Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Work for Grimes to Do

Instead of sitting on her ass waiting for another "gimme" election to roll around, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes might consider spending her second term doing her actual job: making it easier for all Kentuckians to vote.

Voter turnout in the U.S. during the last midterm election hit the lowest point since the 1940s. The number of Americans heading to the polls each election has been declining for the last fifty years and lawmakers have recently been pushing efforts to keep even more people away from the polls.

People do not exercise their right to vote for various reasons, some of which are easier to solve than others. According to a U.S. Census report from 2013, 14 percent of nonvoting respondents were unable to participate because of an illness or disability, 8.6 percent were out of town, 12.7 percent did not like the candidates or campaign issues and almost 19 percent were too busy. Some people cannot take time off from work on a Tuesday in November, which has led lawmakers including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to call for making Election Day a federal holiday. Others may not feel engaged in politics or informed enough to vote, while 5.85 million U.S. citizens are prohibited from voting due to a felony conviction on their records.

Voting advocates, including those who spoke at the Elections and Voting Summit (two weeks ago), have been developing and pushing for new ways to get more people to the polls. Unlike laws that restrict access through voter ID laws, shorter registration and early voting periods and disenfranchising felons, these proposals are likely to have support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and would not be difficult to implement to get voters to turn out in higher numbers.

Make registering to vote easier


Streamline and simplify voting

Allow people to vote online


Hire invested and engaged poll workers

Get people excited about politics between elections
If Grimes had spent a minute of her first three years in office working to make these improvements for Kentucky voters, she might not have lost the U.S. Senate race last year by 15 points to the most hated politician in the Commonwealth.

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