Elections – Sound Process;
Voting is both a great privilege and a solemn obligation of the self-determination we enjoy as the freest people in the world. If we step away from the controversy that surrounds almost everything we do today, and focus objectively, elections can be conducted in a manner that will have our confidence regardless of our political leanings.
Conducting an election is a process. In workplaces across this country, industries have borrowed the concept of process design from Japanese car manufacturers for decades. This idea spread like wildfire because it was recognized that to produce a quality product, processes have to be designed to work properly, with all of the potential pitfalls designed out of them. American businesses found that whether they were making widgets on an assembly line or delivering health care, quality process design drove quality products.
Design is critical to the election process for it to be credible. There are eligibility criteria to vote in this country. They include age, residency and citizenship. We know that there are millions of people residing here who are not eligible to vote; it is clear that the process of voting must include verification of eligibility.
Voting should be cherished and celebrated, not treated as a burden. We witness televised images of citizens in oppressed countries taking their lives in their hands to vote.
One measure of the vibrancy of our democracy might be a high level of engagement in our elections. There is no excuse for voting to be cumbersome or inefficient in any way. We should be able to breeze in and breeze out. I’d like to propose we reconsider going back to an election “Day”. Let’s open the polls from midnight to midnight to accommodate all work schedules and life styles. Let’s expect our local election officials to do their jobs by ensuring we have the right number and location of polling places to make voting convenient. It’s not expecting too much to have the electorate learn the outcome of our elections shortly after the polls close. Let’s not spend our time trying to figure out how to keep fewer and fewer people from voting at the polls. Let’s spend our effort building consensus that exercising our freedom is no chore at all.