Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Satellite, Early Voting: A Fight Republicans Should Walk Away From
While I'm a big fan of voting centers, I have mixed views on early voting. I think there's something to be said about people coming together on one day - Election Day - to cast a ballot. Republicans are correct that staffing the two satellite locations is expensive per vote and that overall turnout really isn't marginally increased. There is also the political calculation that Republican party leaders make that, you make voting easier, the more Democrats will vote. Lower turnout tends to favor Republicans.
But is this a fight we Republicans want to have? Absolutely not. People in this day and age, expect convenience. It's suicidal for Republicans to be on the side of making voting more difficult, especially when we're talking a modest proposal of two satellite voting locations. The locations have to be approved by a bipartisan, unanimous vote of the Election Board. There could easily be a deal cut that the Democrats pick one location while Republicans pick another.
The two satellite locations will cost about $50,000. In 2008, 39,000 people voted early. While the numbers in 2011, will be much less - the cost of $50,000 is still a mere pittance compared to other wasteful spending measures this administration has engaged in. For example, according to the Department of Public Works, 543 of the Mayor's Drive Safely signs cost us $43,466.45, or $80 apiece. This supposed sudden concern about wasting taxpayer money by this administration is a little hard to swallow.
This is a fight Republicans should walk away from. All they're doing is handing the Democrats an issue to bludgeon them with in the Fall. People want and expect convenience in voting. Let's not stand in the way of a modest proposal.