Voting system reform needed to represent young adults

By Eric Gibble
November 15, 2010

Did you vote in the election two weeks ago? Only one in five young voters did. Why? Some say apathy. The Loquitur thinks that is not the only reason.

The current voting process is frustrating and discouraging for students and must be reformed. If the process were easier, the voter turnout among students would be higher.

Voting by absentee ballot is the only alternative for residents of Pennsylvania who are too far away from home to vote in person. There is no early voting as there is in two thirds of states in the United States.

But even for those who applied for an absentee ballot, the inefficiency of snail mail caused multiple students to report that they were not able to exercise their right to vote because their ballots came too late

Some applied for absentee ballots as far as three weeks before the deadline but did not receive their ballots in time to meet the deadline. For example, one application was postmarked on Tuesday, Oct. 26 yet was not delivered to a student’s mailbox until Monday, Nov. 1 even with their complete address listed.

A representative from the mailroom stated that the mail should have been delivered the day it was postmarked. However it was not.

A voter’s City Commissioner’s office must receive the absentee ballot by 5 p.m. on Oct. 29, regardless of when the letter is postmarked

Many vote to voice their frustration with how the government is working, but it is even more frustrating when the mail is not delivered on time.

The Loquitur agrees with initiatives taken by other states to reform the voting system. In California, you may drop off your absentee ballot at any polling station. Texas just began a new process where you can vote at any polling place rather than one that is close to your home, which eliminates the need to even apply for an absentee ballot unless you cannot leave your home.

The Loquitur also supports the initiative of state Rep. Steven J. Santarsiero, D-Bucks, to ensure voters are automatically listed as absentee for each election until they notify the state Board of Elections otherwise so that they would not have to apply every year.

The right to vote is priceless. Issues within the mailroom and the Pennsylvania absentee ballot system combined have frustrated students to the point where voting is more of a hassle to bother with.

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Eric Gibble

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