Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off on how to increase voter participation

As many as half of Tarrant County residents who will vote in the Nov. 4 election are expected to cast ballots during the early voting period, Oct. 20-31. Still, even with a race for governor on the ballot, the county’s total voter turnout in mid-term elections has not been above 40 percent since 1994. What can be done to encourage more people to vote? Allow Election Day voting at any polling place? Make Election Day a holiday?

Turnout will improve by changing the culture in Austin and Washington.

Make voting cost-free and hassle-free without gerrymandering.

Candidates will need to address the specific issues of the office while ignoring those that do not apply.

This will improve voter confidence that those issues will be handled.

— Pat Richardson,

Pantego

If Texas really wanted more people to vote, then why do they pass laws designed to keep us away?

Strike down the voter ID law. This is a blatant attempt to keep certain people from voting.

— Frank Wilson,

Fort Worth

We don’t need another holiday to reduce our already meager domestic productivity.

We have, or can easily develop, the technology to be able to vote, over a prescribed two-day weekend, at any registered polling place across the country.

Those locations should be greatly expanded to include other gathering areas, churches, sporting events, etc. This would require strict enforcement of voter ID’s that carry stiff and swift penalties, on the level of treason, for any fraud attempt.

Also, no results should be made available to the media until after the election weekend when all the ballots have been tallied.

— Ralph M. Gill,

Fort Worth

When my husband was in failing health he elected to cease driving, so he did not renew his license. He knew he would not be traveling, so he allowed his passport to lapse as well.

As a result, he was not able to vote in the last election.

I decry the powers-that-be for making a right so difficult to exercise. This is very wrong.

— Elenor Zepeda, Coppell

If it wasn’t for the posturing, low-blow political rhetoric and negative campaign advertising on both sides, more people would turn out to vote.

The suggestion to encourage more folks to vote by allowing them to cast their ballot at any polling place or make Election Day a holiday is very appealing and viable.

Might get folks to learn more about a candidate and their objectives for holding office, since a polling place will be in proximity and a holiday to boot!

— Sharon Ream, Fort Worth

Candidates must “inspire” people to vote, by words or by past performance.

Over the last 30 years, the percentage of voters increased in second-term Republican presidential elections, but decreased in Democrat presidential elections.

The performance of Republican presidents “inspired” more people to vote for Republican presidents in second-term elections. Unfortunately, it is more difficult to measure the performance of the 100 senators and 435 representatives.

— Gil Cain, Joshua

Perhaps we could consider a U.S. version of compulsory voting.

In other words, if one is eligible and registered, they are encouraged to vote by a reverse poll tax. This would increase participation and revenues.

This is a tax I could tolerate.

— Rick Johnson, Burleson

We do not need people voting just for the sake of voting.

We do need intelligent, informed citizens who have studied the issues and the candidates.

Voting is a privilege and should not be taken lightly.

— Lavada McDaniel, Granbury

First, we should do what the Australians do. If you don’t vote, you get a ticket. Voting is as much a civic duty as serving on a jury or paying our taxes. Since we already pay a fine if we shirk jury duty or dodge paying taxes, we should pay a penalty for not voting.

We can also make it easier for everyone to vote. Other countries automatically register voters and declare Election Day a national holiday. We can follow suit. Other reforms that encourage more voter participation like instant run-off and proportional representation are well worth considering.

But we must do something. The U.S.’s low ranking in voter participation — 120th — is inexcusable. It is a national outrage. There can be no true consent of the governed if so very few bother to vote.

— Ken Wheatcroft-Pardue, Fort Worth

I don’t like early voting, same day registration, mail-in ballots and other methods to increase voter participation.

Besides being too easy for voter fraud groups like ACORN to manipulate, making it easier to vote implies voting is catering to people rather than being a serious, important duty of a citizen to choose leaders.

— Daniel O’Connor, Euless

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