Undemocratic Voting?

     I’ve always wondered about get-out-the-vote campaigns. After all, do you really want the idiots down the street to cancel out your informed vote?
     Do we really end up with a better government if people who never read anything or watch the news cast ballots?
     I’ve wondered those things about registration drives before, but I haven’t considered yet another option: mandatory voting.
     I was appalled enough by the thought of encouraging people watching MTV to vote – probably based on candidate hairstyles. But mandatory voting seemed completely preposterous. You’d be including people who’d never even heard of the government – and people who randomly check boxes on multiple choice tests.
     Let’s see … the electorate would include the barely conscious, the dead drunk, the intellectually-challenged, and those really annoying people who think they know everything. (Yes, I know that last group includes me, but I really do know everything that’s important.)
     I only bring this up because the Center for Study of Responsive Law issued a press release the other day with the headline: “Mandatory Voting: Patriotic or Undemocratic?”
     Apparently there was a public debate on the issue, but it was in D.C. and I’m not. I didn’t see any news coverage of the event, so if you’re in favor of mandatory voting, it makes sense to have an opinion on who won the debate even though you know nothing about what was said.
     I know I probably missed some explanation, but the title of that debate is perplexing. How could voting, mandatory or not, be undemocratic? If you’re voting, you’re being democratic even if you didn’t get a vote on whether or not you should vote.
     And isn’t it patriotic to refuse to vote for politicians? If you love your country, do you want it run but the people who run it now?
     All right, I’m nitpicking here. Let’s suppose voting was made mandatory. How do you enforce that mandate?
     Do you round people up on election day and truck them to polling places?
     We can’t even count everyone for the census. How are we supposed to know we haven’t missed thousands of voters on Skid Row?
     And how exactly are all these people supposed to vote? Polling places already have trouble handling the small percentage of people who do vote.
     Do we do it American Idol style and let people vote as many times as they want? If you don’t care enough to dial 100 times, maybe your votes shouldn’t count as much.
     I’m picturing a young, country guy in the White House.
     
     RESTRAINT. Fascinating requests for restraining orders keep pouring in.
     This is from one filed the other day in Los Angeles Superior Court:
     “I was working for him in marketing, paralegal/opening up and running two dilapidated buildings as law office for (respondent) Attorney, intake distribution of flyers, hiring staff for flyer distribution, secretary to answer phone lines. He failed to pay me or workers in amount of $20,000, he allowed me to live there, he then without notice cut off my personal toll free lines, water, and stole all my furniture.”
     I’m guessing the law practice wasn’t going well.
     And then there was this in a restraining order application filed the same day:
     “Approximately October 2007 (respondent) became a patient of mine. I’m a psychiatrist, I was a third year resident at the time. The format was psychodynamic psychotherapy. Treatment took place intermittently over next 14 months. I have never had a romantic relationship with this person in any way.”
     I’m guessing the psychotherapy wasn’t going well.

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