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The question of technology, and the reports of “confusion” at the polls could cause some to blow off their right (and duty) of citizenship to vote their conscience. For those that can’t possibly find the time, I say turn off the television. We’ve become a nation of limited attention spans, only interested in the latest sit com about dysfunctional relationships. Voting becomes too tedious because you need to educate yourself to vote, but that’s our responsibility. As I said previously, you can’t complain if you don’t vote.

So the question is how do we increase turn out? In Arizona, one initiative on the November ballot proposes to randomly select voters for cash prize payouts from Arizona’s uncollected lottery winnings fund. Opponents suggest that “bribing” voters to do their civic duty is an abomination. Maybe, but I suspect it might actually get those low-turnout voters to the polls if they think they might become millionaires.

Other countries hold elections on a weekend day or over several days to address the obstacle to voting created by work, family and various other daily life obligations. Why not make Election Day a national “holiday?” You get the day off if you vote (by bringing proof that you voted back to work the next day).

On the city of San Diego’s Elections Task Force, increasing the convenience of voting by using a “mail-only ballot” for special elections was one option considered and unanimously forwarded to council. The rationale was, let’s try it out, absentee voting hit the 50 percent mark recently and we couldn’t do much worse than the less than 25 percent turnout in the last series of special elections. At the Rules Committee, several council members expressed concern about eliminating the tradition of going to the polls. One has to wonder if the “status quo” of our current election process, which routinely turns out less than 50 percent of registered voters, is worth defending.

– CRAIG BENEDETTO

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