Bob Bestler | Online voting? Perish the thought

On the LooseDecember 28, 2012 

I was struck by a recent USA Today headline as I passed a copy in a supermarket: “Online balloting could attract millions to polls.''

Online balloting? Who's proposing that?

Turns out it was not a serious proposal. Not yet, anyway.

The newspaper noted that an estimated 57.5 percent of eligible citizens voted in the last election, a lower turnout than in 2004 or 2008.

That means some 93 million voters didn't bother and the newspaper wanted to know what would get them to cast a ballot.

Several ideas were offered -- same-day registration and voting by mail, for instance -- but the most popular suggestion was online voting.

Honestly, I have about as many problems with all these ideas as I have with efforts to suppress voting in various states.

Take the comment by one non-voter: “I’m interested if I have the time....It doesn't take precedence over everything else.''

Call me a naive idealist, but I think voting should take precedence over most everything else.

Not to get too schmaltzy, but I see voting as the most important ingredient in our democratic way of life. People in many parts of the globe can only pray they may someday be able to vote for their leaders.

Some people in such important swing states as Ohio and Florida get it. Some stood in line for eight, nine, even 10 hours to vote. God bless 'em.

I only stood in line for three hours, but expected to be there longer considering the length of the 7:30 a.m. line at Lincoln High School in McClellanville.

As a senior, I could have filled out an early ballot and avoided that line.

I chose not to. I prefer to exercise my voting right on Election Day alongside my fellow citizens. Yeah, schmaltzy. So sue me.

And I'm not sure we should make voting so easy as sitting in one's room and pressing a button.

I like to think the people who will take an hour or two or 10 to vote will also take the time to understand who and what they are voting for.

I know I'm whistling into the wind. I don't doubt that instant online voting will come, given the notorious impatience of the Tweeting generation.

And I don't doubt that some future voters will laugh at how, back in the day, people stood in line for hours -- stood in line for hours! -- waiting to vote.

Spare us, dear children.

Contact BOB BESTLER at

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