For many on the right, ensuring the proper documentation of voters and their registration is a sensible and crucial part of a fair, just American voting system - even basic ballot integrity. For many on the left, however, this attempt inadvertently (or intentionally) makes it more difficult for poor and minority Americans to cast their votes (“making voting harder” for a demographic seen as voting Democratic rather than Republic)- thus tilting elections towards conservative politics. In turn, liberals press for electoral reform efforts (“making voting easier”) similarly seen by the other side as calculated to tilt the electorate to the left.
While both efforts may hold value, there seems to be remarkably little meeting in the middle - with each side portraying the others’ efforts as a misguided power-grab. From the perspective of someone trying to ensure correct voting tallies, for instance, it can be frustrating when the tiniest incidental expense to obtain a free voter ID card is supposed to be equivalent to a racist poll tax. For those concerned about exclusion and suspicious of motives, it is notable that “ballot integrity” measures are being pressed in the absence of evidence of any significant amount of voter fraud and implemented shortly before elections.
QUESTIONS TO PLAY WITH:
-How could we take the politics out of voting access/ballot integrity issues? What deliberative, policymaking and implementation processes would create confidence about fairness?
-Is ballot integrity a big deal to you? Why or why not?
-What leads some people to care about this – and others to see it as a non-issue or a distraction from other issues? What’s really behind that difference in viewpoint? (is it relative intelligence or goodness – or contrasting worldviews?)
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