Leading up to the launch of Keystone Votes — The Coalition of Modern Elections, Public Interest Law Center executive director Jennifer Clarke and Senior Law Center executive director Karen Buck co-wrote an op-ed for the Philadelphia Inquirer about commonsense reforms to modernize voting in Pennsylvania.
The piece sheds light on the fact that at the most recent election less than 25% of registered Pennsylvania voters actually cast ballots, not to mention the fact that in the 2012 presidential elections PA was ranked 29th in participation.
In response to this commentary in the Inquirer, we have received many comments from the general public that agree that Pennsylvania’s voting system needs to be updated. Here are some of their thoughts:
- “Make every primary, except for Presidential election years, on Memorial Day and every general on Veteran’s Day. Why not really honor those who fought and gave their lives for our freedom by doing the very thing that they fought and died for; our right to vote.” — Fred D.
- “Give a tax credit for voting, particularly in Primaries.” — Fred D.
- “I worked at the polls last May in the primary and again this past November. One gentleman told me that he has ‘four grown children who are doctors and attorneys…none of them have the time to vote.’ Another woman told me that her two sons commute to NYC everyday…leaving for work at 5:30 a.m. and returning around 9:00 p.m. and that they too have no way to vote on Election Day.” — Tess H.
- “I have spent all day at the polls for almost 20 years and can attest to the need for some of the reforms outlined in Karen Buck and Jennifer Clarke’s article. I have noted that more seniors have problems getting to the polls lately, so the suggestion for permanent absentee status seems reasonable, given that situation. Having relocated and not changing one’s voting status is a very common situation, so same-day registration appears to have merit, also.” — Ben L.
- “Voter turnouts as abysmal as our usual off-year elections have been are bad for democracy, and favor neither party. We need to implement commonsense alternatives to address this problem.” — Ben L.
- “I have been saying for a few years now that we should vote online. Most people have computers. For those who don’t, people can vote at a public library, and not just on a designated “Election Day”. Or, the poll workers who sit and wait in vain for people to show up could bring computers to apartment houses, senior centers,etc. There are ways to make online voting safe and you would have a receipt proving who you voted for. After all, when we vote on a computer at the polls, you don’t get a receipt. This would eliminate the factor of bad weather, lack of rides to the polls, short hours at the polls, only one day to vote, etc. It would help shift worker, seniors, handicapped people and so on. Let’s turn our archaic system into the modern age and we won’t have to write articles after every election lamenting the number of people who actually showed up in person to vote.” — Arlene F.