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Do your duty: Vote

Published October 23, 2012 1:01 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The following editorial appeared Friday in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Some polls indicate that voter enthusiasm, especially among young and minority voters is ebbing — a marked change from 2008. Whomever you support for president this year, it's a concern if fewer people decide to exercise their right to have a say in the political process.

Anyone who is eligible should vote.

Voting is the one way you can have your concerns heard.

And while we realize that the question of voter identification is contentious, we're glad that Wisconsin's voters will not have to contend with that during this election. That means that 300,000 eligible voters who do not have a driver's license or a state ID card, according to at least one estimate, can remain a part of the process. Election integrity is essential but there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Even if there was, it couldn't be stopped with a voter ID card. In the absence of fraud, there is no reason for a voter ID law — unless the point is to discourage voting.

Consider the situation in Tennessee. On Thursday, with less than 20 days before the presidential election, a judge is still trying to determine whether the state's photo ID law is constitutional. This comes a day after voters have already begun casting early ballots for the general election.

With so little time left before the election, it could be a nightmare for any state to suddenly change its law.

In Wisconsin, a voter ID law pushed through by Republicans has been hung up in the courts. Texas, South Carolina and Pennsylvania are delaying implementation of similar laws. Wisconsin residents can still register at a polling place on election day and vote, an element of state law that we hope never changes.

And about those billboards in some low-income and minority communities and elsewhere: "Voter Fraud is a Felony," they say. That sort of intimidation should be answered en masse — by voting. Such messages are designed to confuse and discourage eligible voters from doing their duty. Answer them.

Voting needs to be free, fair and accessible to everyone. When it is, voter enthusiasm goes up because people are participants in the process.

But to ensure that people are a part of the process, they need to know their rights — what is required of them when they go to vote. And they need to know where they can quickly find the right information.

Organizations such as the League of Women Voters have traveled to many states, including Wisconsin, to pass out fliers with the latest information and get people registered. They will have volunteers at some polling places.

The American political process works best when people get to the polls and make their voices heard. Make sure you do that on Nov. 6.




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