CCMC Blog Contest 2nd Place:
By Jason Garrison
When I think about the voting process in our nation the concept I question is surmised in one word: Integrity. I recently visited the retirement center in Watertown, Wisconsin to vote in the midterm election. As a college student, I enjoy exercising my rights to go to the poll and vote; casting my vote makes me feel like an intelligent citizen.
This election, however, was not my first time at the polls. I have visited the retirement center many other times. Each time I have gone to cast my vote I have been surprised by what I have witnessed. First of all, I would assume that the mean age of volunteers working the poll is around 75. Now I have not won any awards for attempts at guessing people's age, but people of all ages should be participating in democracy by working at the polls. As a college student, I was reminded that this is a duty shared by every citizen, a duty that protects the integrity of the ballot box. The integrity of an election hinges on the integrity of those working the polls, and I believe citizens of every age should actively protect the voting process.
Another point that stood out to me was the ease with which I voted. I simply walked in a room, stated my address, and was handed a ticket that could be redeemed for a ballot. While it would be easy to stay on this topic and urge my classmates to vote based on the ease and quickness of the polls, I think this presents more of a problem than a solution. I cannot say enough about the importance of legitimate ballot box procedures on Election Day. This aspect of America, the right to vote, is what separates us from many nations around the globe. Furthermore, the fact that we can decide in a primary who is to be represented on a ballot separates us even more.
"We, the people of the United States." It is what defines us as Americans. It's our voice. The integrity of our entire nation lies within the integrity of the ballot box. It bothers me to know that in any election, it is possible to simply glance at the list of addresses and vote in place of a random name without needing a license, picture, or any type of identification. While the purpose of this article is not to decide a plan for voter identification, I think it's obvious that there is a definite need. In Wisconsin, and around the nation, there is a need for analysis of what goes on at our polls on Election Day. If this means loads of paperwork in new legislation, so be it. If it means that voters are inconvenienced by having to remember a driver's license, so be it.
It's not about convenience, it's about integrity.