Exercising the right to vote is a principal expression of the freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constitution and the foundation of all our other rights. Even in a heavily contested national election, approximately one-third of all eligible voters don’t vote. Why not? In some cases, potential voters think that there is little or no difference among the candidates. In the past, I have occasionally cast my vote for a candidate with no chance of winning as a protest to express my displeasure with the choices. I did that in the 2000 election when I voted for Ralph Nader.
Many voters don’t vote because they believe that one vote does not make a difference, or that it does not matter to them personally who is president or governor or mayor. Some voters cannot afford to take time from a job in order to vote. A national paid holiday on election day every two or four years would be a small price to pay for a more involved citizenry.
Voting should be quick and easy. The longest wait I can recall happened here in Utah in 2004 when I waited in line about 45 minutes. I could not and I would not stand in line for much longer than that. People who waited hours in line to vote have my respect, and the officials who made them wait that long have my anger. No one should be forced to endure hardship to exercise their right to vote.