Turnout Issues

ed rosenthal
October 1, 2014

If you talk to people about politics these days (and of course, I do), you’ll hear a lot of verbal hand-wringing about the fact that people don’t vote, even when it’s in their best interest to do so. In my view, part of the problem is that voting is too hard, and voters have to do too much of it.

If you have spent any significant time talking with voters at the door (and of course, I have), you’ll have heard the complaints: “I need help.” “I don’t know how to vote on propositions X, Y and Z.” I don’t know how to vote on the Judge’s races.” And so forth.

At the same time, if you ask the same voters if they would be willing to give up their right to vote on such issues, the answer would be a resounding “NO!”

I have a modest proposal that might help. Why not have multiple election days? The first Tuesday in November could remain the General election day for strictly political offices here in California, and the first Tuesday in December could become election day for propositions, both state and local. The voters could then focus on one kind of choice in each election.

There are problems with this approach, the most obvious one being the additional cost; money could be saved by eliminating the primary election in gubernatorial election years (the top two system makes the primary a waste).

More on this later.

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