Archive for Thursday, October 14, 2004

Voter registration needed first step in real citizenship

October 14, 2004

In a year when another presidential election is predicted to be extremely tight, the most important date might not be the Nov. 2 date of the election but the deadline for voter registration. In Kansas, that deadline is Monday.
A decade of reforms has removed the hassle from registration. Citizens no longer have to plan a trip to the county election office to get on the voter rolls. The simple task can be done at City Hall and the local library. Voters registering for the first time in the county will have to provide identification, but that could be a variety of items from a driver's license to a utility bill.
Those who have passed up chances to directly participate in American democracy might fear there would be some stigma to registering after an extended lapse or for the first time. Nothing could be further from the truth. Those in the process we've witnessed are non-judgmental except perhaps in taking joy in welcoming new voters. Certainly, those in the election office take their job as almost a calling.
It might seem a tiresome appeal, but we continually encourage voting because of our faith in the wisdom of the majority over time and a belief our rights are best safeguarded by an active and informed electorate. A citizenship apathetic to the most basic right of self-determination is much more likely to be indifferent to more nuanced or less-apparent rights.

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