Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
- Community Blog
- A little lady with a big voice
Registering to vote should be more convenient
We live in a world where technology reigns supreme. Because of globalization and the Internet, we have instant access to all types of information.
But we move fast. Companies rise and fall within the span of a few years. News that happened a few weeks ago often loses relevance. Access, efficiency and convenience are principles that shape billion-dollar ideas. And ideas are what shape the world.
Today, technology-based companies like Google make more money annually than standard oil companies. Less than twenty years ago, this concept would be hard to imagine. But it makes sense. The innovation that Google produces is measurably more valuable than mass extraction of one of the world’s most used natural resources. But if Google fails to come up with new ideas, other innovative companies could just as easily leave it behind. For example, Microsoft could not keep up with Apple.
Several people argue that in order to generate more ideas, the world must become democratized. People must be able to communicate freely with one another. Trade must happen – the exchange of ideas, resources and products. They should be informed and educated. They should participate.
And as the younger generation becomes more technically savvy, it becomes apparent that more and more often, participation happens online. We tweet, we Facebook, we apply for financial aid, unemployment, and even order pizza online. We want things fast and conveniently.
What I want to know is why, in the midst of this technology-based world, do we not have the capability to register to vote online? I went to sos.ca.gov to find out information about registering to vote. I even called the elections division of Calif. and spoke to a person who confirmed that Calif. law does not allow people to register to vote online yet.
The issue, he said, is the signature. Since we can’t sign our name and confirm that we are, in fact, the person registering to vote, we cannot register online. I asked if they have considered using an electronic signature? For example, I use a pin number to sign my FAFSA application every year; and FAFSA is a government form. He said that he was not a policy maker, so he wasn’t sure. But he said that Calif. is working with the DMV to make registering to vote more accessible. Lack of funding, however, has significantly slowed down the process.
I think it should be a priority to make it so we can register to vote online. If we want more young people involved – the ones who spend the most amount of time online and the least amount of time sending things via snail mail – we need to set up a system where registering to vote caters to a society based on technology.
It would make a overall difference in voter turnout. Assume every citizen in the country is registered to vote. Even if not all of them participate in a given election, it would benefit us overall, because more people are participating. The more people participate, the more likely representation will be balanced and the more likely those who seem to not have a voice will be heard.
Not only that, I believe that people who are registered to vote tend to pay more attention to current affairs. All we need is a reason to care, even the smallest one, and it makes a huge difference. Even subconsciously, it will make a difference, because issues will become more relevant to the individual and they will absorb more information, even when he/she is not deliberately paying attention. And because of this, we will automatically feel more connected to society.
That's my opinion. Deal with it.