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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

A little change

The Indianapolis Star on Sunday published an editorial about how unfriendly to voters and the voting process the state is. We make it harder than most states for third-party candidates to get on the ballot. And we have a very narrow window for voting -- our 6 p.m. closing time for polls, for example, is one of the earliest in the nation. I agree with the editorial that some changes are needed -- voting should be a lot more convenient, and we should have more choices. But I think the Star's editors are a little optimistic about the effects of the changes:

A reasonable chance that races will be competitive, rather than dominated by incumbents, would encourage more voter participation as well as better-qualified candidates to enter politics. And more convenient voting sites and longer hours on Election Day would help more citizens exercise their most fundamental of democratic rights.

People will go out to the polls when there's an issue they think will affect them or when there's a race that's been interesting enough to highly publicize. Otherwise, they'll stay home in droves, as always. We've generally lost the connection between the politics of what happens on election day and the governance we experience the rest of the time. In countries where voter turnout is high, they've usually had recent expres with oppression and other forms of political thuggery that make them more aware of what's at stake.

As for ballot access, as someone very sympathetic to the Libertarians, I've always thought third parties should have an easier time getting on the ballot. But there are two major parties for a reason -- the Constitution didn't even envision them, but they developed almost immediately after its passage -- and I don't see any threat to their dominance.

There are variations and nuances, but there really are two basic ways of looking at the approach to government. And the more third-party candidates there are, the more "pure" or "extreme" votes will be siphoned off and the more dominant the two major parties will be. As new movements come along, they will sparkle brightly but briefly, the way Perot's bunch did, or influence the direction of a major party, as the Socialists did for the Democrats and the Tea Party is doing for the Democrats.


William Larsen
Mon, 10/04/2010 - 11:31am

Leo, I always thought that a good issue was more important than the candidate. However, the problem is, it is not the candidate that decides the issue, but rather the media. The media to a large extent has a predefined opinion of what the issues SHOULD BE.

I found that the media for the most part did not identify or report the issues on candidates, but what the media thought the public should know.

When I ran for congress, I had many issues and I thought they were well defined. However, one local paper, not the News Sentinel, seemed to have the opinion that I had only one issue, no others and that it was not worth reporting on.

I sincerely, hope that the internet with the demise of local media will give rise to providing the public information on all candidates and their issues.

What I find amazing is that I have not updated my website in a very long time and yet my website has more hits everyday than ever before. The number one issue that is sought after more than all the others is: retirement formulas - calculating what you need to retire. The second largest sought out information is actually a tie - Life expectancy and worker to SS- beneficiary ratio.

People seem to looking at the actual worker to beneficiary ratio. I have a thought on why this is a hot topic and why people are looking for means to calculate what they need to retire. There is a fast growing sector who truly believes Social Security is doomed. What happens when the Social Security Myths are broken? The seniors and boomers do not outnumber those under age 46.

Leo Morris
Mon, 10/04/2010 - 1:41pm

I think there will be a lot more information of the type you mean -- there already is, in fact. But it will be harder to keep track of and thus more complicated to stay informed on the issues.

William Larsen
Mon, 10/04/2010 - 7:14pm

I get bombarded with emails with attachments stating all sorts of things. Titles that are meaningless are used to assert some form of legitimate research has been done. You are correct, it is becoming more difficult to determine the truth. I guess this is why I liked news papers where they used to do investigative reporting.

Lewis Allen
Mon, 10/04/2010 - 8:24pm

At least the bars and liquor stores are now open on election days, ensuring that one can vote with a level head.