(This diary is cross-posted with Contrary Brin. I strongly recommend checking out Dr. Brin's blog for political, scientific, and social commentary.)
One of the biggest reasons why so many voters end up not voting is time. They don't want to stand around in line while being harassed by both sides to vote for candidates that are more and more abstract and outside their venue. This is why the youth vote doesn't happen. These youngsters would rather stay home and socialize online and play games and watch TV and do things that are interesting rather than vote for a candidate they aren't sure they believe in. And this is part of the McCain strategy: to tarnish the image of Obama and encourage the youth of America to once again sit an election out and in doing so hand it over to McCain and the Republican party.
Absentee ballots is the perfect solution for this. It is also the intelligent method of voting for several reasons. First, it is the least likely to succumb to voting fraud. If ballots are "missed" (hidden) and come out? They can be counted and if they prove the other guy won? Court case. I suspect the Supreme Court would rule against a sitting president if it was shown the other side legitimately won through ballots that were not counted. In fact, I think it would be a constitutional issue, because these votes were not counted and that's infringing on the constitutional rights of these voters.
As these votes are not tallied electronically (or at least, not completely electronically) and leave a physical record behind, it's not easy for the votes to be altered. Can you imagine the outrage that would occur if someone went and counted the ballots by hand and found that the electronic compilation was wrong by ten thousand votes? People would say "fraud!" and lynch mobs would form. People would be so against McCain and Palin that even martial law would not suffice... and these two might very well be forced to step down for the good of the country (and to preserve the lives of the Republicans in Congress). The world would also condemn the election results if it were proven false, and the false Presidency would have NO political power at all. Few world leaders would listen to the person who cheated his way into the White House. The cost would be too high.
Think of that. If, say, China recognized the McCain Presidency after it was learned that McCain used fraud to get in... even with martial law and all of that, even using strong-arm tactics to stay in office... the U.S. populace could punish China by refusing to buy anything made in China. And I suspect China would anticipate this... and thus fail to recognize McCain.
So, absentee ballots can help protect against voter fraud and provide a paper trail to ensure that democracy is legitimate in this country.
Next, it allows the voter to take his or her time in choosing candidates. The voter can research each candidate, determine what the positions of the candidates are, the voting records of incumbents, any ethics violations, and so forth. It will allow the intelligent selection of political candidates instead of merely party-specific candidates or last-second-whims.
This is big. This is absolutely huge. Think of it for a moment: you can spend your time researching candidates you don't know to choose the best candidate for the job. This changes the ballgame entirely. This takes politics out of the hands of people who look good and can speak a good game and puts it in the hands of those who have the skill and ability to do the job and do it right. And also to ensure that the most ethical candidates get in.
Third, it saves time, and is safer. Safer, I say? Yes, safer. People don't have to worry about being threatened because they're black or hispanic or gay or anything else like that. You can vote from the privacy of your own home and you don't have to listen to people yelling at you and trying to frighten you into leaving. And again, it saves time in that you don't have to spend three hours waiting in line, and suffering through ballot shortages and the like. Of course, the more intelligent voters who have internet or library access may spend that saved time doing actual research... but that is still time constructively spent, rather than time wasted standing around doing nothing but wait.
So... perhaps we'd be best suited to change the voter system entirely to absentee voting. The drawbacks of course are that once you send in your ballot, that's it. You're on course, even if later on you find out that the candidate you voted for isn't the one you truly want (because, say, of ethics violations or because of a serious gaffe showing they're not the person they pretended to be, or anything like that). But by doing research ahead of time, you can hopefully choose the best candidate and not be caught with your pants down by the candidate doing something stupid.
So... perhaps we should change the entire voting system to absentee voting. It would save time, money, and be the most ethical system in place. It would also be least likely to succumb to fraud because of the paper trail that exists... and through the use of such systems as... I'm blanking on the name, but basically having the voter get a post card stating "your vote has been received and processed" would ensure that votes aren't just "lost in the mail."
Robert A. Howard, Tangents Reviews