The leftists proposing this national holiday should be careful what they wish for, it might backfire on them.
There is a nagging suspicion among us conservatives that Democrats want to game the electoral algorithm to produce the snapshot of the electorate most favorable to themselves, and that they will continue tweaking it to improve their results in real time.
Many on the left, of course, sincerely believe that they are fighting voter suppression or championing innovation. One of the examples of their innovation is the ranked choice voting that adopted by the city of Oakland, CA in 2006. In 2010, after a complicated campaign in which candidates vied for second and third place, Oakland has elected Mayor Quan, even though she performed poorly after the first round was tabulated. A little more than a year later, Quan, who was nobody’s first choice, pissed virtually everyone in town with her lackluster handling of the Occupy camp. One would think this experiment was enough to show that traditional voting arrangements work better, but no. Other municipalities, and the state of Maine, have adopted the system, and Utah is slated to do it.
There is considerable buzz in progressive circles around making voting day a national holiday. In the mind of the proponents, having to go to the polls on a workday may be suppressing the turnout because people have to make time for it. Here is everyone’s [to the right of Marx] favorite punching bag, Alexandria Octasio-Cortez on the subject:
How is Columbus Day a holiday but Election Day not?
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 18, 2018
Ocasio needs to be careful what she wishes for. Traditionally, general election is held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November. With the Tuesday free from work or school, take a Monday off, and you got yourself a nice four day weekend — high time to travel out of state. Before we know it, department stores will be offering voting week promotions — and alternative ways to spend patriotic time, just like they do on Veteran’s Day or Forth of July. Flaky young voters, a Democratic stronghold, will be particularly susceptible to temptation hit the road on the holiday. With this type of arrangements, Election Day may turn into a Spring Break in November.
Think like your 23-year-old self. What would you do, go to the ballot box or take a vacation? I’d chose vacation. I was a dutiful young woman, mind you; I was registered, and I participated in every presidential election. But, for the life of me, I can’t recall which candidate I voted for in 1996.
Now open your calendars, and look at November 2020. The first Tuesday after the first Monday of November falls on the 3rd. A young voter can take the 2nd off, or ditch school, in any event, and have the stretch from October 31 to November 3rd free. October 31 is Halloween, the one American holiday celebrated across ethnic cultures, and especially beloved by the young. How are we supposed to vote Donald Trump out if young people will be skipping town to attend festivities at, say, Castro street in San Francisco, or some other notorious Halloween central?
Of course, there might be ways to avoid this debacle. For instance, we can move this newly-minted Election Day holiday to a Wednesday or a Thursday. Of course, that would be too transparent of an attempt to time voting to the partying arrangements of the Democratic electorate, so it might not fly.
Bottom line is, voters need to make time to go to the polls, and there are always better things to do than connecting the arrows next to the names of individuals recommended by the flyer allegedly coming from the local party headquarters.
Being of conservative mindset, I oppose fixing what’s not broken. New approaches can be great, but we have to realize that most will flop. If a new product is tested on the market, we will know soon enough if it’s needed. If it fails, creators will pick up and move on. If we blow an election experimenting with jungle primaries or ranked choice, the consequences can be disastrous.
This is not to say that the system is not broken in parts of the country. One only needs to look at the hot mess that is Broward County, Florida to see that. However, to fix the process there, we need less experimentation, not more. Elections should simplified, absentee ballots, and early voting, abolished. Of course, that will make the process somewhat less convenient, and perhaps some citizens will never make it polling places, reflecting on the priorities of these voters. The alternative, the situation in which officials fail to correctly tabulate the results, disenfranchising entire state, is far worse.
Speaking of disenfranchisement and voter suppression, I would like to see a study that looks into the effect of the recently adopted jungle primary on the conservative participation in general election in California. In jungle primaries, candidates from all parties compete for the top two spots on the general election ballot. General election is then a run off between the two.
In June, I voted for Senator Feinstein on the assumption that as corrupt as she is, she’s still a wonky centrist, and California will not do better than her. I was worried that she may lose to dogmatic Kevin De Leon, and wanted to help her out. After her despicable role in the Brett Kavanough hearings, I could no longer support her. Only there was no Senatorial candidate for me to vote for. The way my ballot was designed, there wasn’t even space to write-in my Rumpelstiltskin. I wonder how many Californians were all fired up to vote Feinstein out, but lacking the ability to do it, gave up on the electoral process altogether.
Having meaningful choices brings people to the ballot box. Removing these choices might just be voter suppression.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.