Incentives needed to ease the voting process

Neil Davis ('13)/Eastside Staff Writer

In the 2008 presidential elections, 61.6 percent of eligible voters came out to vote. Incentives need to be used to increase this number in the upcoming 2012 election. There needs to be some kind of program to draw voters into the polling booths because voting is a privilege in the United States that more people need to take advantage of. It is important to look at past ideas and to come up with future ones to help stimulate the American voter.

It is important to make voting easy for our citizens. Recently, the state of Pennsylvania was in the news for this very concern. Pennsylvania was considering making photo identification mandatory for voting, which would make it difficult for the elderly, poor and minorities to vote. The issue went back and forth in the courts until the problem was temporarily resolved. This is a major concern in the voting system because anyone of age should be able to vote and it should be simple, not restrictive and complex.

Other countries use different methods to reach their voters. The former Soviet-block state of Estonia is technologically advanced. In 2007, the country held the world’s first general Internet election. Over the course of three days, Estonians could vote by placing their state-issued ID cards (which have an electronic chip) into a computer reader, entering two passwords, and then choosing their favorite candidates from a list. Other foreign countries also make election day easy. Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, India, New Zealand, and a number of other countries, for example, facilitate voting with an extremely simple, low-cost innovation: they hold elections on either weekends or holidays.

It is important to come up with creative ways to get the people out to vote for the president of our nation. Here in the United States many people have come with their own incentives.  What would interest someone to go out and vote? How about a “Mega Million Lottery”. Money seems to motivate Americans. This method would make each voter’s receipt an actual lottery ticket. This seems fairly easy and worth looking into. Food establishments introduced another good idea that has previously worked like Chick Fil A. They offered a free chicken sandwich to anyone that showed an “I Voted” sticker in the last election. Other incentives that have been brought up are fining people or even making voting a national holiday so that people don’t have to lose work time and pay. Voting needs to be made easier for the people. The United States was the “great melting pot” of cultures from other countries, now why not modify successful ideas that other countries have used into our own government?