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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

It's not about voter IDs, it's about voter apathy

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Less than 20 percent of registered voters in Sikeston took the time to vote in the primary election earlier this month. We shouldn't be worrying about voter identification laws. We should worry about the apathy and pure laziness of the electorate. Just because you mount massive voter registration drives doesn't mean the people are going to take the time and effort required to vote.

And while I'm speaking of the new voter ID law, an Associated Press story this week should throw ample water on the liberal notion that hundreds of thousands of voters will be disenfranchised by the new state requirement. Let's just say that the response to the new requirement has been less than overwhelming. In fact, just a handful of nursing home residents - the first to be visited by the state mobile voter ID units - have expressed any interest in the need for a voter photo ID.

But back to Sikeston for just a moment. Why is it that the voter turnout here is so much lower than the remainder of the county? Or let's forget the remainder of the county, why is it that less than one in five eligible voters here takes the time to visit a poll and cast a ballot?

On the state level, let's be honest. The voter ID requirement is a political issue between the Democrats and Republicans. The Democrats oppose the new photo requirement because it will impact their voters much, much more than potential Republican voters. They can't and don't deny this point of fact.

The Democrats moan that almost a quarter of a million voters in Missouri lack a photo ID of any sort. The Republicans say the number is around 170,000. And like it or not, the Republicans in this case know the answer. Many of those 170,000 potential voters without proper identification can't or won't vote such as felons, the mentally ill and people who simply don't register. You think about that for a minute. If you exclude the felons, the mentally ill and those who for whatever reason don't register, you have a huge group of people. The number of people outside of these three groups who lack a photo ID is fairly small.

So why all the fuss from the urban Democrats? You know the answer as well as I do.

I was reading this morning where one Western state - Arizona I believe - is considering a lottery where everyone who votes has their name dropped in a pot for a $1 million drawing. If that's not the dumbest idea, then I can't imagine what would be. If we have to pay people to vote, then would the last American remaining please turn out the lights because this party is over my friends.

As much as I enjoy dabbling in politics, I am clueless why so few people take the time to vote in Sikeston. Our turnout totals are miserable and should be embarrassing to anyone paying attention. I guess you can lead a horse to water but you can't get him to vote.

And to paraphrase our friend Larry the Cable Guy, "I don't care who you are, that's pretty sad."

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen