Strait_v1n3_1971-10

Editorial At long last, federal enfranchisement for eighteen-year-olds is a reality. The long years of pro- test, frustrating letter-writing and debate of the inequity of the "old enough to kill-- too young to vote" status have paid off and politicians must now not only contend with the vocal dictates of this age bracket but also with the directives of their voting potential. · Political scientists, journalists and candidates must concern themselves with the effect of 25 mil- lion new voters turning up at election centers to pull levers that will fill seats or effect legislation. But this change is hardly enough. It is an excel- lent expansion of the old method, but the fault of the effect it will have lies in the fact that it is merely an expansion of the old method. This is what politicians, political scientists and others should be concerned with. Despite how many people legally eligible to vote, who they are or what they are voting for (or against), there are inequities within the electoral procedure that do not allow the voters to truly voice their favor. And there are many valid resorts for which there are currently no provisions. An example: A voter, newly-enfranchised or not, is very likely to walk into a voting booth hav- ing no particular liking for any of the candidates of the given office. He may also dislike them both very much; he may not know them sufficiently. And this presents a serious problem for the voter, Mr. Citizen. Despite how well-informed he is, despite what calibre of citizenship he displays, dispite any affiliation with a recognized party - he is, in the eyes of the voting booth, still responsible to vote for one of the candidates. Should he choose to vote for one on the basis of the "lesser. than two evils" · 3

theory, he is still submitting himself to the dictates of those already in power and ultimately to the other "evil" of whom he is indirectly voting in favor. If he chooses not to vote for any of them he is, in effect, dienfranchising himself- sornething that thousands do at every election. If our well-informed and good Mr . Citizen wishes to register a write-in ballot, he may also do this, although few people are ever encouraged suf- ficiently or feel strongly enough to do so. In fact, if Mr. Citizen wishes to do so, he can vote for any of the 200-odd million ·people with whom he shares citizenship.Of course it would do him little good, since the possibility of there being a plurality for any one of these 200-odd million people is an ex- treemly absurd possibility - which is reasoning behind our revered "two-party system." But, equal- ly absurd is voting for the "lesser of two evils" or not voting at all. An alternative to all these possible forms of voting-booth protest is what has often been referred . to (but rarely seriously) as a "positive negative vote." The term means that Mr. Citizen can go to the booth and vote. But he can vote for "none of the above" or he can, by pulling a lever, say "these candidates are unacceptable to me, please reconsider your candidates and let's have another election." It SOllll& drastic, absurd and many other things, but it is a valid means of registering an attitude. And it is a positive form of doing so. There is no chance of being personally involved in electing someone who was a lesser evil. Such an option, when used effectively by the populace, might even be graphic enough evidence in opposition to our current "two-party system" which is the primary cause of dissatisfaction in the first place.

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