not on Election Day, when the otherwise-too-busy-to-care voter finally is cajoled by the party machine to march to the polls, register and vote.
Sorry, but those arguments ring false.
For starters, Grant and the other Democratic leaders at the national level always have the same excuses.
They consistently pull out the hardships that the disabled and elderly will face if they are required to register before Election Day or provide voter identification.
Even if that were as large an issue as Democrats pretend, never do they offer a solution for helping the elderly or disabled to get a ride to the city clerk before Election Day or an ID card.
Strengthening the sanctity of the vote is always just too hard.
Democrats need to keep voting rules as loose as possible to insure that they get the greatest voter turnout possible. After all, it is all about voter turnout. Remember the famous maxim, "Vote early and often!"
But what about voter turnout? Is it the percentage of voters who vote that is important, or is it the percentage of informed voters who vote that is most important?
A high school with a 99 percent graduation rate that was graduating many students who could not read or write would be nothing to brag about.
The same holds true for a state with a huge percentage of voters that includes a significant number of uninformed voters who are brought to the polls on Election Day to swing an election.
A coalition of 15 special-interest groups has also joined the "disenfranchisement" fray.
They want to initiate a people's veto to oppose this unholy law.
They, too, climb on the backs of the elderly and disabled to press their case.
They, too, have no plan to help these people register early, if indeed they are not already registered.
They also trot out those who have recently moved as potential victims. One has to wonder just how many of the 49,666 same-day registration Maine voters moved on Election Day in 2008.
If these people were truly involved in Ben's "vigorous debate," they would rush to register to vote before Election Day as part of their "sacred duty."
On the other hand, which voter has the greater opportunity to commit voter fraud than the voter who has had multiple addresses over the course of the year?
Those who oppose any issue provide phony reasons to shield their real reasons.
The real reason that Democrats and liberal groups favor same-day voter registration is that it is a benefit to the Democratic Party.
Uninformed or uninvolved voters make for great soldiers in the "get out the vote" campaign.
Uninformed voters on either side of an issue do democracy no favors, but one side definitely wants to make it easy for them to vote.
Finally, if both parties benefited equally from same-day voter registration, Democrats and liberal groups would not be protesting so vigorously.
Only eight states think that same-day voter registration should be legal.
The other 42 recognize the obvious pitfalls.
Maine needs to join the majority.
- Special to the Press Herald