Voting in Oregon is such a horrible burden. You get a ballot in the mail and they actually expect you to return it so it can be counted. What an imposition! The legislature is considering a bill to make it less of a chore, but even with this change voting will still require some work.
By requiring public colleges to do more in connection with elections, Senate Bill 1586 is supposed to help particularly college students, who we know are so overburdened with life they cannot be expected to pay any attention to the fundamentals of a republic. The bill also says the state must supply a postage-free return envelope for all ballots. This would save us all 49 cents for every ballot we mail. As for the state, the Legislative Fiscal Office estimates the added cost at $1.8 million for the 2017-19 biennium.
But even with free mailing, think of the burden of voting! You have to slice open the mailing and unfold the ballot. You have to read the questions. You have to think — THINK? Aaargh! — about how to answer. Then you have to find a pen with black ink, or at least a pencil. (Do people still have those? Do they expect us to stock a ready supply of pencils?)
There’s more. To mark you choices, you have to be careful to stay within the ovals. (Why do they make the ovals so small? Another obstacle in the path of our right to vote!)
And then, mailing the thing! Or even worse, having to find an official ballot box to drop it in.
All this work just to vote — it’s an obvious ploy to keep busy citizens from participating in the democratic process. Especially young people, who have so many other things to do. Videos to watch, social media to feed, texts to answer and send, and all the rest. How can we expect them to handle all this stuff with paper ballots?
So SB 1586 can’t be the end of it. If it is, entire generations will be excluded from a basic civil right, the right to vote.
Let’s think about the next steps then. There is no time to lose. How can we take all this effort out of voting? Well, how about an app? You program your phone or tablet with your preferences, and that’s all you have to do. It’s automatic. If there’s an election, your phone will let you know — or not, if you’re too busy to be bothered — and the app will cast your vote. It’ll be great, totally democratic. Nobody has to lift a finger and everybody votes. (hh)