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Going To Polls Pulls Us Together Against Mail Vote More Ballots Don’t Mean Healthier Democracy.

Nobody will go to the polls for Liberty School District’s bond election on May 21. The polls will go to them.

Ballots went out this week to all 2,200 registered voters in the district for the county’s first all-mail election. Voting by mail is expected to save tax dollars and increase turnout.

What if it does? Higher voter turnout doesn’t necessarily mean improved civic vitality, not if you achieve it by pretending democratic participation is effortless.

It’s not. Generations have had to fight - on the battlefield and at the ballot box - to secure and expand the right to vote.

No, we don’t seem to value it as highly as we once did, but the problem is detachment, not inconvenience. And the way to attack it is by building community, by strengthening connections, by nurturing ownership and participation in civic affairs.

Connections occur wherever people meet over shared values and concerns: At a neighborhood block party or company picnic, at the PTA or at church, at a precinct caucus or in a bowling league.

Connections also occur when you and your neighbors see each other at the polls on election day - the place and time where the spirit of self-determination is celebrated most visibly.

There are procedural concerns about elections by mail. Increased ballot-handling between voter and ballot box means more chance of fraud, abuse and error, not to mention the risk to ballot secrecy. And, the more voters who wait until the last minute to vote - perhaps so they can hear ballot issues discussed as fully as possible - the greater the chance it will take days to learn election results.

But scariest of all, an all-mail election promotes voting in isolation. That will rob us of one way we make desperately needed connections among citizens. The danger is subtle, but real.

Letting everyone vote without walking farther than the mailbox may produce more ballots, may even save a few bucks, but it won’t produce a healthier democracy.

People who want to vote by mail, for whatever reason, have that option now. But those who hold voting on a higher plane than making a Book-of-the-Month-Club selection, should not be penalized for other people’s disinterest.

, DataTimes MEMO: See opposing view under the headline: Mail ballots earn stamp of approval

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Doug Floyd/For the editorial board

See opposing view under the headline: Mail ballots earn stamp of approval

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Doug Floyd/For the editorial board



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