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Why should voting be easy?

The easier it is to vote, the less it is valued.

  • Longboat Key
  • Opinion
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It doesn’t matter what the legislation might be. The minute any Republican-dominated state legislature changes its state’s voting laws, presumably, to thwart fraud or add safeguards by, say, requiring voter identification, citizenship or the outlawing of ballot harvesting, the left goes bananas.

Voter suppression!

But here’s a thought: Why should voting be easy?

Two bromides come to mind:

  • You’ve heard wise people say: When an endeavor is difficult, it’s all the more worthwhile.
  • Or, when something is free, it typically is overused and abused.

You can say that about voting. The easier it is to vote, the less it is valued, and the more likely there will be abuse.

Perhaps compare open voting for everyone to the famous “tragedy of the commons.”

When you make pasture land free for the common good, for instance, it is always overgrazed, abused and quickly destroyed.

Now think of voting and elections. When they are open and easy for anyone, with few required qualifications or boundaries, voting as a sacred right and elections as one of the most important ingredients of a democratic republic are both devalued.

When voting is easy, instead of voting to elect candidates who are committed to the Constitution and securing our rights to life, liberty and property and protecting us against fraud, violence and plunder, voting and elections become a system full of “trimmers” and skullduggery for power.

“Trimmers” are the politicians who will do and say whatever it takes to win, to be the most popular, to promise the most free stuff. The skullduggery is manifested in how the votes are rounded up.

If qualifying to vote is made more difficult, yes, that would suppress votes. But the value of a person’s vote, the integrity of elections and perhaps the quality and honesty of candidates would rise.

More difficult qualifications  for voting, to an extent, would help prevent what Friedrich Hayek described as “why the worst get on top.”

In his seminal book, “The Road to Serfdom,” Hayek described three reasons why:

1. “It is, as it were, the lowest common denominator which unites the largest number of people.

“If a numerous group is needed, strong enough to impose their views on the values of life on all the rest, it will never be those with highly differentiated and developed tastes. It will be those who form the ‘mass’ in the derogatory sense of the term.”

2. A “trimmer” can gain the support of “docile and gullible who have no strong convictions but are prepared to accept a ready-made system of values if it is only drummed into their ears sufficiently loudly and frequently,” Hayek wrote.

3. The third and what Hayek describes as the most important reason why the worst get on top is “it seems to be almost a law of human nature that is easier for people to agree on a negative program — on the hatred of an enemy, on the envy of those better off than on any positive task.

“The contrast between the ‘we’ and the ‘they’ … seems to be an essential ingredient in any creed which will solidly knit together a group for common action.”

Don’t discriminate, but make it tougher to qualify to vote.



Matt Walsh

Matt Walsh is the CEO and founder of Observer Media Group.

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